Friday, May 23, 2014

MacIntyre, Marlies Stymie Texas in 5-1 Win

Toronto goalie stops 49 of 50 Texas shots in first game of Western Finals
MacIntyre stops Mueller's bid (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Texas volleyed 50 shots on Toronto Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre and he had the answer for all but one in the opening contest of the Western Conference Finals tonight in Cedar Park.

"He played good," said Chris Mueller, who had Texas' lone goal in the loss. "We need to penetrate more. We had a lot of shots from the outside. We gave them grade A chances and a lot of our chances weren't. When you give them those, they're going to score."

In the game, the Marlies were outshot 50-19 overall and 21-4 in the final frame as the Stars tried to dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole to start the period.

The game hinged on a 13 second sequence in the middle frame. Toronto scored twice in quick succession to put the game out of reach for the Stars.

Mueller continued, "We had huge mistakes end up in the back of our net."

"They had good structure," agreed Coach Desjardins. "We turned it over twice. You have to give them credit on their structure. That's why we turned it over and you have to give them credit."

The Stars would get a late power play goal from Mueller but it wasn't enough as two empty netters made a close game look like a blowout with a 5-1 final.

With the win, Toronto moves to a perfect 8-0 in the playoffs. They have yet to trail in any game in that stretch either. Texas suffered its first home loss of the postseason as well.

Texas and Toronto opened the game with quick back and forth action. The Marlies went up 1-0 early off an individual effort. Following a 2-on-1 rush that Texas fended off, Toronto held the zone. As the Stars tried to clear, they coughed it up to Brandon Kozun, who picked the top left corner on Nilstorp.

Texas had a shorthanded chance that almost went just a few minute later. Brendan Ranford just missed on completing the 2-on-1 with Travis Morin. Often-frantic sequences in front of MacIntyre came up empty for Texas. Rebounds were there, but the defense was clearing the out with facility.

It was clear throughout the period that physical play was going to be a much bigger part of this series than any prior. Mueller posited it was "like any other playoff game." However, the action certainly seemed amped up from the Griffins series.

An ill-advised offensive zone penalty for inteference put Texas on the power play. Just as it began, it ended with T.J. Brennan blasting a shot through Cristopher Nilstorp. Dustin Jeffrey appeared to have a stick on the shot but his twig snapped in his hand, betraying him and the team as Toronto took the 2-0 lead.

Just 13 seconds later, a pass from the corner across the slot by a Texas defenseman ended up on the stick of Peter Holland, who scored to make it 3-0.

The Stars put up a good showing through the final 33 minutes, but it was all Drew MacIntyre. The vet goalie put on a show. Despite his sometimes haphazard style, it would require a two-man advantage before Texas could penetrate the PEI native's defenses.

Down 3-0 in the third, Texas pulled Cristopher Nilstorp with over eight minutes remaining. Texas played with six men for over four minutes before it yielded a goal. Mueller scored on the power play to break up the shutout. The Stars continued with an empty net with the score now at 3-1. Two empty net goals, including one shorthanded empty netter, set the final score at 5-1.

Coach Desjardins summarized the night, "Some nights it just doesn't go, and that's the way it is. It's not like we weren't ready. We were. You have to give them credit. We'll be ready the next game."

That next game is Monday in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Glennie-Jeffrey-Hedden
Henderson-Mueller-Ritchie
Hulak-Faksa-Stransky

Jokipakka-Nemeth
Gaunce-Fortunus
Meech-Oleksiak

Nilstorp

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Peters, Vause, Wrenn, Byström (scratched)
Klingberg, Dowling, Campbell, Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was 4,693.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Toronto - May 23 2014

11 comments:

  1. Forget Disney on Ice... where was the scoreboard?! It's the conference finals for crying out loud and they ditched the scoreboard for Disney! Sickening. Totally ruined the crowd excitement and level of fan interaction in the building.

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  2. It was great to see Max play so great...he was a great asset to the team. Just wish we could have pulled together in front of the net better.

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  3. Texas had many good scoring chances but couldn't seem to get it in the net. Passing was as bad as I've seen it all this year, to many passes to a "spot" that the Marlies ate up. I think Texas played hard but just not good. Nils had a poor game and MacIntyre played great, hard to make up the difference. The Marlies look like a bad matchup for the Stars, the Marlies rely on a lot of grit and never let a Star get by them without some contact. I really couldn't figure out why more interference calls were called, not blaming the officiating but I saw a ton of plays that could of been called interference. I said going into the playoff that the Stars should roster a tough guy for the run and this might be the series that catches up with them. The Stars don't back down but that's not going to be enough in this series. They need someone to make the Marlies scan the ice for, and that guy isn't on our roster.

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    1. Agree that the stars had plenty of chances, and they were the type of chances that this team usually puts away. Way to many neutral zone turnovers for the Stars. The good news is that it was only one game and it's not like this team hasn't proven the ability to rattle off a bunch of wins in a row, either at home or on the road. As for the physical play, if the Stars win Monday and this series ultimately plays out for a while, some of the physical play after the whistle will settle down as neither team will be able to take unnecessary penalties in the later games of this series. If the Stars continue to out-play the Marlies on the offensive side like they did last night, they will be fine. You won't see this team score only once on 50 shots very often. That should be very concerning to Toronto.

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  4. 2 ill-timed giveaways and 2 empty netters. That was the difference between 5-1 and 1-1. Toronto D was outstanding but Texas should come out of that game knowing that things can be easily corrected.

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    1. I hope the Stars look at it like the score was 1-5 and not 1-1, just about all goals happen due to some sort of breakdown and they can happen again and again if taken lightly. Stars should feel humbled and be embarrassed because they got their arses kicked at home in a big game. If the Stars go on to win the series handily we can say the adjustments were easy, but as for now they dug themselves a hole and need to work twice as hard as the Marlies just to get even. I don't really define "twice as hard" as "easily" at this moment though.

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  5. I was disappointed to see only 4,700 people there with a 7:30 start on a Friday night. It's the playoffs! Also, the missing JumboTron made this feel like a glorified practice. Very little crowd energy or engagement.

    Hey - also, I saw a ton of fans wearing the camo jerseys. Any way to buy these?

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    1. Playoff attendance is always bad for pretty much every team everywhere. The team has a matter of days to market and distribute and there are essentially no season tickets. I long ago stopped bothering to note attendance in the playoffs.

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    2. Also they can't give away free tickets after round 1. That hurts attendance.

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  6. Re: "essentially no season tickets"

    I am a newbie fan to hockey, but after going to two games this year (vs. rampage and season home closer), I am kinda hooked. I love the fans, the energy, and all the great seats in CPC. I was thinking of getting a season ticket package for next year - maybe a 12 or 24 game package. Are there not many season ticket holders? Will I have my pick of seats? Where would you all recommend sitting? I usually like the offfense side corner but was even thinking about glass seats. How hard is it to get season tickets?

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    1. It's not hard to get a season ticket package for the Stars. We have a 24 game package for our seats and it's a nice mix of plenty of games to go see but not as demanding on our time as a full season package. Even with the 24 games package you can have your seats for all of the playoff games. As far as where to sit, it's all personal preference. While it is a lot of fun to sit on the glass, I don't like the overall view of the ice from there. I prefer to sit up higher and get a better view. Whatever you like most is what you should do. I think that there are a decent number of season ticket holders here because I see many of the same people each game around where I sit. That said, you won't have a problem finding seats that fit your needs. Hopefully there will be many more like you that get hooked on the fun of being out at these games. It would be a good thing for the Stars to continue to be able to build on this season and grow their season ticket holder fan base.

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