|(Photo credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
CEDAR PARK, TX – The Texas Stars, playing in their fifth game in seven days, benefitted from a Nick Caamano shorthanded goal and Dawson Barteaux's first of the season but could not overcome a three-goal second period onslaught by Milwaukee, succumbing to the visiting Admirals 4-3 in front of 5,857 fans at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park Saturday night.
For the second time in as many nights versus Milwaukeee -- and their fifth game in a row -- Texas struck first when a wide-open Karlstrom one-timed a pass from Jordan Kawaguchi as the Stars were coming off of a power play. Karlstrom's goal, his first since January 21st, was his seventh on the season and gave Texas the 1-0 lead.
And, for the second time in as many nights, Milwaukee answered right back just a 77 seconds later when Admirals winger and current Stars-killer Matt Luff tied the game at one with a power play goal. Luff, who's seen time in the NHL with both the Predators and the Kings, has seven points in three games against Texas this season.
With the Stars on their heels for the majority of the period, a shorthanded Texas caught a break with 8:54 left in the period, a falling Oskar Back found a streaking Caamano on a breakaway and poked the puck ahead to the big 6-3 winger. Caamano did not disappoint, retrieving the rolling puck and burying his shot past Milwaukee goaltender Devin Cooley's glove side to give Texas a 2-1 lead. The Stars would take that lead to the intermission, despite spending most of the first in their defensive zone.
Milwaukee finished the period outshooting Texas 11-5.
The Admirals picked up where they left the first, peppering Stars goalie Matt Jurusik relentlessly to start the second until Graham Knott finally got to Jurusik, tying the score at 2-2 just 4:30 into the frame.
Less than three minutes later, former Star Cole Schneider gave Milwaukee the lead on a controversial goal. Schneider took a high centering pass from Marc Del Gaizo and appeared to bat it in with a high-stick. The goal was neither discussed, nor reviewed, much to Texas' head coach Neil Graham's chagrin. The goal stood, and Milwaukee took the lead at 3-2
Just 2:26 later with the Stars on the penalty kill once again, Rocco Grimaldi beat Jurusik to pad the Ads lead at 4-2. Milwaukee, who came into the series with an AHL top-10 power play unit, leaves with a top-5 after going 2-for-6 Saturday and 5-for-11 in the two-game stanza.
After the dust had settled on the second, Milwaukee had outshot Texas again, this time by an 18-8 count.
Texas appeared to come out for the third with a new sense of energy, taking the dominance to the Admirals for almost the entirety of the period. It was not enough for the Stars, as they were unable to get to Cooley until late in the period when Dawson Barteaux scored his first goal of the season to bring the Stars back to within striking distance at 4-3. Barteaux's goal was his first since May 25th of last year and just his second career AHL goal.
Grimaldi picked up an empty net tally in the final seconds, his second goal of the game, ending any chance of further heroics at 5-3. The Stars outshot Milwaukee 10-4 in the final frame as the Admirals played "road-lead hockey," but the effort was too little too late for the home team.
Milwaukee finished the night having outshot Texas 33-24
The Stars next face-off against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 PM at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
Gardner-Melnick-Caamano (starting line)
Injuries, scratches and notes
Harley (to Dallas), Melnick, Lipanov, Comeau, Khudobin
Tonight's attendance was 5,857