|(Credit: Manitoba Moose)|
The Texas Stars came out flat in a 4-1 loss to the Manitoba Moose. Minus a Riley Damiani goal in the third period, the Stars struggled to finish good scoring chances that they created throughout the game.
The Texas power play is bottom-five in the AHL this season and their issues prevailed again today. The Stars were 0-for-4 on the PP in today’s game and they failed to produce enough threatening chances. After a positive 3-for-9 showing in their recent home series against Grand Rapids, the Stars fell back into the PP lull that has plagued them all season.
The penalty kill, however, continued to hold strong for the Stars. The Texas PK was 4-for-4 against Manitoba today and Texas is now ranked in the top-5 of the AHL on the PK. The Stars’ PP continues to be a point of weakness for the team, while the Stars’ PK has been one of the team’s greatest strengths. To be consistent moving forward, Texas is going to need all aspects of their special teams working well.
In the first half of the opening period, the Stars went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and were locked in a stalemate with Manitoba. Then, late in the period, the Stars failed to convert back-to-back power play opportunities and eventually gave up a goal to Cole Perfetti. After holding strong for 18 minutes of the first frame, giving up a goal just seconds after two unsuccessful power plays took some wind out of the Stars’ sails.
Despite the deflating goal given up late in the first period, the Stars built up energy throughout the first few minutes of the next frame. Texas fired a couple of shots off the post and generated multiple quality scoring chances, but were still held scoreless. With 5:10 remaining in the period, Johnathan Kovacevic added to Manitoba’s lead and made it 2-0.
In the third period, C.J. Suess scored an early goal for Manitoba to extend their lead to 3-0. Later on in the period, Riley Damiani cut the deficit to two goals and provided the Stars’ first spark of hope. However, Anthony Louis committed a high-sticking penalty with 5:24 remaining in the game and the Stars never regained any momentum. To end the night, Evan Polei scored an empty net goal and made it 4-1 for Manitoba.
Riley Damiani and Thomas Harley were today’s only point-scorers for the Stars. Damiani’s goal tied him with Curtis McKenzie at the top of the Stars' scoring list with 11 points.
The Stars will return to face Manitoba again at 2 PM tomorrow afternoon.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Comeau, L’Esperance, Borgman, Felhaber (scratch)
Martin, Cecconi (injury)
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