Texas One Goal Short Against Iowa All Night, Falling 4-3

Bourque scores league-leading 70th and 71st points in loss.
(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

The Iowa Wild were consistently one goal better than the home side Stars in tonight's contest as Texas tied up the game three times but could not make it a fourth in the game's dying minutes, falling 4-3 to the visitors in front of 6,437 at H-E-B Center. Mavrik Bourque notched his league leading 70th and 71st points, now trailing only Travis Morin for the team's single season record (88).

"You look at the game tonight," said Texas head coach Neil Graham. "You have your chances you have your shots, but there's some momentary lapses and next thing you know, bang-bang, it's in the back of your net. We have to keep composed."

Every time it seemed like the Stars had momentum, Iowa snapped it off. Despite lengthy periods where Texas dominated the offensive play, they got everything but the goal. The Stars outshot Iowa 13-4 in the final frame and earned the tying goal only to see it evaporate three minutes later.

"We came out [in the third and] we generated. We had the better of the quality chances. We do everything in our power to tie the game, which we do. And then again, late in a shift, we fail to execute again with the puck on our stick. Once they come back in, they make a hard driving play. We take a penalty, and they score."

Texas is looking not to overreact with many new bodies in the lineup but definitely feels overall that the game contained a litany of teachable moments, especially late in shifts, about finishing well.

"We're in every game, but we have to find ways to help manage momentum in a more positive direction and allow us to get on the proper side."

Iowa got started fast in the first period with a goal on the first shift from Turner Elson. It was a crowd at the net with a point shot coming in from Michael Milne into traffic. Elson finished off the rebound for the 1-0 score.

"We failed to break a puck out with full possession, then we failed to stop and protect our coverage correctly in the D zone. When you make one mistake, you might get away with it. When you compound and you make a secondary one, that usually finds its way to the back of the net." 

The captain would not let that scoreline stand and got the Stars on the board just three minutes later. Curtis McKenzie's redirection of Bourque's backhander was Bourque's 70th point of the season.

Iowa came with an aggressive forecheck tonight, according to Stars' forward Matthew Seminoff. "They were a lot more aggressive tonight, and I thought they did a good job of creating those turnovers." It limited rush chances for Texas, where their speed tends to win.

The teams traded power play goals next with Iowa going first in the opening period. Steven Fogarty had a chipshot tip in front of Matt Murray off the shot from Caedan Bankier. With no one else in front, Fogarty tucked the puck under the bar with the redirection.

In a carryover penalty, Texas got their power play goal with a play they were trying to run all night. Matej Blümel on the right point beat Jesper Wallstedt off the pass from Derrick Pouliot. Bouruqe got point #71 on the play. The Stars continued to load up Blümel or Bourque on the two points with their remaining power plays in the frame.

Elson's night wasn't done for the Wild, however, with a goal on the next shift again. That marked three goals for Iowa on just seven shots. It was a 2-on-1 that Elson joined late and scored off the rebound.

The game calmed down a bit from there in the scoring column with the two teams ending the frame at a 20-18 shot advantage for Texas. The Stars trailed 3-2 after forty.

Texas dominated on shot count in the final frame, with the aforementioned 13-4 count. After having the period's first shot, it took Iowa another seven minutes to mark their second. In between, Texas peppered Wallstedt. It finally took some heat in his kitchen to get past him in the third. Nicholas Caamano crashed the net and ended up on the ice. That caused enough chaos, however, for Matthew Seminoff to beat Wallstedt clean for the 3-3 tie. The Wild protested goalie interference, but no such call came.

"It was a great play by Caamano," said Seminoff. "I don't really know how I got it, but he drove to the netand I was calling for it... I didn't really see where the goalie was, but I knew that I was trying to get upstairs."

A run to the net from Iowa earned them a power play via a slashing minor. Coach Graham noted that it was another play where Texas did not 'finish a shift' and had to take the penalty to stop a scoring chance. Immediately off the faceoff, Caedan Bankier ripped a shot past Murray for the 4-3 lead. They would not relinquish it, despite 1:58 of 6-on-5 to close the contest and a near constant press from the Stars' attackers.

These two clubs re-rack tomorrow to close the season series.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Berard, White, Rassell, Kyrou, Poirier (scratch)
Stranges (injury, day-to-day)
Bäck (injury, week-to-week)
Reedy (out for the season - upper body)

Tonight's attendance was 6,437.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - March 29 2024