|(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)|
"[Grand Rapids was] kind of like us last night," noted Coach Derek Laxdal. "They battled through the first ten minutes and got going. We battled through the first ten last night and then we got going."
Morin's goal came at the 11 minute mark of the first, assisted by Curtis McKenzie and a nice below the goal line pass by Niklas Hansson. It seemed that Texas was ready to keep rolling but the goal woke up the Griffins, who struck back two minutes later on a goal that was initially reviewed but counted.
"I feel like it was a closer game than 5-1," said Morin. "We had a lot of chances to score and a lot of the stuff we gave up was stuff we can fix and clean up."
Indeed all night it seemed like Texas was just missing by that much. Passing, defensive coverage and more were off by just enough. Grand Rapids is a good team and they took advantage.
"We basically shot ourselves in the foot," said Laxdal. "We have to be a little more poised with our play with and without the puck. We're paying the full price for our mistakes. Last night we got away with it and tonight we didn't."
Grand Rapids would score another before the period was over, a 2-on-1 marker, and that would stand as the game-winning goal. They would add another off a Texas turnover midway through the second to make it 3-1.
Texas had a handful of power play opportunities but was unable to replicate the success they had earlier in the week in San Diego. "Our big guys have to score on the power play. When you don't score on the power play, the other team gains momentum, and they rode that to the finish line tonight."
The Stars had a few solid chances, but Jared Coreau was up to the task. The ultimate kick in the teeth came as Texas struggled to break out of their own zone and ended up with a defensive zone faceoff on the power play. Matt Ford collected a faceoff win and threw it on net for the 4-1 goal.
Landon Bow would relieve Mike McKenna to start the third, which was mostly a quiet period. Eric Tangradi pierced Bow for his only goal against on a shot that Bow had initially but couldn't get to the rebound on.
Despite being a bit thin right now with injury and call ups, Texas believes they have the ability to compete and win in games like this. Morin added, "We just need to clean up some things in the D zone a bit. Coming back into the zone. We had a couple 2-on-1s we need to clean up a bit, how we're covering it. I'm sure we'll touch on everything [in practice this week] and clean it up a bit."
Texas faces San Antonio at home on Wednesday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Elie, Dickinson (call up)
Gurianov, Rallo, McNeill, Scarlett (scratch)
Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch tonight, but it was "not related to his play." No elaboration was offered.
Tonight's attendance was 6,468.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Grand Rapids - November 11 2017