Todd Ford got the start in tonight game after Matt Climie started both other games this weekend against his former club, the Houston Aeros. Ford only last 2:34 in net before he got pulled for Climie. Ford allowed goals on two of the first three shots from Pokulok and Heshka to make it 2-0 just 214 seconds in. Climie came on in relief.
Texas allowed one more goal in the first at 7:48 when Kyle Turris beat Matt Climie on what I believe was his first shot faced of the night. Three goals in four shots. Not exactly the best way to show off to the television audience watching at home.
Mathieu Beaudoin would make it 3-1 on the power play at 11:23. Just 4 minutes later, Aaron Gagnon would receive a home-run pass from Dan Jancevski, beating Pogge gloveside high to make it 3-2. And then, we would wait.
With 1:45 left in the first period, Ray Sawada charged hard on Justin Pogge and the puck ended up in the net. It was waived off for goalie interference. Pogge took exception to Sawada getting up in his business and took him to the ice, wailing on him with his fists. The refs broke it up, and Pogge even threw someone else's stick out toward center. I don't think the refs saw that, otherwise there might have been another penalty. Pogge got a double-minor for roughing and Sawada the call for goalie interference. Texas couldn't score on the ensuing power play and went to the room down 3-2.
Texas spent the entire second period stuck at 3-2 despite many opportunities. Francis Lessard and Luke Gazdic dropped the gloves at 7:32 and continued jawing at each other from their respective penalty boxes after the play. At 15:11, Dan Jancevski was called for a delay of game for shooting the puck out of the surface from his defensive zone. There was a lot of debate and discussion about this play because the puck went out behind the San Antonio bench. Here's what the rulebook says about it:
When the puck is shot into the players’ bench, the [delay of game] penalty will not apply. When the puck is shot over the glass ‘behind’ the players’ bench, the penalty will be assessed.So the referee was correct in his assessment of the penalty, as much as we dislike it.
The third period was mostly quiet on the scoreboard, though Texas and San Antonio seemed to trade passes at a furious pace at times. The killer play came at 17 minutes into the third period. Climie mishandled a puck behind his own net, misjudging the amount of time he had before Kevin Porter crashed in on him to pass it out to Joel Perrault for the easy 4-2 lead. Climie was pretty visibly upset by his miscue, slapping the ice and boards with his stick after the play and several times more in the period. If you're going to play in the NHL, you have to forget your mistakes instantly and refocus on the task at hand when you are scored on. Climie showed tonight (to a Texas-wide TV audience) that he's not ready for that jump yet mentally.
As the fans started pouring out of the Cedar Park Center, Texas did their best to make lemonade out of lemons. The Stars were awarded a power play for boarding at 19:02 and made good. Perttu Lindgren and Andrew Hutchinson assisted on an amazing Travis Morin goal with 37.7 seconds left. Morin caught a pass up around his chest and put it down on the ice in time to beat Justin Pogge to make it 4-3. Those who were still there roared their approval and now were on the edge of their seats. With Climie pulled for the extra man, Texas gave it their best and fell just short with San Antonio getting an empty netter with 5 seconds to go. Final score 5-3.
This game proves the importance of the first five minutes of the game. If you remember, when Texas went through its rough streak of the season one of the consistent sore points was getting scored on in the first period, often in the first five minutes. Texas was scored on twice in the first three minutes tonight. Todd Ford did not get pegged with the loss in this game because Climie let in the game winning goal (his puck mishandling goal). But realistically, we know that Climie wasn't given a fair chance to win this one. He had really earned a rest after winning two straight in back-to-back nights. Solid backups are supposed to spell the top guy in the course of the season and that is not what we are getting from Todd Ford in the month of February. Ford did not play in a single game that Texas won in February. That's not a backup you can count on.
Also, Texas is now 0-17-1-1 when trailing after the second period. Tonight's game was better than many of those before it in the third period energy department but still not enough.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Graham, Tousignant and Shelast (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 5,803.
Stafford and Jancevski started together on defense and then broke into their respective pairings for the rest of each period. They have done this pretty consistently since the departure of Ivan Vishnevskiy.
The mustachioed Ryan Hollweg took a slapshot to the face in the last two minutes of the game blocking a shot. I didn't see where exactly it hit him and there was no blood on the ice. (Reports now he had a tooth in his hand on the way off the ice.) I wince everytime I think about shot blocking with my face...
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 28 2010