Friday, April 12, 2013

Texas Needs Just a Bit of OT to Beat Charlotte 3-2

Kevin Connauton was the hero of the game just nine seconds into OT. (Credit: Gregg Forwerck/Charlotte Checkers)
Texas and Charlotte needed overtime to settle the final game of their season series but not much of it. Just nine seconds into the extra frame, Kevin Connauton scored the game winner for the Stars, ending a back and forth game between the top two clubs in the division.

Colton Sceviour and Brett Ritchie had goals in the game for the Stars, who appeared poised for a regulation win leading 2-1 late in the third. Charlotte scored on a late power play to give themselves at least one point.

Rob Madore was spectacular again for the Checkers. In three games against the Stars, he has posted 130 saves on 137 shots, a .949 save percentage.

Brett Ritchie continued his strong start to his professional career with his third goal in five games. Off a nice pass from Hedden, Ritchie looked pass but then went for a beautiful snipe on Madore to set the score at 1-0.

Texas earned a power play in the period to the Checkers' two chances, but uneven officiating overall between the two teams affected the overall pace and flow of the game. Several missed calls and a phantom goaltender interference call on Sceviour were among the top hits. Coaches Desjardins and Lidster were letting referee Geoff Miller know of his missteps with regularity on the evening.

Texas outshot Charlotte 12-6 in the first.

A bad change in the second period gave Charlotte the tying goal. All three Stars forwards went to the bench for the change as the Checkers' charged the Texas zone. Matt Marquardt's goal was an eventuality on the ensuing 5-on-2 rush.

The Stars threw twenty shots on the Charlotte net for a second game. Tonight, the Checkers earned 15 of their own in the middle frame.

Pushing late, Luke Gazdic earned the Stars a power play as he drew a hooking call with eleven minutes left in the final regulation frame.

Colton Sceviour came through in the clutch where the Stars' power play could not last night. He slid the puck between the pads of Madore for his twentieth of the season and the go-ahead goal with half a period to play at the TWC Arena.

Late in the game, Jamie Oleksiak was called for a delay of game penalty as he cleared the puck out of the defensive zone over the glass. Chris Terry scored on the ensuing power play on a flip-flop from last night's late power play goal. Terry fed Boychuk last night and Boychuk fed Terry tonight for the tying one-time goal from the right wing circle.

The Stars have allowed important goals late in four of the last five games. That trend is troubling and shows a completely different third period character for this team than earlier in the season when they would flat outwork opponents to lock down the third.

Texas and Charlotte needed more than sixty minutes to finish off the game. They didn't need much more than the sixty seconds though. Just nine seconds into the overtime period, Madore yielded on a goal from Kevin Connauton, assisted by Travis Morin.

San Antonio is up next for the Stars, who return to Texas for games in the Alamo City on Sunday and Tuesday.

Tonight's lines:
R. Smith-Morin-Sceviour
Hedden-Dowling-Ritchie
Vause-Sonne-Glennie
Gazdic-Petersen-Wathier

Oleksiak-Wrenn
Gaunce-Connauton
Fortunus-Morrow

Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Fraser, Chiasson, Benn, Nilstorp (call up)
Montgomery, Cameron, Nemeth, McKenzie, Sloan, Commodore (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 10,615.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Charlotte - April 12 2013

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