Oct. 27, 2017

CEDAR PARK, Texas – Andrew Bodnarchuk scored at 3:29 of overtime as the Texas Stars overcame three different deficits to beat the San Diego Gulls 5-4 at the H-E-B Center. The first professional goal by Julius Nattinen, a pair of assists from Deven Sideroff and some tremendous penalty killing were not enough to hold off the high-powered Stars as San Diego (3-3-1-0, 7 pts.) dropped the first of a weekend back-to-back in the Lone Star state.

The Gulls got off to a quick start when Julius Nattinen recorded the first goal of his professional career when he took a shot from the left circle and the puck trickled past Stars netminder Mike McKenna following a successful cycle in the Stars zone at 1:28 of the opening period. Later in the period the Gulls killed off a Stars power play and capitalized on a 2-on-1 rush just as the penalty expired. Another Gulls rookie, this time Alex Dostie, fired home a shot through pads of McKenna just inside the left post at 11:08.

The Stars would come back to dim the Gulls’ rookie outburst and their 2-0 lead as Jason Dickinson knocked a Denis Gurianov point shot under the pads of Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle to cut the lead in half at 14:39. Less than three minutes later the Stars would strike again when Curtis McKenzie tipped in a Dillon Heatherington blast which originated from the left point to tie the score at 2-2 with 2:41 left in the opening period.

The last minute of the first period saw a wild sequence where both Stu Bickel and Scott Sabourin were ejected for being the aggressors in a series of fights. In an extremely rare situation, The Gulls founds themselves down two men for five minutes as Texas had a 5-on-3 man advantage due to both major penalties from Sabourin and Bickel. The penalties carried over well into the second period, however two hit posts by the Stars and a timely blocked shot from veteran blueliner Jeff Schultz helped the Gulls kill off the two majors as the San Diego bench roared in approval of their penalty killers.

San Diego carried over their newfound momentum into the latter half of the period when Giovanni Fiore drew a holding call on a partial breakaway to set up a power play. The Gulls converted seven seconds into the man advantage thanks to a redirection from Mitch Hults off of a Spencer Abbott shot from the right circle at 14:32. The goal extended San Diego’s power play goal streak to seven games, a new club record surpassing the previous high of six set from Mar. 30-Apr. 9, 2016 in the team’s inaugural season. Texas answered right back in this seesaw affair when Sheldon Dries beat Boyle glove-side at 17:08 and the two clubs would head to the third period tied at three apiece.

The third period got off on the right foot for the Gulls as Jordan Samuels-Thomas collected a past from linemate Mike Liambas and picked out the top corner for his first goal of the season over the shoulder of McKenna at 3:03. Dillon Heatherington eliminated the third San Diego lead to tie the game at 4-4 off a shot from the right point after a clean faceoff win in the Gulls zone at 5:15.

The two clubs traded chances in overtime, but after some big saves from Kevin Boyle, an untimely turnover in the neutral zone led to a clear breakaway for Andrew Bodnarchuk who beat the Gulls’ netminder to end the night at the 3:29 mark of the extra frame to give Texas the overtime victory.

The Gulls will be right back in action tomorrow at the AT&T Center in San Antonio as the Gulls take on the Rampage (5 p.m., ESPN 1700-AM).

Three Stars:
1. D. Heatherington (TEX)
2. S. Dries (TEX)
3. A. Bodnarchuk (TEX)