Friday, December 11, 2015

Loss of Devin Shore Looms Large in Texas Stars 5-4 OT Loss

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Regardless of the outcome of the game on the scoresheet, tonight's contest might have reverberations on the rest of the season for the Texas Stars. The game, a 5-4 overtime loss for the home team, saw a significant injury to a key player for Texas.

In the third period, Devin Shore, the Stars' leading scorer, was upended and fell to the ice in a lot of pain. He left holding his right elbow to support his arm and did not return. Coach Laxdal put his timeline at a 4-6 week minimum, possibly more depending on the diagnosis.

Shore, who was definitely garnering consideration for the All-Star game, sees his season come to a sudden pause.

As to the other 17 skaters on the ice, Texas played a very familiar game to many of their recent home contests. Enough scoring to win the game but mistakes that bit them at the wrong times.

Laxdal noted, "When you're in a rut like this, every time you make a mistake you get stung. It's too good of a league to make the same mistakes. When things aren't going great for your team, you find ways to lose."

Texas opened the scoring with Julius Honka's third of the year, a nice back door finish of a Stransky pass. The Stars then ceded the next three to Charlotte before the end of the first. Jack Campbell was pulled for John Muse, and the frame ended at 3-2 Checkers after Radek Faksa tipped a Ludwig Bystrom shot for the Stars' second goal.

Laxdal made the decision to put Campbell back in for the second.

"We did a lot of good things in the first period but we made three mistakes they capitalized on. A couple of the goals I don't fault Jack on.

"We had to make a statement to the team, you can't just pull your goaltender and blame it on them. We put him back and challenged the guys to stick up for the goaltender."

Julius Honka said Texas responded to the call, "We talked about it in the first intermission. We know we can play better, and we came back."

Within six seconds in the middle frame, the Stars tied and went up on the Checkers thanks to goals from their Czech duo. Faksa went first at 12:33 and Matej Stransky scored off the ensuing faceoff at 12:39.

Given the final result though, Faksa was very focused on defense in his postgame comments, "We have to have better defense. We have to help Jack more around the net."

The Stars killed a 5-on-3 at the midpoint of the third and looked like they had the momentum to carry them to victory. Brock McGinn stifled that notion after breaking free in the slot and putting in a pass from behind the goal line on Campbell for the 4-4 tie.

Going to overtime, Stephen Johns took a delay of game penalty with just 8 seconds left in regulation. Texas started the OT on the PK.

"We had a chance to clear it," said Laxdal. "When you don't clear it on [a penalty], it usually comes back to sting you. One of our defensemen got caught out of position. That's usually what happens when you can't get the puck out."

Brock McGinn finished off a hat trick with a one-timer on the backdoor in OT.

The Stars get a chance for redemption pretty quickly with tomorrow's game against Stockton.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Shore
Dickinson-Faksa-Elie
Ranford-Dowling-Ritchie
Hulak-Rallo-Stransky

Lindell-Johns
Bystrom-Evans
Backman-Honka

Campbell
Muse

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Troock (injury)
Blacker, Mangene, Kane (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,746.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Charlotte - December 11 2015

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