Texas Gets Goalied as SJ's Romanov Hands Stars 2-1 Loss

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

The visiting San Jose Barracuda came in on a six-game losing streak and broke it tonight with a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars. The home squad sent 42 shots on rookie netminder Georgi Romanov but could not pierce him until the final 13 seconds of the game, at which point it was too late to mount the complete comeback.

"In a matter of 30 seconds, it's [2-0]," said Texas head coach Neil Graham. "Until that point we were the better of the two teams. We had to recollect ourselves and didn't really fully regain momentum [until late in the third]."

Texas ran into a hot goalie in Romanov, who nearly earned his first AHL shutout with the game effort. "I was very impressed by him," said Gavin Bayreuther. "I didn't know much about him. He's a big kid, attacks the puck well, but so many of those chances could go either way."

The game marked the return of three Stars who had missed significant time. Most notably, Bayreuther was back in the lineup for the first time since the season opener on October 13th. He played all situations and looked solid in his return. Nick Caamano, out since January 22, and Ben Berard, out since January 24, also returned.

"First off, I forgot hockey was so fun," said Bayreuther postgame. "It's fun to play in all situations. Fun to be leaned on. I forgot how enjoyable that was."

He spent a decent portion of the past few weeks on the bike to get in conditioning shape for the return and started skating just two weeks ago. He notes that his conditioning still has a step to go "but that's expected."

In tonight's game, the first period was all Texas but to no avail on the scoreboard. Texas enjoyed two power plays and vaulted 18 shots on Romanov. Despite this, they exited the frame with a 0-0 tie with the visitors.

"I thought we did have a lot of shots but there was also a high danger," said Graham. "We were in the inside. We were around the crease. We had numbers at the net. Unfortunately we didn't catch a break in the first. I thought we deserved better."

They started hot in the second with the continuation of a power play generating three shots early. However, the Barracuda were the squad emerging with the lead after forty.

With a cavernous gap between the rankings of the two power plays, it would stand to reason that Texas' top-ranked PP would dominate compared to the Barracuda's second-to-last unit. It was San Jose striking first on the power play though with Oskar Lindblom completing a play from Tristen Robins coming against the grain from below the goal line. 

San Jose would score on a quick-snap effort on the very next shot. Texas called its timeout to settle the group. Really, the entire game pivoted around this 42 second segment in the second. 

"We did address in the intermission how fast momentum can shift. The way we played in the first was gonna be taxing on them. But teams will find energy if you let them."

Texas came out on fire in the third period again, matching their first period effort with 16 shots. Matej Blümel earned a game misconduct for boarding Ozzy Wiesblatt early in the frame. He could expect supplementary discipline for the play based on when it took place.

A late power play opportunity came up empty but served as a catalyst to their late-game empty net push. Coach Graham decided not to pull Poirier for the extra attacker with the power play coming at 6:10 remaining in the frame. "I wanted to see how that moment played out. You know, you're kind of damned if you do damned if you don't, and you can always go back and second guess it."

Who else but Mavrik Bourque would be the one to break up the shutout for Romanov and give some semblance of life to the game late with just 12.9 seconds left. Texas had one last chance with 0.7 seconds left but couldn't win the faceoff. These two teams rematch tomorrow night at 7 PM.

Tonight's lines

J. Murray-Kyrou


Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Wheatcroft, Karow, Pettersen, Thomson (scratch)
White (injury)
Reedy (out - upper body)
McKenzie (injury, lower body out until late March/early April)

Today's attendance was 5,399.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Jose - March 8 2024