Stars Stung by Eagles in OT, Lose Back-to-Back for First Time

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

It was a weird game for Texas as most of the scoring happened within just a few minutes in the first period, and it looked like the Stars were in control for most of the way until the very end. After going down 3-1 in the first, Texas scored three times in 119 seconds to go up 4-3 and held that lead until the dying seconds of regulation. Then Colorado evened the score and won it in OT 5-4.

Texas head coach Neil Graham thought it was a solid game, if a bit disappointing in the end. "You know, I liked the way we played for most of the night to be quite honest, after [the early deficit]. We settled in; they settled in. I thought was a really good hockey game."

This was the first time all season that the Stars have lost in back-to-back games. However, they still haven't gone without a point in back-to-back games. Consistency is leading them to victory, and an inconsistent effort stung them tonight. Coach Graham specifically called out two of the Eagles' first period goals as "self-inflicted wounds."

"I think [we got in trouble] when we got standing still in open ice with the puck, space is going to close down on you. If you're trying to make a play flat footed, it's much tougher. When in doubt, get moving."

If they gave out third assists, the Stars' Max Martin certainly would have earned one for Texas's first goal. His quick rim around from behind the net found Josh Melnick on the halfwall. Melnick bounced it off the wall to Nikita Scherbak who headed in deep only to pass back to Anthony Louis at the blue line. He slammed it home for the 1-0 score.

Colorado surged back though. Just three minutes later, Joe Cecconi felt the pressure from Martin Kaut at the Texas blueline and coughed up the puck to Sheldon Dries. Nick Henry scored his first of the year off the pass from Dries. Two minutes later, Jean-Luc Foudy slipped coverage on the right dot to beat Tomas Sholl for the 2-1 lead. It was 3-1 a minute later after Shane Bowers caught a pass at the Texas blue line and beat Ryan Shea one-on-one to go in alone as everyone else was changing.

Adam Mascherin and the club put on their work boots and grabbed a shovel for the rest of the frame, as he noted, "When you find yourself in a hole like that early, the only thing you can really do is put your head down and go to work and try and dig yourself out of that."

Texas absolutely got the response it needed within 30 seconds. A gaggle of bodies at the net and somehow Mascherin got lost in the shuffle on the back door. The lead was cut to 3-2 Eagles in an instant. Mascherin wasn't done in the frame. Again, he was all alone when the rebound of Nick Baptiste bid came right to his stick. Into the yawning net and it was three all.

"We preach getting the net and battling in front and finding those loose pucks. Not everything goes in bar down. The rebound ones count just the same."

Colorado handed Texas a power play, and they made no mistake. Off the rush, Louis buried a cross-ice pass from Mascherin for the 4-3 lead.

After Texas's fourth goal, they'd only taken seven shots. Colorado had three goals on seven shots as well.

The game almost got sleepy in a way for the majority of the next two periods. Texas hurled 18 shots on Adam Werner in the second but to no avail. Colorado was quiet until the final 90, when they pulled Werner for the extra attacker. Jean-Luc Foudy broke in with a clean lane to the net after a misread by Jerad Rosburg to block a shot that never came. It was 4-4 with 11 seconds left.

The overtime was brief, and the final goal seemed oddly uncontested by Texas. Martin Kaut almost walked in through three defenders and roofed one backhand over Sholl for the 5-4 win.

Texas gets a quick chance at redemption with the final game of the four game series tomorrow. "I think we were a team that bounces back pretty well especially when we stick to our game plan," added Anthony Louis. "I mean that's a big reason why we've been able to bounce back so well."

Tomorrow's game is at 7PM.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Porco, Barteaux, L. Martin, Stranges, Jurusik (scratch)
Markison (injury)
Schneider (day-to-day)

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Colorado - March 16 2021