The Texas Stars’ longest losing streak of the season finally came to an end and the team held onto first place in the Western Conference with a 4-3 win against the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday.
“We got together this morning, and everyone knew what we had to to do tonight,” forward Mike Hedden said. “It was going to be a hard battle and the boys came to play tonight… it’s nice to finally get a win and break this little slump we’ve been on.”
The losing streak had lasted five games and it was Texas’ first win since a 4-2 victory against the Lake Erie Monsters on Feb. 23.
Hedden scored twice in a span of three minutes, 12 seconds — sandwiched around a goal by William Wrenn — to help the Stars (34-16-4-6, 78 points) quickly erase a one-goal deficit at the start of a hectic second period.
The second period featured three goals, two fights, 22 penalty minutes and each team changed goaltenders.
Wrenn’s goal, a slapshot from the slot, was the last shot Heat starting goalie Danny Taylor would face before he was pulled for Barry Brust. Stars starting goalie Christopher Nilstorp left the game with an apparent upper-body injury after getting run into by a Heat player, sparking some of the tenacity that led to both scraps.
Nilstorp finished the game with eight saves on 10 shots, still picking up his 18th win of the season, and Jack Campbell made 17 saves in relief.
Abbotsford scored early in the third period to cut the lead to one, but Texas was able to hold on for the win despite getting out shot 11-2 in the third period.
Early on Texas had the first eight shots of the game, including four on the power play, but Abbotsford’s Krys Kolanos opened the scoring 11:58 into the first period on his team’s first shot of the game.
The Stars temporarily tied the score with 3:18 remaining in the first period on a wrist shot by Matt Fraser. The Stars’ leading scorer fired a shot from the right circle over Taylor’s glove for his 28th goal of the season. The tie only lasted 83 seconds and Blair Jones gave Abbotsford a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Texas takes a two-game road trip to Charlotte this weekend for a matchup with the second place team in the South Division.