|(Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski / Texas Stars)|
Cedar Park, TX - After enduring an hour and seven-minute delay to get the game started, the Texas Stars found themselves on the short end of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Central Division rival Manitoba Moose in front of 5,176 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park Friday night.
The game started sluggish for both teams as neither team was able to get anything going early in a period that saw Manitoba outshoot Texas 11-7. The action picked up late in the period and the Stars hard work paid off late in the frame when the hot-hitting rookie Logan Stankoven found the back of the net with 2:27 left in the first Matej Blumel and Mavrik Bourque were credited with the helpers and the Stars went to the first intermission leading 1-0.
Texas' lead didn't last for long as shortly after play resumed in the second, the Stars found themselves on the penalty kill due to a Matej Blumel hook, and with one second left on the PK, Wyatt Bongiovanni slipped one past Texas goalie Matt Murray to knot the game at 1-1 just 2:42 into the middle stanza.
The action heated up as the second period advanced and the fans were reminded that these clubs are division rivals as there were many scuffles after the whistles. Texas began to take control of the game, outshooting the Moose 10-7 for the period while controlling the puck much for much of the frame as Manitoba struggled to get through the neutral zone, The Stars were unable to take advantage of their superior play for the period and the teams headed to their rooms tied at 1-1.
Texas got the upper-hand 7:08 into the third period when on the power play, another rookie Kyle McDonald, fielded a ridiculous cross-ice pass from Stankoven and put one past Moose netminder Oskari Salminen from the goal-line extended to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Texas finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play.
With the crowd very much back into the game, it didn't take very long for the Moose to suck the life out of the building when just 2:30 later and Manitoba on a power play of their own, Kyle Capobianco netted one from the top of the right circle that careened off of Stars defenseman Alex Petrovic and past Murray to level the game back up at 2-2. The Moose were 2-for-4 for the night on the power play.
Manitoba picked up their pace as the period wore on, outshooting Texas to the tune of 16-7 over the last 20 minutes of regulation and while Texas had some late chances in the waning moments, the Stars were unable to find the twine and the teams headed to bonus hockey.
Neither team were able to take advantage of the open ice as Manitoba outshot Texas 4-2 in the extra frame. The Stars got a chance on the power play with 31.4 seconds left but were unable to net the game-winner, despite multiple near misses and the teams headed to the skills competition.
In the shootout, Salminen turned away all three shots he faced while Murray allowed just one from Moose center Brad Lambert, but that was enough to send the Stars home with the 3-2 shootout loss.
In net for Texas, Murray stopped 36-of-38 shots in the loss that saw his record drop to 1-1-0-1. Murray's 36 saves were a regular season career-high for the UMass grad. Salminen turned away 24-of-26 as he leveled his record to 1-1.
Despite the shootout loss, Texas remains winless at home this season but in first place in the Central Division with a record of 3-2-0-1 (7 pts.). With the win, Manitoba moved into second as their record improved to 3-2 on the young season.
Up next, the teams will re-rack and face each other again Saturday at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park for a 7:00 P.M. faceoff. Hopefully.
Injuries, scratches and notes
Berard, J. Murray (scratch)
Bayreuther (out long-term/ankle), Reedy (upper-body injury)
Tonight's attendance: 5,176