|(Credit: Taylor Sammarco/Texas Stars)|
"The story of the game was that we had to chase it right off the hop," said Texas head coach Derek Laxdal. "I gave the guys a little blast after the first. I thought they played really well in the second and third."
Texas leaned hard on Landon Bow, playing in back-to-back nights. He stopped 31 of 33 against him tonight across 65 minutes of work.
"He's in his groove right now and we know it," said Nicholas Caamano. "It allows us to play loose. He's playing great hockey, so we have to keep it rolling for him."
The shootout loss did earn Texas a point, their eighth straight home game with points (15 total points in the stretch). Laxdal noted, "We've got some tough road trips coming up, so we have to make as much hay as we can at home."
The Stars started with a bout of bad luck in their own end. With Bow swimming in his crease, Robbie Payne picked up the puck to clear it out of the crease and got a bad deflection off Logan Shaw and into the net for an own goal. As you can see below, it was just a bad luck play.
Texas got outshot 11-5 in the first period and didn't seem to have the oomph that they've had in their game this entire home streak. The second period rectified that quickly. Through the first half of the second frame, Manitoba managed just two shots on goal as Texas poured it on. Niklas Hansson got his third of the year to open the scoring for the Stars after a great keep and shot at the blue line. He drifted down to the hashes and tied the contest.
Nicholas Caamano shifted up the lineup for the second, slotting in with Justin Dowling and Denis Gurianov. It paid off as he scored the go-ahead goal in the final few minutes of the period. A hard deflection off a shot block by Manitoba came right to the rookie's skate for an easy backhand. "It was nice to finally get one there. Heatherington just got a puck through and I found it in my feet."
With less than five to go, the Moose floated one out to Peter Stoykewych at the right point. It was a play Texas had discussed in the locker room, but one that they missed on the execution this time. It burned them as Stoykewych scored his fourth of the season on a seeing-eye shot that hit a few players on the way in.
"That one definitely sucks," said Caamano. "We talked about that play, and we've got to be better there, especially with five to go."
Overtime gave Texas an excellent chance early as the Stars got a power play. Laxdal called their efforts with the man advantage "clunky" in the game overall. It took five rounds in the shootout with Colton Hargrove notching the only goal for Texas in round two.
Texas returns to the ice on Wednesday against Bakersfield.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Nyberg, Phelan, Naas (scratch)
James Phelan was loaned to Idaho before tonight's game.
Tonight’s attendance was 6,863, a sellout.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Manitoba - January 5 2019