|Nathan Gerbe beats Landon Bow in overtime|
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Sheldon Dries, who finished the game with a goal and an assist pointed to special teams as a culprit in the loss. “On the PK we need to get those kills and on the power play we need to score goals. It didn’t happen tonight and they got the result.”
The first period featured an abundance of scoring from the first shift. Gerbe ripped his team’s first shot by Landon Bow short side just after a minute into the game. Stars head coach Derek Laxdal weighed in on the flow of the game. “Both teams played a little loose, a little shinny at times. That’s a team over there that’s not going to make the playoffs so there’s no pressure on them.”
The Stars responded a few minutes later when Kelleher cleaned up a rebound that skimmed out to the slot for his first goal in a Texas uniform. The play was initiated by a slick drop pass on the zone entry which led to the initial shot on net.
With half the period gone, the two teams traded shorthanded goals. Dries entombed a puck high into the back of the net where it stayed buried in the twine for his fourth shorthanded goal of the season. “We try to pressure in all situations that we can,” said Dries. “I saw him trying to go far side, and I put my stick in the lane and got a lucky bounce. We capitalized there but let a goal in so it kind of cancels out.”
Cleveland responded with one from winger Jordan Schroeder coming after the Stars had over 30 seconds of 5-on-3. Schroeder finished the game with a goal and a helper. “Our power play has got to score,” said Laxdal of the sequence of play. “When you get a look on the 5-on-3, you’ve got to bury it.”
Alex Broadhurst, assisted by his brother Terry, scored a power play goal with a little over a minute left in the first period to give the Monsters the lead heading into the first intermission.
The Stars couldn’t stay out of penalty trouble in the game, and had amassed six minor penalties with ten minutes left in the second period. They paid the price as Paul Bittner scored after driving the net hard three minutes into the frame. “You could see our guys grasping when we were down 4-2,” opined Laxdal. “We’re taking way too many penalties now and it’s taxing our players on the penalty kill and other players aren’t playing.”
Coming out of second intermission, the Stars played with more of a sense of urgency. Defenseman Reece Scarlett crashed the net net on a chance from Dries and swatted in the rebound to bring the Stars within one. All the good vibes and positive momentum were momentarily dashed by a deflection goal from Hayden Hodgson. The Stars quickly drew a penalty and setup up Travis Morin, who leads the team with 54 points, for a goal on the power play and a chance to tie once again with 14 minutes left in the game.
The Stars drew their fifth penalty of the game with two and a half minutes to go and emptied the chamber on Kivlenieks, putting up several shots when they pulled Bow for the extra attacker. With six seconds left, Roope Hintz scored with his backhand in the top corner.
The teams were tied in shots at 41 at the end of regulation. Gerbe scored his overtime game winner, and second goal of the game, after Hintz and Denis Gurianov’s rush was stymied by Kivlenieks, leading to an easy breakaway for Gerbe. “We talked about staying out of the box in the third period, and we battled back in the third to get the point. We would have liked to grab the second point. It’s a frustrating loss.”
The Stars stay at home for the Manitoba Moose on Saturday evening. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
French, Rallo, Thompson, Paliotta, McKenna (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 4,852.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Cleveland - March 16 2018