|Max French (Credit: Texas Stars)
"When you take out McKenzie, Dickinson, and [Brian Flynn and Justin Dowling], you're on an island offensively," said Coach Laxdal. "Bow gave us a chance. We had some looks. The guys worked hard for the thin group that we had. It was as tough loss because our guys battled hard."
The Stars were not happy with the officiating in game, primarily a disallowed goal in the second period that would have put them up 2-1. The no-goal call came after Texas had been the only team called for any penalties up to that point.
"That disallowed goal should have been a goal. Laberge got cross checked into the net. If it's a disallowed goal, why isn't there a penalty call on the play for the cross check? And if there's no penalty, then it should be an allowed goal. There was no sign on the ice. I'm not sure what the ruling on the ice was."
The Stars also didn't get any power play calls late in the game when they felt they were working hard to earn them with their skating.
"That's something we really have no control over," said Max French, who scored the lone Texas goal in his return to the lineup. "Yes, we didn't get the calls we wanted tonight, but we have to take everything in stride and continue to play hard."
Texas opened the scoring midway through the first period after a series of frenetic play that went end to end. Max French, playing in his first game since being recalled from Idaho, stole the puck from a Wolves defender at the Stars blueline and took off running. A deft pass found Austin Fyten, who dished it back to French for the goal.
"Fyten made a great play. We had a good rush, and Laberge was driving the net. Fyten made a good move and was able to hit me backdoor."
The joy was short-lived as Brandon Pirri tied things up less than a minute later. He waited out a play at the end and collected the rebound on a shot by TJ Tynan. Landon Bow had committed hard to following Tynan on the play and when the puck came out to Pirri, Bow had no chance on it. After the first period, the teams were tied with the shots in Chicago's favor 11-9.
The Stars appeared to have a go-ahead goal shortly thereafter on the aforementioned disallowed goal. Sam Laberge ended up on top of Kasimir Kaskisuo, and the Stars rifled it into the empty net. There was no signal on the ice, but it was called no goal after review.
For Chicago, Brandon Pirri wasn't done yet, as the Stars took their fifth penalty of the game late in the middle frame. Pirri whipped the puck in past Bow on the ensuing power play.
"[Playoff hockey] doesn't mean the whistles are put away," said Laxdal, upset with the lack of penalty calls on the Wolves. "If a team is working hard for a call, you have to reward them for putting the work in. It was 1-1 and they got a power play and the penalty was a horrible call. It was a counterbump in the corner. Their bench yelled, and the referee got intimidated by them."
The Stars took a 2-1 deficit to the third period.
Chicago went into a shell and only had one shot on Landon Bow in the period. Texas pulled Bow and allowed two empty net goals to set the score at 4-1. The third period's three shots ties the lowest ever in a period against the Stars, set earlier this year against San Antonio.
Texas is in San Antonio tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dickinson (call up)
McParland, Scarlett, O'Brien (scratch)
Flynn, Dowling, McKenzie (injured)
Tonight's attendance was 6,513.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - March 3 2018