Sunday, March 17, 2019

Stars Cede Ground in Playoff Race, Lose 2-1 to Rockford

The three-game road trip ended with a thud for the Texas Stars as they fell to the Rockford IceHogs 2-1 on Sunday. The loss dropped the Stars to fifth in the Central and vaulted the IceHogs to that coveted fourth and final playoff spot. Rockford also has two games in hand on the Stars.

(credit: Rockford IceHogs)
It wasn’t for lack of effort that the Stars lost. They outshot their competition 35-25 and just couldn’t connect on several of their key chances. Perhaps it was the lineup situation as the Stars were forced to go with eleven forward and seven defenseman with an ailing Nick Caamano removed the mix.

Rockford goaltender Anton Forsberg was stellar as was Phil Desrosiers, who did more than enough to win the game. Desrosiers’s biggest save came in the first five minutes of the game when he stoned Will Pelletier on a breakaway.

The IceHogs got the benefit of some puck luck to open the scoring nearly fourteen minutes into the first period. The puck hit the linesman and found the slot where it was pushed in by Alexandre Fortin. Desrosiers got the pad on it but his backward momentum with his leg pushed the puck across the line.

Denis Gurianov answered two and a half minutes later when he tipped in Colin Markison’s shot, both tying the game and tying his career high in goals with nineteen. Rockford winger Andreas Martinsen gave his team the lead once again a few shifts later when he buried one off a rebound. Moments before, he missed on a wide open net on a back door play.

Speaking of open nets, the Stars had a handful that they couldn’t capitalize on in the second period. One power play opportunity gave them several chances when Forsberg was swimming around, but they weren’t able to pull the trigger at key moments.

Gurianov, Brad McClure, and Justin Dowling all with point blank chances in the middle frame that could’ve swung the game had they gone in. The second period is also where the Stars made their biggest push, outshooting the IceHogs 14-5 in the stanza.

The Stars drew the lone penalty of the third period, forcing a delay of game call with a hard and desperate forecheck with less than five minutes to go in regulation. Again, the chances were there, but the Stars failed to capitalize. Dowling had the best chance, but it hit the crossbar.

The Stars will head back to Cedar Park for Wednesday’s game against Grand Rapids.

Tonight's lines:
Mersch-Dowling-Condra
Markison-Morin-Gurianov
Mascherin-Hargrove-McClure
Phelan-Calderone

Heatherington-Hansson
Bayreuther-Hanley
Nyberg-Gleason
Hanna

Desrosiers

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Caamano (lower body)
Payne (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 3,110.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - March 17 2019

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