Five minutes and five seconds into the game, the Stars were staring a 2-0 defecit in the face. The Crunch came out energized despite having played into OT last night in Houston. Aulin broke the scoreless tie at just 4:49 into the opening frame. He scored again, unassisted on a fluke goal just 16 seconds later. Replays were not shown in the building so it was unclear what happened. There was a lengthy review by the officials which ended in a 'good goal'. Matt Climie was rather upset about the whole affair and had words with the referee and linesmen throughout the night.
The Stars scored before the period was out on an Andrew Hutchinson shot from close in that beat Lalande five-hole. The second period's only tally was a Peters goal at16:57. The Crunch would score next at 6:12 of the third to make it a 3-2 lead. Stars goalie, Matt Climie, was visibly frustrated with his play through much of the game, including a very marked physical display after letting in the Crunch's third goal.
Travis Morin, who played with Todd Ford in the ECHL on the Stingrays, scored the game tying goal just 4 minutes later. All of the goals scored by both teams were at even strength, something we certainly didn't predict. The Crunch took 15 minutes worth of penalties, but the Stars could not capitalize on 5 opportunities. The return of Landon Wilson put a player in front of the opposing goalie on the power play (a la Ott or Morrow in Dallas) but it didn't help in this game.
The Stars had a furious energy in the last 4 minutes of the third trying to break the 3-3 tie, but the game went to overtime. The near sellout crowd thought it was over when Fritsche took a tripping minor with 1:13 left in the OT period. As I previously mentioned, the Stars could not capitalize on the PP opp.
The game went to the shootout and no Texas Stars scored. Through 4 rounds, the Crunch scored twice and that was all they needed. A poke check from Crunch goalie, Lalande, on Wilson's attempt sent the crowd home unhappy.
The Stars will not be back in town until January 6th. Their next game sends them to Manitoba to face the Moose on New Year's Eve. Previously in this series, we've had some bad blood with one game at the CPC resulting in five fighting majors. It's good to see that the Stars have already developed some rivalries despite only having played 30 something games.
What can the Stars do? We'll talk about this in the coming days. I have to go watch a Dallas Stars game waiting for me on the DVR. Look for the announcement of the PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars tomorrow at 1 PM CST.