|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
Another promising night ended in OT disappointment tonight for the Texas Stars. Leading 3-2 at the second intermission, Texas gave up a shorthanded tally in the third and failed to score on an OT power play, giving Colorado the chance, which they took.
"At times they exploited some of our inexperience," said head coach Neil Graham summarizing the series against Colorado. "We're seeing some untimely plays from ... first year guys, second year, fifth year guys, whatever you want to call it. The entire group needs to clean up some of these decisions. And if we do that, we can be a very dangerous team."
With the 4-3 loss, Texas closes their home series with Colorado 1-1-2, collecting four of a possible eight points. The Stars have now lost three straight after not losing back-to-back in the season up until this week.
"Well, I think it was a tale of two teams. Unfortunately I never thought we strung sixty minutes together fully, and we paid the price for that."
Nick Baptiste was a bright spot in the game, scoring twice. Texas especially needed the offense as Riley Damiani was out of the game after last night's cross-check to his neck from Colorado's TJ Tynan. Coach Graham calls him "day-to-day." Baptiste's pair of goals extended his scoring streak to six games and nine points.
"He's been consistent all year. He adds a heaviness and a relentless pursuit to that line. It's been very consistent physical work and pressuring pucks, and I was happy to see him get rewarded."
Anthony Louis opened strong for Texas again with the first goal of the night. It was Tye Felhaber's quick thinking that made it happen. He drove the net but ran out of room, circling the cage to find Louis following up the play.
Sheldon Dries drove the play the other way nine minutes later to create a chance. The first bid was halted by Colton Point, but the rebound came right to Shane Bowers with an empty net in front of him. Dries got one of his own on the power play, winning the faceoff and sending the puck around the zone before receiving it back and shooting through traffic for the 2-1 lead.
In the second, Nick Baptiste stepped up to help fill the void left by rookie Damiani's absence The alternate captain did not disappoint. First, Adam Mascherin found him on a breakaway skate and caught him in stride to beat Parker Gahagen for the 2-2 tie.
"We've talked about using our speed," said Baptiste. "Trying to beat guys wide and get a step, make sure you're loud, and [Mascherin] made a heck of a pass to me."
Next, Nikita Scherbak loaded up on the power play, putting the puck precisely on Baptiste's stick on the backdoor. Just like that it was a 3-2 game for Texas.
On the power play in the third period, Scherbak gave that one back. He got a little too fancy at the point and gave the puck away for a 2-on-1 coming back on Point. TJ Tynan finished the play for the three-all tie.
"We have to make sure our power play plays with the same identity as five-on-five," added Graham, referencing the play. "We don't toe drag guys [if you're the] last man back five-on-five. We shouldn't be doing it on the power play; let the puck do the work."
Texas had every chance to win this one as they got a power play with 55 seconds left. Nothing came of it in regulation or overtime, and it was a death knell. Tynan scored his second of the night and fifth of the year as Point lost his blocker and stick on a crashing play at the net and couldn't recover in time to get to the rebound.
The Stars have a healthy bit of time off until their next contest in Cleveland eight days from tonight.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Porco, Barteaux, L. Martin, M. Martin, Jurusik (scratch)
Damiani (day-to-day, upper body)