|(Photo Credit: Colorado Eagles)|
Loveland, CO - Texas Stars rookie netminder Remi Poirier stopped 29-of-31 shots, making multiple highlight-reel saves, but defensive breakdowns, an ineffective offense and in the end, just plain puck-luck did the Stars in as Texas fell 2-1 to the Colorado Eagles (Colorado Avalanche AHL affiliate) on Brad Hunt's game-winning goal in overtime, Wednesday night at the Budweiser Events Center.
Texas came out in the first hot, a clear antipodal change from Tuesday's first period, outshooting the Eagles 11-6 in the process. While the Stars clear advantage in the first could be taken as a positive, none-the-less the teams skated to a scoreless frame. Poirier wasn't tested in the opening period; however he made the stops when he needed to.
Both teams got their chances on the power play in the first, with Texas going 0-2 and Colorado going 0-1 respectively, neither team put up much of a threat in their offensive zones.
The second period turned out to be paradoxical to the first and looked much like the first from Tuesday. Colorado outshot Texas 11-6 in the middle frame with the Stars not even posting a shot on goal until 11:32 in the stanza.
Where the offense - and defense to some measure - lagged in the second, Poirier showed what made him a 6th round draft pick of the parent club, by making stop after stop to keep the club in the game. Poirier fended off challenge after challenge in both spectacular fashion and made many appear pedestrian in nature as the teams headed to the second break still scoreless.
Texas went on the penalty kill early in the third and that was when Poirier may have been his best. Colorado got off five legitimate attempts on the young netminder and the Farnham, Quebec native waved off a three-consecutive from point-blank range, in traffic, to quell the hopes of the sell-out crowd in Loveland.
While the rookie Poirier was ablaze on his end of the ice, for the second straight night Eagles' goalie Jonas Johansson was equally ablaze at his end of the ice, matching Poirier save-for-save. With 9:13 left in the third, Stars forward Jacob Peterson had an open look for Texas's first real stealthy challenge of Johansson, but the Colorado netminder slid over and stacked the pads to rob Peterson in a Swede-on-Swede crime.
Texas finally put some offense on the board when Alex Petrovic, returning shortly after getting bloodied by a puck to the face, fired a shot from the top of the right circle, near the blueline and it ricocheted off a skate to get past Johansson to give the Stars the lead with 8:18 left in the third. The goal was Petrovic's third of the season, with all coming against the Eagles. Forwards Rhett Gardner and Fredrik Olafsson were credited with the assists.
With the pattern of the game set, it seemed like the lone goal might just be enough to get the Stars to the finish line, however with just 2:55 left, Colorado wrecked Poirier's debut shutout bid when after a mad rush at the net Eagles' defenseman Josh Jacobs poked one past the young goalie on a second, possibly third chance in the crease to tie the score at 1-1 late. Goaltender interference could have been called, but it wasn't, and the teams skated out regulation, on to overtime.
Texas opened the bonus frame possessing but never really challenging and failing to get a shot on goal. Poirier made the save of the night 1:35 into OT, making a sprawling paddle-stop of Colorado's Jayson Megna to keep the game alive. Unfortunately for the Stars, Colorado however took advantage immediately after with Megna catching a post, then firing the rebound wide where it landed in the lap of Hunt who turned and flipped it past a sprawling Poirier, bring a sudden 2-1 end to the goalie dual.
Johansson finished the night stopping 28-of-29 to earn the win for the second straight night.
Texas will now head back home to lick their wounds and regroup after a game that they probably did enough to win and definitely one that Poirier deserved to.
The Stars hit the ice again Saturday night against the hated Rockford IceHogs in the opener of back-to-back games this weekend. Rockford eliminated Texas in 2-games of the '21-'22 Calder Cup Playoffs, bringing an end to last season. The weekend matchup is a feature of Military Weekend at the HEB Center at Cedar Park. Puck drop on Saturday is at 7:00 p.m.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Cecconi, Rosburg, Ducharme, Stranges (scratch)
Blumel (called up to Dallas)
Murray (has not arrived from Dallas)
Tonight's attendance was 5,089.