|(Photo Credit: Milwaukee Admirals)|
Milwaukee, WI - The Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators affiliate) got a late third period goal from Kiefer Sherwood goal and Ads goalie Yaroslav Askarov turned away 25-of-26 shots as the Texas Stars dropped a nail-biter 2-1 in front of 6,045 Saturday night at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Texas, by dropping the middle-game of a daunting "three-in-three" road stretch, fell out of first place in the AHL Central Division for the first time since late December.
Both teams started slowly in a period that saw each team only generate six shots apiece. Neither club was able to crack the scoreboard until late in the frame when Admirals' All-Star winger Luke Evangelista found a loose puck in front of the net and snuck it past Stars netminder Matt Murray with just 14 seconds left in the opening period to send Milwaukee to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The Stars came out for the second period swinging when just 2:36 into the middle frame, rookie Mavrik Bourque fired a wrister from the high slot to knot the game at 1-1. Fellow rookie Michael Karow was credited with his second assist of the season while the team's leading scorer Riley Barber was credited with the additional helper.
Texas seemed to in control of the second period, using a 13-10 edge in shots to their advantage. Texas had a chance to break the deadlock late in the stanza when Ads forward Mathew Santos was hit with a double minor for high-sticking Stars blueliner Ryan Shea with 2:23 left in the period. However, they were unable to solve Askarov the rest of the period, or the night for that matter, and the teams headed to the second intermission locked in a 1-1 tie.
Despite seeing the man-advantage to start the third go by the wayside, Texas controlled the pace of play in the final 20 but could not get to Askarov to take control on the scoreboard. Texas finished the night 0-for-2 on the advantage Saturday. Milwaukee went 0-for-1.
With 6:52 left in regulation and on just their third shot into the third, Sherwood's put-back of a rebound got past Murray to make it 2-1 Milwaukee with time running out. Texas outshot the Admirals 7-5 over the final frame, giving them a 26-21 advantage for the game, but it wasn't enough as Milwaukee was able to protect their slim one-goal lead to the end.
Between the pipes for the Stars Murray was solid, stopping 19-of-21 shots but saw his record fall to 13-8-5-2 on the season despite his effort.
With the loss, Texas (26-12-7-3, 62 pts.) drops into second place in the AHL Central Division for the first time since late December, falling one point behind Milwaukee (30-15-1-2, 63 pts.) at the mathematical two-thirds point of the season.
The Stars won't have much time to lick their wounds as they lace them up again in less than 24 hours for the final game of this three games in three days stretch. Faceoff Sunday at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Stranges, Headrick, Khudobin (scratch)
Rosburg (out for season - upper-body injury)
Tonight's attendance was 6,045
1. MIL - Y. Askarov
2. MIL - Z. Sanford
3. MIL - K. Sherwood