Dallas Stars prospects got off to a dramatic start Friday night, scoring three goals in the final minute to rally past the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
Defenseman Stephen Johns tied the game with 42 seconds remaining, Cole Ully scored to put the Stars ahead 16 seconds later, and then Jason Dickinson sealed the win with an empty-net goal 24 seconds after that.
“You never really want to draw it up that way, and you never want to be down the last minute, but we’ll take it obviously,” said Ully. “Sometimes that is how you have to win games; you have to out will teams. A lot of times it does come down to the last minute or the last seconds. There’s a great feeling in the room right now, and we are looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”
Emil Molin also scored for the Stars, Ludwig Bystrom had two assists and Philippe Desrosiers stopped 26 of 28 shots. Desrosiers didn’t face much pressure early in the game, but he came up with some big saves for Dallas the rest of the way.
“It’s tough for a goalie to settle in,” said Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who is coaching Dallas prospects at the tournament. “He made some great saves in the first period and I thought he settled in as the game went along.”
The Stars pulled Desrosiers late in the game with Chicago leading 2-1. After a Remi Elie goal was waved off due to the play being blown dead, the Stars called a timeout and scored a short time later when Mattias Janmark won an offensive zone draw and Johns scored off a blast from the point to make it a 2-2 game with 42 seconds remaining.
After a Chicago turnover, Bystrom and Devin Shore set up Ully on an odd-man rush and the Dallas forward scored from close range to put Dallas up 3-2 with 26 seconds left in regulation.
“Probably the easiest goal I’ll ever score,” Ully said.
After Chicago missed a glorious chance to tie moments later, Dickinson sealed the win by tallying into an empty net with two seconds left.
“The first game is always a little bit of a feeling out process, and you are trying to bond as a team a little bit, and I think that is a pretty good way for the guys to respond at the end,” Laxdal said. “It was exciting. I thought it was a good game.”
*The Stars outshot Chicago 32-28.
*Dallas defenseman Stephen Johns had a game-high six shots on goal.
*Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who is coaching the prospects, had high praise for Johns after the game: “He’s a beast. He logged a lot of ice time for us tonight. He’s a gamer. He plays with passion. He brings a lot of energy. You just watch him, and he looks like a man amongst boys. He’s a special player.”
*Laxdal moved Mattias Janmark up to the top line due to Radek Faksa showing some rust. “I thought Janmark played very well,” Laxdal said. “He’s been playing some hockey already (in Europe). I bumped him up on the top line because I thought he would create a little more energy, and he was great in the faceoff circle. Saw a lot of good things. Jason Dickinson had some open nets, just didn’t bury.”
*Faksa, who missed the second half of last season due to shoulder surgery, will get Saturday’s game off to rest up. “You practice, and you work as hard as you can, but it is a fast game out there at this tournament,” Laxdal said. “I thought he did very well for the ice time that he played and the lack of ice time he’s had over the past year.”
*Faksa served as the captain for the Stars on Friday. Johns and Devin Shore were the alternate captains.
*Laxdal said Brent Moran will start in goal Saturday.
*The Stars play Carolina at 2:30 p.m. (Central Time) on Saturday.
Stars lineup vs. Chicago
Jason Dickinson – Radek Faksa – Remi Elie
Devin Shore – Mattias Janmark – Cole Ully
Brett Pollock – Gemel Smith – Emil Molin
Mads Eller – Brandon Magee – Chase Witala
Esa Lindell – Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom – Julius Honka
Alex Peters – Aaron Haydon
Brent Moran (backup)
Scratched: Patrick Sanvido, Branden Troock, Chris Martenet
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.