|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
In need of significant points on this seven-games-in-eleven-day stint, Texas came up short this evening against Rockford. Texas scored late to earn a point in extra time but could not score in overtime or the shootout to earn the second.
The Stars got a number of players back in the lineup. Landon Bow backed up Jake Oettinger after missing a pair last week with injury. Nick Caamano played his first since February 4th, also due to injury. Finally, Justin Dowling's return to the Texas Stars saw him add two assists, helping on both of the Stars' goals.
It was a match between two of the worst penalty killing teams in the league, but neither is exactly stellar on the power play. Texas outmatched the Hogs on special team, scoring twice on four attempts and stopping all five Rockford power plays. Despite that, they were unable to capitalize due to momentary lapses in their defense that cost them.
The power play was the source of Texas's first goal as Joel L'Esperance went vintage and did the turnaround roof shot in tight to Collin Delia's net. Dowling had the first assist and Jason Robertson joined him on the scoresheet.
Gabriel Gagne scored a pair next to push the visitors ahead. Ben Gleason got beat 1-on-1 by Gagne and somehow found a gap on Jake Oettinger as he clung to the right post. He went again on a 2-on-1 after Reece Scarlett lost the puck at the point and created the rush the other way. Gagne went shot all the way and beat Oettinger high glove.
L'Esperance continued his hot night in the third, finishing off a rebound of Gavin Bayreuther's initial shot on the power play to tie the game at two.
Texas would have the best two chances of the overtime frame, both coming from Ben Gleason, but no one would score for either side. In the shootout, all four shooters for Texas couldn't beat Collin Delia. Dylan Sikura was the only scorer for Rockford.
By earning the point, Texas basically tread water in the playoff race, staying in seventh. The Stars play the IceHogs again on Friday night.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McClure, Felhaber, MacKay, Vala (scratch)
Mascherin (season-ending injury)
Tonight’s attendance was 4,753.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - February 26 2020