There was no slow start for Dallas Stars prospects in their second game at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. No defensive woes either. The Stars were sharp from goaltender Tyler Beskorowany on out in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues Sunday afternoon.
“We were a different team today than we were yesterday,” said Stars defenseman Philip Larsen.
After getting blitzed early in a 6-1 loss to Detroit on Saturday, it was the Stars who struck early this time around.
Tomas Vincour scored just 11 seconds into the game off a deflection of an Etienne Boutet point shot to give the Stars an early lead.
“We could use that kind of pick-me-up after getting drubbed 6-1 the night before,” said Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, who is coaching the prospects at the tournament.
Michael Neal scored off a sharp angle shot from the left circle at 4:48 of the first to extend the lead in what was an impressive first period for the Stars, who outshot St. Louis 16-8 and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
“We came out harder, skating all over the ice, outworking them and forcing them to take a lot of penalties,” said Larsen. “We got the momentum with the power plays and they got a little tired.”
A majority of those power plays came in the second period but the Stars were unable to extend their lead. They did get a power play goal early in the third period to make it a 3-1 game when Tristan King, who had one goal and one assist on the afternoon, roofed a shot off the rush. Kevin King scored with just under six minutes left, scoring on a snap shot from the slot, to round out the scoring for the Stars.
The defensive problems that plagued the team were not evident Sunday.
“There were some things we talked about defensively and I thought it started to mesh for the guys," said Gulutzan.
“Yesterday was our first game and we haven’t practiced too much and we’ve got a new system, so it was a little bit loose on the ice,” said Larsen. “The more you play the system the more confident you are going to feel.”
The goaltending was excellent. Beskorowany stopped 26 of 27 shots and several were sharp ones.
“He was really calm. I think he looked really calm,” said Gulutzan “He made a big save when it was 2-1 when a guy got around our defense. It was a big save. It’s not always the saves, it’s the timing of the saves and that save came up big time for us.”
That save came in the second period on a shorthanded chance by the Blues. Beskorowany made a great glove save on a point blank chance midway through the third period and the Stars up 3-1 in the game.
“Overall I thought it was a good effort on my part,” Beskorowany said. “There were a couple of turnovers in my own end playing the puck. There was some miscommunication and it cost me a goal, but you learn from it and I’ll bounce back from it and not make the same mistake.”
And Sunday’s game was a good bounce back effort for the Stars prospects, who showed a lot of fight in the game as well. There were four fights and several scrums.
“I thought they played hard, they played disciplined, they played together and those are things we are looking for in this organization - that team togetherness," said Gulutzan. "They stuck up for each other."
Said Beskorowany: “I think we are starting to jell as a team and it’s starting to show on the ice.”
The Stars have a practice day on Monday and play Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Sunday’s boxscore is here.
Line combinations/defense pairings
Forward line combinations and defensive pairings used by the Dallas Stars vs.
St. Louis in Sunday's game at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City