|Richard Bachman (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"That seems to be a common trend with us right now," said Ryan Button, who had a goal in the game. "It happened in Charlotte; we got spanked pretty good the night after playing a good game. Same thing tonight. For whatever reason we didn't have it tonight. That's unacceptable."
The Stars never had the lead and tied the game several times only to give up a Barons' goal less than a minute later. Former Texas goalie and tonight's starter for OKC, Richard Bachman, was encouraged to see that response from his skaters.
"That's huge for me and the group right now. At the beginning of the year, we would get back on our heels after a goal. It's good to see us respond after a goal."
The Stars had trouble stringing together more than one pass and getting out of their own zone on the breakout. Ryan Button agreed and extended the point.
"We didn't play Texas Stars hockey for sixty minutes. We played it in spurts, and we were really good in those spurts. When we were just slapping the puck around, that's not Texas Stars hockey. We won't succeed if we play that way."
Coach Desjardins had a more blunt assessment of the night, "They just beat us tonight. They were the better team, and they beat us. We have to find ways to be better."
OKC opened the scoring on the power play after Texas had failed to convert on two early chances of their own. Ryan Hamilton scored his seventh of the year, assisted by Anton Lander and Mark Arcobello, off a pretty tic-tac-toe play just after the power play began.
Ryan Button's goal came late in the period. It was his first as a forward in the AHL. It was a grinding shift for the fourth line, tonight comprised of Button, Taylor Peters and Francis Wathier.
"It's been a long time coming up front," said Button. "I owe a lot to my linemates."
OKC jumped right back into the lead with former Star Austin Fyten's first goal of the season. The puck angled in off the post and Nilstorp for the 2-1 lead just 25 seconds after Button's goal.
Texas got back to even again to open the second as Mike Hedden got pasted along the boards and popped right back up to score from the right wing circle. Again, Matt Ford this time would score for the Barons just 58 seconds later to make it 3-2 OKC. It was a dribbler five-hole and one that Nilstorp should have had.
"The whole game they were a step ahead of us. The shift where you get the goal is huge, but the shift after that is even bigger. It's unacceptable."
Brett Ritchie potted his ninth of the season just over a minute later to tie the game against at three. The glove-side high shot actually stuck on the scoreboard for a while. This time it took the Barons an entire seven minutes to regain the lead.
OKC would close the door with two quick goals in less than a minute in the middle of the second frame. Roman Horak put one off the post and past Nilstorp to be followed by Will Acton scoring off a Texas turnover to make it 5-3.
"It went through my mind a couple of times [to pull Nilstorp] but I think we were giving them good chances," said Desjardins. "If you take the goaltender, that's blaming him. Our guys have to bail themselves out."
Brad Hunt added one more late in the third on the power play to set the score after forty at 6-3. Each club would add another goal in the third period, McKenzie for Texas and Arcobello for OKC.
In total, Texas volleyed 45 shots on Bachman to 32 against Nilstorp.
"I noticed they had a lot of shots last night," said Bachman. "I was expecting it and just expecting to stay calm and control some rebounds and the pace of the game out there."
The Stars will face OKC again on Tuesday with a chance still to get to first place with a win.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Stransky, Labrie, Montgomery (scratch)
Petersen, Nemeth, Campbell, Vause (injury)
Tonight's attendance was 3,916.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Oklahoma City - February 2 2014