CHARLOTTE, NC – Trailing 3-1 a mere 46 seconds into the second period, and 3-2 entering the third frame, the Texas Stars rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Charlotte Checkers Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mike Hedden and Travis Morin each scored two goals in Texas’ second straight third period come-from-behind win.
Philippe Cornet gave the Checkers a 1-0 at 6:13 of the opening period when he took a pass from A.J. Jenks and slid the puck into the open net before goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp could get across his crease. Travis Morin tied the game at one when he scored right off a faceoff win from Chris Mueller, beating Charlotte goalie John Muse with a shot from the slot at 11:03. It was Morin’s 17th goal of the season. Late in the period the Checkers reclaimed the lead. Brendan Woods shot from above the right circle was fired along the ice and it eluded a screened Nilstorp with just 2:06 remaining in the frame.
Francis Wathier was whistled for a boarding penalty as the first period expired, giving Charlotte a power play to being the second period. Just 46 seconds into the man-advantage, Chris Terry ripped a one-timer into the net from the right faceoff circle, giving the Checkers a 3-1 lead. Texas responded with a power play goal of their own at 6:21 to cut the deficit to one. Justin Dowling starting a passing sequence from the right boards that went to Brett Ritchie in the slot to Mike Hedden in the right corner to the far post to Matej Stransky for a one-timer that beat Muse at the back door. Wathier thought he had scored the game-tying goal later in the second period, but as he shot headed towards the center of a yawning net, Muse flashed his blocker and stole one away from Wathier.
Morin would tie the game at 10:39 of the third period, scoring his second goal of the night, and 18th of the season, on a brilliant far-post pass from rookie Brendan Ranford. Stransky also had an assist on the goal to record the first multi-point game of his professional career. Exactly 60 seconds later Hedden gave the Stars the lead 4-3 when he stole a clearing attempt just inside the offensive blue line, raced into the middle of the zone and snapped a shot below the blocker of Muse for an unassisted goal. Hedden found the net again and gave Texas an insurance goal with 3:02 left in regulation, getting a touch on a Brett Ritchie shot for the team’s second power play goal of the night to give the Stars a 5-3 lead. Charlotte pulled Muse in the final minute, but did not test Nilstorp, who dug in and secured the win.
Cristopher Nilstorp finished with 29 saves on 32 shots to record his 10th win of the season in goal for Texas. John Muse suffered his eighth loss of the year in goal for Charlotte, stopping 33-of-38 shots. The Stars out-shot the Checkers 38-32 and went a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play, while Charlotte was 1-for-4 with the man-advantage.
Notes: After starting the season 0-8-1-0 when trailing after two periods, Texas has now won back-to-back games when behind on the scoreboard entering the third period. The win also extended the Stars’ current point streak to five games (4-0-0-1) and brought them within one point of the Western Conference leading Abbotsford Heat (49 points).