Rough Second Period Sinks Texas in 5-4 Loss to Moose

The Texas Stars got their first look at the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday night in a 5-4 loss. Balanced scoring was a bright spot for the Stars as Roope Hintz, Joel L’Esperance, James Phelan, and Colton Hargrove all scored a goal, but a poor second period in which they allowed three at even strength was their undoing.

“Overall, in sixty minutes I thought we did things that we try to do as a team,” said Stars head coach Derek Laxdal. “I thought we had a couple of good looks, but when we had a couple breakdowns defensively in the second period, they stung us.”
(credit: Andy Nietupski)
In his first postgame interview as the newly-minted Stars captain, veteran center Justin Dowling was quick to shoulder blame with his line registering a minus four in scoring differential.

“I think it was won and lost on my line,” said Dowling. “If we had a better game and were better defensively. It seemed like every time we gave something up to them they were scoring on it. We gotta be better than that.”

The opening frame saw the Stars get off to a rough start when Moose winger Seth Griffith crashed the net to dislodge a loose puck from beneath Landon Bow six and a half minutes into the contest. It was a bad goal for Bow to allow considering he had position and was waiting for the whistle that never came.

The first period goal was an area of concern for Laxdal. “That’s two games in a row when we’ve given up a bad goal on the first shot of the game. That’s something that we have to address with our goaltender. He’s gotta be focused on it and ready to go.”

The Stars responded by outshooting the Moose the rest of the period and getting the tying goal on their second power play chance. Hintz’s goal came on a deflection from Dowling giving Hintz his ninth point in eight games. Not to be overlooked was the impressive offensive zone keep by L’Esperance as he batted the puck down out of the air on a clearing attempt. If he let it go, it surely would’ve resulted in the Moose going back to even strength.

L’Esperance put another stamp on the game less than two minutes into the second period when he netted his seventh goal of the year. He finished short side high on Eric Comrie after a nifty drop pass from Adam Mascherin.

Dowling was encouraged by the play of some of the younger players. “I love the fact that when the older guys aren’t going there’s still some depth in that locker room that’s gonna get the job done. We weren’t at our best, but [the young players were] there to pick us up and we still had a chance at the end.”

Moose forward Logan Shaw had been hunting a goal since he caught the post in the first period after a putrid Stars turnover. Eventually the scoring came in spades for 2011 Florida Panthers draft pick. He cashed in on one nearly halfway through the game to tie the score at two after he streaked across the blue paint and scooted his first goal past Bow. It was the first instance of a tough stretch of play by Bow in which he allowed three goals in the frame on only a handful of shots.

“That’s a hard forechecking team,” said Laxdal of Manitoba. “They’re physical. I think they play to their strengths. They’re not overly offensive but they create goals by turnovers and pressure.”

The Stars countered Shaw’s first goal on the very next shift as the fourth line got on their horse and rushed the offensive zone, setting up Phelan for his point blank marker. The momentum was short-lived, however. Less than two minutes later, the Moose won an offensive zone draw and Kristian Vesalainen roofed one cleanly past Bow to knot the game up again. Shaw nabbed his second point of the game with his primary helper.

Topping off his three point night, Shaw then one timed a sweet feed from behind the net via JC Lipon, giving him his second goal four minutes later.

Moose winger Skyler McKenzie sealed the deal a few minutes later with an easy finish off of a tic tac toe set-up. Hargrove’s 6-on-5 goal with just over three minutes left in the contest made the Moose sweat. Dowling was complimentary of the DFW native: “[Hargrove’s] been hot.”

The Stars had the building buzzing for the final two minutes with their net empty once again and occupied the offensive zone for a few golden chances. Comrie had just enough in the tank to eke out the win.

“It’s a pretty exciting five minutes when you pull the goalie with five minutes, you’re down two and you get one with about three minutes left,” said Laxdal. “We had about two or three outstanding looks to tie the game up. Give Comrie some credit for making some big saves at a big time in the game.”

The Stars will be back at it against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday evening at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Mersch (lower body)
Hanna, Payne, Hansson (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 3,715.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Manitoba - November 14 2018


  1. Unless they disallowed that last goal, it was a 5-4 loss.


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