|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"We had a lot of chances," said Chris Mueller, who had an assist in the game. "But you can't replace Morin and Sceviour. But that's the AHL. Guys have to step up and we have to get a win."
The game turned on the power play in the second period, according to Coach Desjardins. He didn't make excuses, pinning the loss on himself.
"We lost the game in the second period on the power play," he said. "[Losing Morin and Sceviour] hurts but it'll happen and we have to find ways to win when that happens. Our structure wasn't good enough. We didn't handle the change. That comes to coaching. They weren't quite ready, and that's my fault."
Goalie John Muse was outstanding for the Checkers as Texas volleyed 44 shots his direction; he only gave up a single tally and earned the game's number one star.
"We didn't get many lucky bounces," said Matej Stransky, who scored the lone goal. "We have to bury the chances we do have."
It seemed like Texas had a lot of rebound chances that went unfinished. Muse credited his defenders, "I got a good look at pretty much every shot tonight. They did a great job clearing rebounds."
Jack Campbell took his first loss of the season. He has still yet to allow more than two goals in a game, however.
The Texas Stars opened the scoring in the first period with a nice finish from Matej Stransky on a rush up the ice. Curtis McKenzie was bumped at the blue line but not before passing off the puck to Chris Mueller streaking down the right wing side. His initial shot rebounded hard. Stransky overskated the initial rebound with a Checkers defender draped on him but spun around to put in his seventh of the season.
The fourth line, featuring the two newest Stars Kevin Henderson and Chris Culligan, had a solid first period performance. The line combined for three shots and one that went banged the iron off the stick of Culligan.
"I thought they were both really good," said Desjardins, referring to new additions Culligan and Henderson. "They both can play and will help us."
Matej Stransky almost had a second goal in the frame, but John Muse put up the two-pad stack to stop the chance.
"I don't know why I did that," said Muse laughing. "I pretty much never do that. I'm glad I was able to make the save on that."
Stransky agreed it was unexpected, "I didn't expect him to do the two-pad stack. I tried to go five hole and he came up with that."
The second period was all Charlotte as the Stars failed to convert on two power play opportunities and allowed two even-strength tallies to Charlotte.
"That's a great [power play] unit we have," said Mueller. "When you take out two caliber players out, it's tough. We haven't had a chance to practice and we've got some new guys in the lineup. I don't want to make excuses but it's tough."
In the second, Zach Boychuk scored his 28th of the season and 3rd against the Stars in six games between the two teams. He rifled it over Jack Campbell from the high slot off the assist from Aaron Palushaj. Two minutes later, Nate Blanchard scored one that seemingly went in through Campbell. The Texas tender had squared to the shot and seemed to have filled up the net so as to make a goal impossible. On replay, it could be seen that Blanchard found twine past Campbell's glove side.
As time wound down in the third period, Chris Mueller appeared to get a break for the Texas Stars as he beat John Muse high glove. The on-ice call was no goal, but it went to review at the next stoppage. The referee confirmed the no goal call as did the replay. The puck grazed the cross bar but didn't make any noise in doing so, a deceiving combination. Texas would not get close again in the period as John Muse ate up everything the Stars had.
"We had some great chances, really good chances especially late," said Desjardins. "Both goaltenders played really well."
Texas allowed an empty net goal as time wound down to seal things at 3-1. The Stars are next in action against the very hot Chicago Wolves in Rosemont this weekend. It's going to be a huge measuring stick for where this team is.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Sceviour, Nilstorp (callup)
Wrenn, Labrie, Morin (scratch)
Travis Morin was out tonight after his wife delivered their second child last night.
Today's attendance was 4,910.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Charlotte - March 12 2014