Tonight's game was a new experience for me. It was my first time traveling to an away game as a visiting fan. I will have to write something up on my impressions of the fan experience in the AT&T Center at a later date. My executive summary of that later post would be this: "Not impressed". Oh, so there was also a hockey game. Let's get down to that.
The Stars lineup, which I have recorded below, included Gaz and Tousi. Coach Gulutzan scratched McCulloch and Lindgren along with Wilson. Not sure of the motivation here. Regardless, the Stars came out hard charging with some good chances but no finish. Texas gave up the first goal of the game on the penalty kill when Kyle Turris took a puck down the board, passed to Brett MacLean who skated along the goal line and passed to an unabated Alexandre Picard on the back door. It was Picard's 21st of the year.
Texas had a lot of power play chances in the first, three to be exact, including a 13 second 5-on-3 PP. Despite 11 Texas shots in the first, Josh Tordjman turned back everything he saw. Texas would score next however. Also on the power play, Aaron Gagnon potted his 19th of the season when Dan Jancevski's point shot generated a juicy rebound off Tordjman's pads. Texas was overall outshot in the 2nd period, 14-7.
In the final period, San Antonio would be the only team to score. Early in the period, Morgan's shot from the left-wing boards was redirected practically on Climie's lap by Meyer to make it a 2-1 game. Texas tried to fight back but couldn't pull it out in the last period. It was a tough game to watch because the Stars had good chances but couldn't finish. Texas put 28 shots on goal, a high number for them, and Josh Tordjman earned the #1 star of the game. That tells you about the quality of the shots.
Finally, usually I don't comment about such things, but Texas's efforts were not aided by the referee much this evening. Referee Terry Koharski missed a few blatant calls and made phantom calls on Texas players. Greg Rallo received a cross-check that knocked his helmet off for example. Also, the more obvious example was when Matt Climie had lost his stick in the corner and a Rampage player knocked it further out of his reach. That's interference. Goalie Brent Krahn was the last player off the ice tonight as he spent a little bit of time at center ice explaining to one of the linesmen that moving a player's (unbroken) stick is indeed interference. It was a badly called game by Koharski, who had a questionable night on Wednesday when he also reffed Texas against the Rivermen. You can't blame lost games on officials; that's just being a crybaby. I will however say that things were missed.
The Rampage are now 7-3-0-0 in their last ten and face the Stars 3 more times. Texas loses those games and suddenly the West Division standings get a little dicey...
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson, McCulloch, and Lindgren (scratched)
Once again, the Stars only dressed 11 forwards but this time they played their 7th defenseman up on the wing. Stephenson shifted with Gazdic and TOusignant.
Tonight's attendance was 7,210.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - March 12 2010