Stars can't overcome sloppy first period, lose to Rivermen 6-3

Somehow the Stars just can't get over the hump to beat the Rivermen in regulation. Despite holding a far superior record, Texas continues to struggle against Peoria. It's like they are the team's Kryptonite.

Luke Gazdic made his presence felt early in a good fight against Peluso at 4:01. The early fight got the crowd into it but the series of plays to shortly follow took the crowd right out.

The Stars let the first one of the night in on a tricky play. Matt Stephenson tried to pinch in to keep the puck in along the boards in the offensive zone. It was mishandled and bounced right to a Peoria player, creating a 3-on-1 against Andrew Hutchinson. Yan Stastny would put it home to make it 1-0.

Just three minutes later, a quick pass from Cracknell behind the net to the crease area led to a goal by Sonne, 2-0. Less than two minutes after that at 11:34, Drazenovic slapped one from the point that ended up in the net. That would be the end of Matt Climie's night, after allowing 3 goals on 6 shots.

Todd Ford would go in to try and stop the bleeding, but it didn't really help. Just two shots later, Ford allowed the 4th goal of the night, only Ford's first, from Pascal Pelletier. If you're keeping track, that's 4 goals on 8 shots against.

The Stars would own the second period. They took the score to 4-1 on some great teamwork by their top line. Greg Rallo scored his 16th of the year when Travis Morin fed him a backhand pass to the right side as they were both bearing down on Ben Bishop. Bishop had already committed to Morin and no one was covering Rallo.

Only two minutes later, the Stars would score again, this time on the power play. Travis Morin's 12th goal of the year got the building back into it now that we were within striking distance of the Rivermen. The Stars had a spirited penalty kill to close out the second including two breakaway chances, by Aaron Gagnon and Mathieu Beaudoin. Neither resulted in a shorthanded goal.

The Rivermen put one more nail in the coffin at 8:08 of the third. Garrett Stafford had a tough time clearing the puck after falling down stopping in the corner. As he flailed at the puck trying to clear it, it ended up on a Peoria stick and Cracknell buried it for a 5-2 lead.

Five minutes later, Stafford would get it back though. He seemingly wasted a slapshot at the net from the point. The rising shot caught Ben Bishop by surprise and beat him over the shoulder making it 5-3. I think everyone in the building was surprised to see it go in.

The Stars gave it one last try and pulled Ford at 1:32 trailing by two. Tallackson would finish off the Stars with an empty net goal from the Rivermen zone to make it 6-3.

The Stars just came out completely flat tonight. There was no passing game to speak of and they spent most of the game in their own zone. There were flashes of offensive brilliance but nothing seemed to go in when it needed to go in.

The Stars face the Rivermen again tomorrow night, and as usual I will have an abbreviated gameday preview for the back-to-back.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Ludwig (scratched)
Peters and Sawada (call up)

Matt Climie was pulled tonight at the 11:34 mark of the first period after allowing 3 goals on the first 6 shots. That gives him a 15.56 GAA for tonight's game. Ouch.

The Stars have no scratches at forward with Sawada and Peters out in Dallas. Word is that Modano might be playing tomorrow and Ribeiro could be playing on Tuesday. Brian Sutherby is also expected to be back in the lineup next week. We may see Sawada, Peters or both back in Austin by next weekend.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Peoria - February 5 2010