|(Credit: Texas Stars)
With many of their top offensive talents out of the lineup, the Stars were again challenged to score tonight, falling by a 2-0 score to the visiting Rampage. It was just the third time this season that Texas has been shutout, last having been blanked by San Antonio on November 22nd.
"That's the big thing about being a part of the developmental league," said head coach Neil Graham. "A couple guys go up or a couple guys go out, guys gotta grab it. It was night where the effort was there but unfortunately we weren't able to get anything by the goalie."
Texas was bound to be a bit troubled on the scoreboard this evening with the mounting injuries and callups. Adam Mascherin, Nick Caamano, Emil Djuse and Anthony Louis are out with injury. Joel Kivirana and Jason Robertson continue their stint in Dallas. Collectively, those six players represent an entire power play unit and own 39% of all goals scored this year by the Stars (56 of 142) and 134 points.
The power play was a sore spot for the club this evening, going 0-for-5 and looking out of sorts at times. Coach Graham pointed to the effort to distribute scoring across the lineup creating a lack of cohesion in the power play, "We juggled the lines a little bit to try and spread out some scoring and I also thought it took a little bit of the chemistry away from power play."
The one line that did have good chemistry was the fourth line, made up of Diego Cuglietta, Parker MacKay and Tye Felhaber. "They brought a lot of energy," agreed Coach Graham. "They came out after a lot of special teams and then they got us right back into the momentum ,in the swing of things. I thought all three of those guys did a good job."
With the win, San Antonio improves to 7-0-0-1 against the Stars this season. "They've kind of had our number," said captain Dillon Heatherington. "And it's just, they're close games. They tend to be one goal games ... but we just got to dig deep in the third and believe that we can win."
Jake Oettinger got the start with Colton Point backing up. The netminder had to be on his toes in throughout the game as second and third chances came his way rapidly. The entire game turned on a one-minute span in the third period where Ryan Olsen beat Oettinger on a rebound and then Alexey Toropchenko did it again 57 seconds later.
Down by two, Texas pulled Oettinger with 4:43 left in the frame. Their offensive challenges continued through the 6-on-5 segment, exacerbated by the fact that they were rotating through a limited set of players to get on the board.
The Stars will take the break they've got in front of them: five days off to mend the broken and tired bodies coming off a lengthy road trip. They're next in action on Friday against Iowa.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mascherin, Caamano, Djuse, Louis, Bow (injury)
Kiviranta, Robertson (callup)
The Texas Stars recalled Colton Point from Idaho before tonight's game. He backed up Jake Oettinger.
Tonight’s attendance was 6,391.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 15 2020