Stars Look Listless in 5-2 Loss to IceHogs

The Texas Stars kicked off their five-game road trip with a thud in Rockford as the IceHogs handed them a 5-2 loss.

Jake Oettinger got the start in net but was pulled in the first period after allowing four goals on ten shots. It’s arguable that the rookie was blameless on two of the goals, but at least one was a softy, and head coach Neil Graham had to send a message somehow.

(credit: Rockford IceHogs)

An inauspicious start really put the Stars behind the eight ball. Within the first six minutes, the IceHogs had scored twice, once on the power play. In the latter half of the first period, two Stars defensemen, Emil Djuse and Gavin Bayreuther, responded with two quick goals within a minute of each other.

Rockford didn’t flinch and restored the two goal lead by the end of the opening frame. A goal from distance and one deflection put the Stars back on their heels and forced Graham to replace Oettinger with Landon Bow.

An early second period goal from Rockford’s Dennis Gilbert all but salted the game away. It was Gilbert’s first goal of the season. The Stars went 1-for-4 on the penalty kill but didn’t get enough chances on the power play to threaten the IceHogs on the scoresheet. Rhett Gardner crashed the net late in the third period to put the puck past Collin Delia, but the goal was waived off.

The loss comes at an inopportune moment in the schedule as the Stars are staring down a dreaded 3-in-3 this weekend against competitive Central division clubs. More notably, the Stars’ inability to compete in the contest comes after there have been legitimate questions as to whether or not they can wrest control of their playoff destiny.

The early returns aren’t looking great so far. However, they won’t hurt for opportunities to reestablish themselves on this gauntlet of a road trip.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Felhaber, MacKay (scratch)
Mascherin (injury)

Tonight’s attendance was 1,836.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - February 4 2020