|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"The first period we had energy but we were sloppy," noted Laxdal. "In the second and third, we lost that energy."
Texas got clogged up in the neutral zone attempting to execute their breakouts, an effective countermeasure deployed by San Diego to combat the speed game that Texas had used to vault to a 3-0 series lead coming into the game.
Curtis McKenzie, who scored a power play goal, added, "We've had success against this team playing north-south hockey and using speed. We tried to get too pretty."
The Gulls limited Texas to just 21 shots on net, far below their season average of nearly 35. Laxdal said, "They didn't give up a lot of scoring chances and when they did, we passed off pucks. I didn't think we played well start to finish."
It seemed like plays were broken up before they started as the Stars looked to force the puck into passing lanes instead of putting it on net.
The aforementioned McKenzie power play goal opened the scoring. The forward snuck out in front from behind the net and deposited his sixth of the year between the legs of Gulls goalie Matt Hackett.
San Diego answered back with a nice deflection play at the net on Philippe Desrosiers. A few minutes later, Harry Zolnierczyk scored on the power play and put the Gulls up 2-1.
Texas traded power plays with the visitors but there was no movement in the score as the neutral zone clogging intensified. Laxdal put the lines "in the blender" in the third to generate chances. It worked.
Matt Mangene broke through the defensive firewall of San Diego with an individual effort that found him behind the net with speed. He dished to Matej Stransky for the tie score.
Less than a minute later, Stefan Noesen, a Texas native, beat Desroisers over the shoulder and restored the Stars' lead. Laxdal noted that the Texas goalie was too deep on the first and third goals of the night. Texas attempted the tying goal with the extra attacker but could not establish the zone to set up.
The Stars get a chance for quick redemption with tomorrow's game against these same Gulls.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Shore, Johns, Dowling, Blacker (injury)
Ully, Kamrass, Muse (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 4,220.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - January 22 2016