|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
"Obviously not what we wanted with the great crowd here," said forward Brandon DeFazio. "We feel like we let everybody down."
Coach Laxdal continued, "It's easy to say that their work ethic was much stronger than ours in most areas of the game. I'm not saying the effort wasn't there but our effort wasn't direct enough."
A rifle of a shot from the left point opened the scoring. Andrew Welinski beat Bow high just two minutes into the contest for the 1-0 lead. The Stars had an excellent chance on the power play just a few minutes later. The arena goal horn and the official's goal light went off, but the refs called Gemel Smith's effort off. It was the correct call with a hard bounce off the inside of the post never crossing the goal line.
San Diego built strength off their early successful penalty kills, two in the first. Coming off the second, the penalized player, Texas native Stefan Noesen, left the box and joined the play as it developed up the ice. After some zone time, Noesen notched the second goal of the night on a rebound in tight.
"I didn't think we handled the penalty kill well. They pressure hard in the zone. We saw it in the playoffs, and they haven't changed it."
Texas pressed hard in the second but came up with just a few posts to show for it. DeFazio assessed, "If we had gotten one at 2-0, maybe the crowd gets into it."
San Diego scored two more in the final frame to set the score at 4-0. Samuels-Thomas had a penalty shot goal, the first penalty shot in a Texas game this season.
Landon Bow stopped 22 of 26 shots. San Diego's Kevin Boyle got his first AHL win and first AHL shutout in the same night with a 22 save effort.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman, Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Stevenson, Fyten (scratch)
Dustin Stevenson should return Saturday. He has been out dealing with a family issue.
Tonight's attendance was 6,538.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - December 29 2016