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Hancock native Kero scores winning goal in Stars’ win

Dallas Stars center Tanner Kero, center, and right wing Denis Gurianov (34), of Russia, celebrate Kero's winning goal against Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, April 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Tanner Kero snapped a tie 2:52 into the third period, and the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night to post consecutive victories for the first time since the opening week of the season.

“We wanted to string a few wins together so this is a good start,” said Kero, a Hancock native and Michigan Tech alum.

Andrew Cogliano and Jamie Benn also scored for Dallas, which won 4-1 at Nashville on Thursday night. Mark Pysyk recorded his first two assists of the season.

Jake Oettinger made a career-high 41 saves, matching the most for a Dallas rookie since the franchise relocated to Texas.

“He’s mature beyond his years,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “When you’re that confident in your abilities, you want to play. Nothing is going to rattle him at this point.”

Oettinger, 22, delivered after Anton Khudobin was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Oettinger didn’t find out that he would be the starter until prior to the morning skate.

“You’ve got to be ready for anything, especially this year,” Oettinger said.

The Stars last had a winning streak when they won their first four games of the year.

“We need to start climbing back in this race,” Kero said.

Dougie Hamilton and Haydn Fleury scored for Carolina. Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 shots in the opener of an eight-game homestand.

The Hurricanes had been 4-0 against Dallas this season.

The teams traded goals in the first two periods.

Cogliano put the Stars in front on a deflection just 3:41 into the game. Hamilton responded for the Hurricanes when he got a pass from Vincent Trocheck, made one slight move and basically shot into an open net at 9:33.

“It’s just a read and reaction for me,” Hamilton said.

It was Hamilton’s 100th NHL goal, just two games after his 14-game point streak ended in a loss at Chicago.

Fleury put the Hurricanes ahead in the second with a shot from just inside the blue line. Oettinger appeared to have a read on the puck, but instead it bounced off a pad and between his legs. For Fleury, appearing in his 32nd game in 2021, it was his first point of the season.

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