Stars Offense Sputters in 2-1 Loss to Chicago

Goals were hard to come by for a Texas Stars team that lost 2-1 to the visiting Chicago Wolves on Friday night. The Stars scored first and mostly dictated play in the first half of the contest but were done in by two unanswered Wolves goals.

“We really didn't sustain the same pressure that we had in the second period,” said head coach Neil Graham. “And, you know, we had a few few looks, but it wasn't enough to get tied up.”

Those looks mostly came in the form of several back door plays that just didn’t connect on a night when the Stars were searching for offense. Michael Mersch had one in the first period he couldn’t put a stick on. Joel Kiviranta also fanned on a wide open net in the third period when the Stars trailed by a goal.

(credit: Texas Stars)

“You gotta create your own chances and you're getting some luck. So maybe we just got to bear down; and it's important to go through these games because everyone's tightening up everyone's playing more detailed hockey through the second half, and that's just reality.”

The Stars started on a positive note seven minutes and change into the first period on a tremendous offensive zone possession. They played hot potato for several precision passes, and Tye Felhaber found Gavin Bayreuther at the blue line for a brilliant look.

“Tye gave me so much time there,” said Bayreuther. “I think it's anything man's dream to build a walk down Broadway like that. And I mean, I've been shooting a lot of pucks and finally one was able to go in so it feels good.”

The second period was basically zero sum hockey as the Stars mostly kept things in control and tried to strike when they were given chances in the flow of their offense. With the period winding down and the Stars looking to keep their lead heading into second intermission, they coughed up the puck in the neutral zone.

Infamous Stars killer Brandon Pirri left no doubt on the breakaway goal, an absolute gut punch for the Stars with 23 seconds left in the middle frame. “It's unfortunate to give that one up late with a breakaway and kind of give them a shot at that point in the period,” said Graham.

The Stars took a quick penalty in the third period that gave the Wolves a power play early. Wolves defender Jimmy Schuldt fired an absolute missle from the left circle, a one timer that beat Jake Oettinger over the left shoulder to give the Wolves the lead for good.

Bayreuther suggested that the team had played well enough to win but didn’t get the desired result. “I love the way we played we were having so much fun out there,” he said. “It was unlucky at the end [of the second period] to get a little breakaway cherry pick. Unfortunately, we came out in the third they got another one and we just weren't able to battle back and get another goal.”

The Stars could’ve used a big two points in the standings after battling through a tough schedule as of late but will have to settle for salvaging the two-game set tomorrow.

“It's obviously a lot of hockey [left], right?” offered Graham. “So you know, we'll have a break [next week] to heal up and then recover So it's important that we stay present, stay focused on tomorrow.”

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Cuglietta, MacKay, Gleason, McClure (scratch)
Mascherin (injury)

Tonight’s attendance was 5,627.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - January 24 2020