Friday, March 4, 2016

Texas Stars' "Spotty Play" Earns Them 4-3 Overtime Loss

Stars lucky to earn a point in lowest-shooting performance of the season
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Texas' acting captain Stephen Johns was the first one to say it, "I don't think we deserved to win." Playing the worst team in the league, Texas let Iowa control the flow of the game and didn't execute on their plan, by their own admission.

Coach Laxdal expanded, "I didn't like a lot of our game tonight. I don't think we played to our potential. There were a lot of opportunities for guys to step up, and there was spotty play. I don't think our best guys were our best guys."

Texas opened the scoring but then found themselves on the back foot after allowing the Wild to score three straight. Goals two and three came in a 35 second span. Former Stars captain Maxime Fortunus sniped one far side on Lagace and ended his night. A frustrated Coach Laxdal told his players on the bench, "If you're not going to play for that guy, play for this guy." He put in Jack Campbell for his first AHL game action since December 19th.

Texas' first period shot total of 3 was the lowest all season for any period and the total of 18 was also a season low.

"They played a tight trap in the neutral zone," said Johns. "It seemed like we didn't have anything, just trying to chip pucks in on the forecheck. They did a good job protecting their net. We have to find a way to get more pucks on the net."

Not helping matters was the loss of Julius Honka in the first period. After a crushing hit by the player entrance door, Honka played a few more shifts but didn't return in the second. The team had dressed Matt Mangene at forward, but he stepped in at defenseman as the legs wore down for the remaining five.

Esa Lindell generated a goal with a dump-in that exemplified the type of play Coach Laxdal wanted his players to focus on moving forward, "muck" goals. Matej Stransky scored off a rebound and got things to a 3-3 tie after the second.

The Stars earned two power plays in the third period but couldn't connect on either, sending things to overtime. Texas was "a little too aggressive on the scoring chance" and gave up an odd-man rush the other way for the game-winner.

Texas plays Manitoba at home tomorrow.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Dickinson-Stransky
Hulak-Dowling-Ranford
Elie-Smith-Troock
Molin-Mangene-Ully

Backman-Honka
Johns-Lindell
Evans-Bystrom

Lagace
Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa, Ritchie (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Morin (injury)
Blacker, Kane (scratch)

Stephen Johns wore the captain's C in Morin's absence.

Julius Honka was injured in the first and is expected to be out tomorrow.

Tonight's attendance was 4,690.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - March 4 2016

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