Jamie Oleksiak is a man. That is all.
The Texas Stars extended their point streak to six games with a 2-0 shutout of the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night, thanks to a strong third period performance by Christopher Nilstorp and another great game by Reilly Smith.
Smith opened the scoring in the first period with a nifty backhand into the top shelf from the slot as both defenses locked down for the majority of the game. Shots were just 13-11 in favor of the Stars before the third period, before an offensive explosion in the final frame.
The Stars extended the lead to 2-0 when Smith found Alex Chiasson alone in the slot, who then buried the puck under Jacob Markstrom's pads. San Antonio put the pressure on the Stars, who survived a 5-on-3, as the Rampage put 15 shots on goal in the third. The Stars would hold on, surviving the late onslaught, and earn the hard-fought win.
If there was any doubt about Jamie Oleksiak's position as the top prospect in this system, then tonight erased it. Oleksiak was a mountain in his own zone for the entirety of the game and finally showed some of the physical nastiness that people have been asking for. Laying a big hit along the boards, the big defenseman then dominated in a fight with Alex Petrovic in which the SA forward failed to even attempt to get a shot in of his own.
Once again, another strong game by Nilstorp in net. The Swedish goaltender is going to be challenging for NHL playing time, whenever the NHL decides to actually be a league again, and it seems the Stars may have found another gem in net.
DBD's Three Stars of the Game: