|Stars captain Maxime Fortunus works the puck while Patrick Holland forces the issue. (Credit: Josh Rasmussen/Texas Stars)|
"I'm at a loss for words right now," said Travis Morin, who had the Stars only goal. "There were plenty of opportunities for us to score the rest of the game. We couldn't find a way; they did."
Cristopher Nilstorp started his first game back from injury and had a shutout going into the fifty-third minute of the game with Texas leading 1-0.
"We haven't given up the lead in the third for a long time," said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. "We've done it in back to back nights. We can't do that."
The Stars kept their forward lines much the same tonight but scratched three of the seven defenseman they had dressed yesterday in favor of others.
"We could use [chemistry] as an excuse, but it's not that. Other teams are good. We had our chances; we just didn't put it away."
Morin added, "[Hamilton] had nothing to lose, and they played that way."
Texas and Hamilton battled to a scoreless first period. The highlight of the period was Luke Gazdic's fight with Zack Stortini, who had checked the Texas left winger into the bench on the prior shift. It was a full-out helmets off dust up. The Stars outshot Hamilton 9-5 in the period.
The power play came alive in the second after not getting a chance in last night's game. Travis Morin described the scoring play in post game.
"I think we drew them in. We got them down tight and got it to the point. We put a shot to the net, and Sceviour was able to get it to the backside."
From there, it was an easy tap in for the Stars' veteran centerman for the 1-0 lead.
With a 14-7 shot advantage in the period, Texas looked in control of the game despite the tight score. As the game wore on, missed power play opportunities ate away at that confidence. The Stars had trouble getting into the zone and setting up to generate shots. When they did, the rebounds were cleared out effectively and quickly by the Bulldogs PK unit.
"Our power play wasn't sharp enough," intoned Desjardins.
Killing a penalty of their own late, Texas got caught in their own zone for over a minute. Travis Morin exiting the box did nothing to alleviate the Dogs' pressure and the dam burst, with Patrick Holland scoring his tenth of the year.
"We got tired at the end of the power play," said Desjardins.
The goal gave Hamilton confidence and life. They surely heard of what happened at the Cedar Park Center last night and didn't give in through the final six minutes. With 24.5 seconds left, Texas ceded the go-ahead goal off a low wrap that Desjardins conceded was "a little bit of a breakdown." The goal was the first professional tally for Charles Hudon in just his second pro game.
The deflating goal sent Texas to the showers at 89 points, still a top the West but now surpassed for the overall point lead by Providence out East. The Stars will attempt to salvage their three-in-three weekend with a road game in San Antonio, one of three remaining on the schedule.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Fraser, Chiasson (call up)
Tousignant, Cameron, Sneep, Montgomery, Oleksiak, Commodore, Morrow (scratch)
Texas closes the season series against Hamilton 0-2 with the loss.
Tonight's attendance was 5,736.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Hamilton - April 6 2013