Diminished Texas Stars Fall in Rockford, 5-3

(Credit: Rockford IceHogs)

There are games you just have to win. The Stars led after a great momentum shifting 53 seconds in the second period but ultimately fell to the IceHogs 5-3 in Rockford tonight.

Without the services of Logan Stankoven, who is expected to be recalled tomorrow, for the first time all season, coach Graham put the lines in the blender. Kyle McDonald earned the call to the first line with Mavrik Bourque and Matej Blümel. Curtis McKenzie continues to be out due to injury.

Rockford struck first with the only goal of the first period. On just the fourth shot of the game either way, but eight minutes into the contest, Bryce Kindopp and the Rockford fourth line scored. Brandon Baddock won a puck battle in the corner with McDonald and fed it to Kindopp for the opener.

The Stars answered twice over in the second period with goals just 53 seconds apart. Fredrik Karström found Antonio Stranges in 1-on-1 coverage in the neutral zone to start the first tally. Stranges beat his man and went high on the backhand to tie things at one.

The fourth line for Texas went next with a rebound effort off the boards by newcomer Mark Rassell coming back to the blue paint and getting finished off by Rassell after a whack by Jack Becker.

Rockford would even things up with a one-timer from Rem Pitlick on the power play late in the frame to take it to the intermission even at two. The puck deflected off a Stars' defender to fool Matt Murray.

The third period was Rockford's, however, as they scored three in the final twenty to take the win. Texas had control on the first goal but caught pressure and fed the IceHogs offense off the turnover. It was a shot from Wyatt Kaiser at the blue line to go up 3-2, a lead that they would not relinquish.

Gavin White had a giveaway at the top of the offensive zone to send a 3-on-2 the other way. While the Hogs didn't score on that rush, the possession quickly led to the 4-2 score. While Texas would make it interesting with a third goal, coming from Blümel, the home side would net an empty netter to make it 5-3 final. Blümel played the trigger man, Stankoven's usual spot, on the right dot. Bourque's feed was delicious through the body of Brett Seney.

Matt Murray stopped 16 of 20 shots in the game while Drew Commesso halted 29 of 32. It's a quick turn for Texas now as they head to Grand Rapids to close their road trip in Michigan.

Injuries, scratches and notes
Bayreuther (out - ankle)
Berard, Reedy, Caamano (out - upper body)
McKenzie (injury, lower body out until late March/early April)
Pouliot, Stankoven (scratched and expected to be recalled to Dallas tomorrow)

Tonight's attendance was 4,700.