|(Photo Credit: Chicago Wolves)
The teams came out of the gate in the first very sluggish. Neither team was able to get any traction early, even with the Stars getting an early chance on the power play 3:24 into period when Melnick was called for tripping. Texas didn't capitalize on the early advantage as the club didn't generate any significant chances.
The listless play from both teams continued with only five shots generated on net between the two clubs, led by Texas 3-2, midway through the first. Chicago got their first chance on the power play with 8:25 left in the period, but it was handled dutifully by Texas' PK unit, not allowing any shots in the process.
Chicago got on the board late in the first when Melnick lit the lamp on a breakaway goal with 1:40 left. The Wolves went end-to-end, with Tuukka Tieksola finding the streaking former Star entering Chicago's offensive zone to set up Melnick's first goal as a Wolve. Chicago took their 1-0 lead to the first intermission as the teams headed to their respective rooms having tied 11-11 in shots.
The game turned a little towards Chicago's way in the second. While Texas held their own while on the five-on-five, they spent a good portion of the frame on their heels, due to being saddled four times on the penalty kill, including a brief 5-on-3 early in the period. Texas finally got their second chance on the power play late in the period, but Texas ran out the clock to allow for some regrouping with the second intermission moments away. Chicago outshot Texas 13-6 in the second.
The third period began with Texas resuming the power play that they left at end of the second, and just 1:02 into the stanza, Texas' captain McKenzie tallied his first goal of the season, taking a post rebound off of a Matej Blumel shot and put it past a late Kochetkov to level the score at 1-1. It was the fourth straight game Texas tallied at least one power play goal. Will Butcher got the other helper to give him points in three-straight games. Blumel's assist gave him points in every game this season, his first in North America.
The Stars did not relax after the tying goal, however the Wolves got plenty of good looks in the early go after the equalizer. Chicago took advantage of those chances when a Stars neutral-zone pass was broken up by Melnick. Melnick fed his pass to Tiekasola, who then went tape-to-tape cross-ice to Will Lagesson at the top of the left circle and Lagesson fired it top-shelf on Murray, to restore Chicago's one-goal lead with 11:04 left in the game.
With their back against the wall, Texas began to apply pressure, outshooting the Wolves 10-3 the remainder of the way before finishing the period with a 12-9 shot advantage for the frame. Texas got plenty of good looks the rest of the way, only to see them go for naught as Kochetkov stared them all down to secure the victory.
Vasily Ponomarev tacked on a 200 foot empty-netter to pad the 3-1 final, sending the 9,837 screaming kids to the gates happy.
Kochetkov finished the game stopping 29-of-30 to earn his first win of the young season.
Texas now looks to regroup as they head to Milwaukee to take on the Admirals Wednesday for a more reasonable start time of 7:00 p.m. The Stars return home this weekend for a pair against Grand Rapids, beginning Saturday night in Cedar Park.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Karow, Cecconi, Ducharme, Stranges (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 9,837.