CEDAR PARK – A three-goal second period for the Texas Stars ultimately turned a one-goal deficit into a 4-2 win over the Iowa Wild on Saturday night at Cedar Park Center in front of a sold out crowd of 6,863. The win capped off a celebratory night for the Stars, who raised their 2014 Calder Cup Championship banner to the rafters prior to puck drop.
Justin Dowling scored the 50th goal of his pro career and rookie Julius Honka added his first career tally as part of a second period that pushed the Stars in front for good. Maxime Fortunus and Travis Morin each added a pair of assists for the Stars. Jussi Rynnas earned the win in his first appearance for Texas, stopping 20 shots.
The Stars began the middle frame trailing after Iowa’s Tyler Graovac scored a first period, power play goal, but Curtis McKenzie sparked the three-goal rally in the period on a rebound goal at 7:26 while falling over from a scrum at the front of the net. Dowling then redirected Fortunus’ centering pass on the rush past Wild goaltender John Curry three minutes later to make it a 2-1 lead for Texas.
Honka buried his first career goal from the point with 43 seconds left in the period for a power play goal as Dowling earned his second point of the night, adding the assist.
In the third, Iowa closed the gap to 3-2 when Brady Brassart snapped a wrist shot from the right circle past Rynnas at 5:34. The Stars responded with another power play tally on John Klingberg’s one-timer from the left circle off Morin’s crossing feed. After a 33-save performance, Curry was pulled for the final 1:37 but the Wild failed to find the scoresheet again.
Both teams earned eight power plays in the contest. The Stars scored twice on the man-advantage while the Wild struck once.
The Stars head to Oklahoma City on Friday for a 7:00 p.m. CST puck drop before returning home on Saturday to host the Utica Comets at Cedar Park Center.
1. Justin Dowling (TEX)
2. Julius Honka (TEX)
3. Curtis McKenzie (TEX)
The Texas Stars have started the 2014-15 season as the AHL’s defending Calder Cup Champions. Single-game tickets and season ticket packages for the 2014-15 campaign are on sale now. For more information, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit TexasStarsHockey.com.