Please note: We won't be able to do recaps of each game, but we'll try our best.
The Texas Stars needed a spectacular performance by Cody Eakin and two late goals to come from behind for a 4-3 shootout win over the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday night. The game showcased both the potential greatness and the shortcomings of this young team all at once, as penalty troubles in the third period threatened to unravel a strong game overall in the team's home opener at Cedar Park Center.
Charlotte, the AHL affiliate for the Carolina Hurricanes, presented a much tougher test for the Stars than the San Antonio Rampage and put the home team back on their heels a bit to start the game. A couple of Checkers penalties in the second period would swing momentum in Texas' way, with the Stars outshooting the Checkers 12-7 in a scoreless first period.
The Checkers would get on the board first, however, when Zach Boychuk scored an unassisted goal off an egregious turnover by Jordie Benn in his own zone. The Stars would get the goal right back when Reilly Smith made a great play along the boards to move the puck to Tomas Vincour, who quickly snapped the puck in front to Eakin to tie the game.
Things would come apart for Texas to start the third period when a wave of Stars to the penalty box resulted in two quick power play goals by the Checkers. Down 3-1, it seemed the air had gone out of the building a bit in Austin before Eakin drew a cross-checking penalty while on the power play and gave the Stars a brief 5-on-3.
Cam Barker would atone for several earlier miscues, firing a laser of a shot past goaltender Dan Ellis to pull the Stars to within a goal with just over 12 minutes remaining regulation. The Stars would put 16 shots on goal in the third period, with Cody Eakin finally tying the game off an incredible shot from distance over Ellis' shoulder.
The teams would need nine rounds in the shootout, with Jordie Benn getting the winning goal and Jack Campbell stopping 8-of-9 overall. For the game, Campbell stopped 27-of-30 shots, including four in overtime.
We'll have some more detailed thoughts on the weekend's action on Monday.
Defending Big D's Three Stars:
Cody Eakin, Texas
Tomas Vincour, Texas
Zach Boychuk, Charlotte