Curtis Mckenzie’s hat trick powers Texas Stars past San Diego 6-2

The Stars completed their grueling four game west coast road trip against an injured San Diego Gulls club, winning the special teams battle in a 6-2 win that starred Curtis McKenzie.

Texas has struggled to get on board in general, but first periods have been a problem specifically. Thanks to special teams waking up, that wouldn’t be the narrative against San Diego.

The Stars got on board less than three minutes into the game. Colin Markison scored his second goal of the year when Samuel Laberge stripped a Gull in the neutral, feeding Markison on the cross ice pass to best San Diego netminder, Kevin Boyle.

A too-much-man penalty from the Gulls led to a man advantage opportunity, which has been but thus far. Texas simply has trouble getting rebounds and breaking into the zone. However, Texas would flip the script for the night.

Brian Flynn cruised through the slot, allowing McKenzie to feed a completely uncovered Flynn to beat a sprawling Boyle. Landon Bow wasn’t challenged much, but kept his composure for the shots he did see, shutting the gates completely in the first.

The second period began slow, but Texas kept a strong pace, and ensured the defensive lapses were kept to a minimum. The power play once became an asset with Curtis McKenzie getting a feed from Justin Dowling from behind for the three goal lead.

McKenzie kept the Stars momentum going with his second goal of the game – a deflection from a Roope Hintz shot right in the slot to beat Boyle five hole.

San Diego finally answered back with just two minutes left in the period with a shot from the point on the power play from Andrew Welinski.

The third period got off to a spetacularly goofy start; Boyle tried to play a routine icing, and just fell down right on his keister, completely unprovoked. It was a weird play that Texas couldn’t capitalize on (but almost did). It didn’t take long for Max French to break into the offensive zone soon after, allowing McKenzie to feed him through traffic for Texas’ fifth goal of the game (and McKenzie’s 5th point).

San Diego got on board on the power play when Giovanni Fiore beat Bow at the top of the circle with an emphatic slapper.

There wasn’t much drama outside of Texas’ general flow. But Niklas Hansson collided with a fellow Star and hobbled off to the bench (no word on whether it’s serious or not).

After that Travis Morin appeared to get on board nine seconds into their power play, with McKenzie nabbing a subtle deflection. It was all Stars on an otherwise tough road trip.

Texas finally returns home against Grand Rapids at 7:30PM this Friday.

Line Up

Roope Hintz – Travis Morin – Sheldon Dries
Curtis McKenzie – Justin Dowling – Brian Flynn
Matt Mangene – Max French – Denis Gurianov
Samuel Laberge – Tommy Thompson – Colin Markison

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Julius Honka
Dillon Heatherington – Brett Regner
Gavin Bayreuther – Niklas Hansson

Mike McKenna

Scratches: Fyten, Bystrom, McNeill, Rallo

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