Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stars can't mount comeback in third, fall 3-2 in Milwaukee

The Admirals came out of the gate on fire tonight, up and down the ice and laying the hits on the Stars all across the sheet. Krahn played well at the outset, especially during Colton Sceviour's hooking minor. Krahn stole a few great chances from the Admirals. Brent got lucky a bit too, with Sulzer ringing not one but two shots off the post. Trevor Ludwig did the goaltending on the second shot, making sure that the bounce off Krahner stayed under the goalie and not over the goal line.

Unfortunately, the Sceviour minor would be the only shiny part of Krahn's night. Over the last nine minutes of the period, Krahn gave up three goals. First, Triston Grant, usually a pugilist, scored his 12th of the year on one that Krahn didn't even see coming. He got screened by his own player on Grant's dump-in toward the net. The puck beat him high glove-side.

Dave Scatchard was next in line as he scored coming out of the penalty box. No one picked him up on his way down the boards, leaving him open for a pass and score play on net to make it 2-0.

With just 6 seconds in the period, Mike Santorelli scored on a weird five-hole play that was not well-described on the radio. Brent Krahn allowed 3 goals on 20 first period shots. That's right: 20. Where was the defense in the first? At that rate, that's 60 shots in the entire game. Ridiculous.

Krahn got the hook, and Matt Climie took the reins in net for the second period. It was the first time this year that Brent Krahn had been pulled. I personally think it wasn't fair to Krahn to pull him, but the team needed something to change. It really wasn't his fault that it was 3-0, and it should have been 6-0 without some spectacular plays from Krahn.

The shots rate slowed with the start of the second. Dan Jancevski made the first dent in the score at 10:41 of the second. Aaron Gagnon had the assist with the pass down low to Jancevski.

Less than 2 minutes later, Perttu Lindgren gets his 14th of season on a slapper from the high slot. The goal beat both Milwaukee goalie Mark Dekanich and a Milwaukee defender five-hole. Just like that, Texas had brought the score to a manageable level. Shots in the second were in Texas's favor at 14-7. Texas got a lot of great chances at the end of the period on the power play with Fortunus hitting the post once.

Then something horrible happened, the second period ended. Coming into tonight's game, the Texas Stars were the only team in the AHL to not have a third period comeback. With a record of 0-17-1-1, Texas would have to do something they'd never done before: stage a third period comeback.

Despite three 3rd period power plays and pulling tender Matt Climie for the last 1:59 of the game, Texas couldn't do it. Perttu Lindgren had the best chance but Texas would come no closer than a 'good chance'.

Texas now drops to 0-18-1-1 after trailing at the end of two. Climie didn't even have as many saves in two periods as Krahn had in one. Matt earned the 2nd star of the game with the 14 saves of 14 shots performance, but sadly, the damage was already done by that time. Krahner now drops to 14-3-0 and suffers his first loss since returning from injury at the beginning of March.

Why can't this team pull off a third-period comeback? The answer seems pretty simple: it's not built for offense. Texas ranks 13th in the league on offense though, and even the team that ranks dead last, Toronto, has 5 wins when trailing after two. At some point, you have to go to the whip in the third and stop playing as defensive of a game. If the Stars are still trailing by one with 5 minutes left, defensive players should jump into the play more and be more aggressive. Maybe this has been happening and I'm missing it, but whatever is happening, it isn't working. It's time for a change in the third period next time Texas is trailing. You can't do much worse than we already are.

Tonight's lines:
Lindgren-Morin-Beaudoin
Wathier-Peters-Sawada
Sceviour-Gagnon-Korostin
Gazdic-Tousignant

Hutchinson-Fortunus
Stephenson-Jancevski
Stafford-Tr. Ludwig
Ty. Ludwig

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson, Rallo, and McCulloch (injured)
Graham and Shelast (scratched)
Benn (call-up)

Apologies for any errors on the lineup. It was radio only for me tonight.

Greg Rallo took a puck off the foot in the Peoria game and will be out for at least a week.

Tonight's attendance was 3,143.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Milwaukee - March 23 2010

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