|Mike Hedden celebrates his second period goal. (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"We had a good start, but we got away from our systems," said Travis Morin, who continued his scoring torrent with a goal and an assist. "We weren't playing the way we were supposed to."
After going up by two in the first ten minutes, Texas ceded two goals in the next five to reach a tied score.
"We played well at the start," added Coach Desjardins. "But they capitalized on some mistakes to get themselves going. We didn't work as hard away from the puck as we needed to."
Rockford pushed past Texas with a second period goal, which Texas answered just a minute later off the stick of Mike Hedden. The IceHogs' Mark McNeill put in the ultimate game winner with 90 seconds left in the second period. Rockford was playing very aggressively all night, and it put Texas back on its heels.
"They [activate D on offense] a lot, and it put our defense on their heels," said Desjardins. "Pucks were bouncing, and they didn't want to get caught so that gave [Rockford] speed."
Morin continued, "We knew they were going to jump into the play, especially their D. When they get a turnover, they go. The forwards weren't as high as they should have been, and that gave them some odd man opportunities."
Texas tender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 20 of 24 against in his first start of the year. Rockford's goalie, Kent Simpson, stopped 41 of 44 and combined with his performance last night has stopped 90 on the weekend.
Travis Morin opened the scoring in this one with a carbon copy of his first goal from last night. Morin beat Simpson blocker side by picking a corner and set the score at 1-0. Sceviour assisted.
Morin stayed in the action on the power play with a primary assist on Curtis McKenzie's first pro goal. The power play goal came as Morin dished to McKenzie to the right of the net. McKenzie put on a nice turnaround move to beat Simpson and make it 2-0 for Texas just ten minutes into the game.
Just over a minute later, Jeremy Morin (no relation) potted his first of the year, finding a corner behind Nilstorp to cut the lead to 2-1 for Texas. Another three minutes and Clendening blasted a power play goal from the point to tie things at two all. The first period ended with a 13-10 lead in shots for the Stars.
Cristopher Nilstorp stopped a penalty shot from Alex Broadhurst to get the Stars' crowd back into the game. Klas Dahlbeck took the air out just as quickly as he pushed Rockford ahead less than thirty seconds later, and they would not trail again.
Justin Dowling's line generated the Stars' tying goal one minute later on a gritty effort.
"Things weren't going our way so we started getting into the dirty areas," said Mike Hedden. "Ritchie had a great chance and couldn't find the net. I just got lucky, and the puck was sitting there. I just poked it into the empty net."
Hedden's goal was his first of the year, assisted by Brett Ritchie and Justin Dowling.
"They went hard to the net there, and it's good for them to get rewarded," said Desjardins. "They've had some chances and nothing went in for them."
Texas allowed one more in the period as Cristopher Nilstorp got bowled over, and Mark McNeill potted his first of the year. Shots were 13-8 for Texas in the frame.
The Stars couldn't put it together in the final period to overcome that deficit. Desjardins intoned, "Throughout the game, we didn't generate the quality chances we needed to. Morin's line carried us."
A furious final five minute effort had a few close calls on the Rockford net, but no goal.
"We need to play with that intensity all game," said Hedden. "Teams are too good in this league and we have to play like that all night to win."
With eight days off ahead of them, the Stars will surely focus on teachable moments from the game.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Labrie, Button, Ranford (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 3,166.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - October 6 2013