|(Credit: Ross Bonander/Texas Stars)
Texas seemed to have every chance to delight the sellout crowd at H-E-B Center tonight but came up on the short end of a 5-1 score against the visiting Colorado Eagles. After losing 4-1 last night, the Eagles buckled in and played a superb road game, taking advantage of every chance given to them and beating out a 38-22 shot deficit on the night, including a 19-6 margin in the middle frame.
"To be honest, I thought we took it to them pretty good for 40," said head coach Neil Graham postgame "Their response kicked in with some opportunities on special teams, and that ended up being a big factor. Those days happen."
Jonas Johansson's gargantuan effort may have been obscured by the final scoreline's run support, but his play in the middle frame kept the Eagles in it. Texas entered the second intermission down 2-1 and the game might as well have been done at that point. After a dominating performance in the period, being down by one was too much, and Texas allowed three more in the final frame.
"It felt like it was a matter of time until we scored, but sometimes you gotta tip your hat to the opponents. The goalie stepped up big allowed them to stay involved."
Colorado opened the scoring on the power play, where most of the scoring happened on the night. With nine bodies in a five foot radius in front of the Texas net, the puck came out to Alex Galchenyuk, who scored his first of four points on the night. Texas evened it up on the power play themselves with Matej Blumel's 12th of the year on a deft cross-ice pass from Will Butcher.
The second period was where the Stars should have gone up by two or three. The Stars had a pair of power plays in the frame. They outshot Colorado 19-6. Johansson was up to the task. It seemed he was just living right with his worst rebounds being controlled by his defensemen. He found so many high-risk shots cleanly that it certainly deflated the Stars.
Texas continued to go back to the play that scored their first goal with Blumel on the right side circle, but Johansson caught wise and cheated over to stop the best of the follow-on chances. The Stars split their power play time pretty evenly between their units but could not string together strong performances from both units on the same advantage, leaving them unable to press and score.
Two seconds into Colorado's only power play of the second, Charles Hudon rifled one cleanly past Murray glove-side high for the 2-1 lead. It was a tough blow and only Colorado's tenth shot of the game.
Things fell apart in the third period as the Eagles outscored Texas 3-0. Galchenyuk and Cedric Paré scored within two minutes of each other in the first six minutes of the third, both on the power play. Galchenyuk's score came as Alex Petrovic, Rhett Gardner and Ryan Shea were on the ice for over two minutes in a 5-on-3 kill, for which they couldn't get off the ice.
Jean-Luc Foudy scored on a giveaway from Thomas Harley to put some salt in the wound with about eight minutes left.
Texas gets a chance for rapid redemption with Iowa in town for a rare Monday night game.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Caamano, Peterson, Karow, Stranges (scratch)
Rosburg (out for season - upper-body injury)
Tonight's attendance was 6,778, a sellout.