There was no easy way for Texas to beat Rochester goaltender David Leggio, so they got a little creative and it worked enough to garner the Stars a 2-1 win on Friday.
Leggio stopped 39 of the Stars’ 41 shots but was outduelled at the other end ice by Texas goaltender Richard Bachman, playing just his sixth game of the season on the AHL level after being recalled earlier this week from Dallas.
Winger Luke Gazdic, who had missed the previous nine games with a broken right hand, scored the winning goal for the Stars at the 9:17 mark of the second period when he redirected a shot from William Wrenn past Leggio.
Gazdic’s deciding goal came just minutes after he seemingly re-injured his hand on his previous shift.
The win allowed the Stars (37-16-5-6, 85 points) to expand their South Division lead over idle Charlotte to eight points with a dozen regular-season games left to play. Texas’ win, combined with Syracuse’s loss to last-place Hamilton Friday, allows the Stars the most points in the AHL. The victory was the Stars’ fourth in five games.
Texas found a unique way to beat Leggio just 3:24 into the game while taking a 1-0 lead. The Stars’ Scott Glennie carried the puck into the offensive zone before being tripped up and sliding into the net past the Rochester goalie. A scrum ensued as players from both teams tried to find the puck, and both Texas’ Taylor Vause and Francis Wathier had shot attempts, but Glennie got the final piece of the puck and was credited with the goal.
The Stars dominated play for the rest of the period, but Texas was stunned when Rochester’s Mark Mancari scored a shorthanded goal, tying the game at 1-1 with just six seconds to play before the first intermission.
Both teams played a checking style throughout and especially in the third period when Rochester (33-25-3-1, 70 points) turned up the heat in search of the equalizer. Bachman stood tall, making several key saves in the final minute after Rochester emptied its net for the extra attacker.
Texas returns to the ice tonight when it faces off against second-place Charlotte at 7 p.m.