Texas Stars Inexperience Evident in 6-2 Loss to Moose

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozup/Manitoba Moose)

Winnipeg MB - The Texas Stars youth and inexperience were apparent as they concluded a two-game sweep at the hands of the Manitoba Moose with a 6-2 loss in front of 3,331 Sunday afternoon at the Canada Life Centre. The Stars, playing a brutal schedule over the last month with a lot of travel, while also playing without up to seven regulars - including points-leader Logan Stankoven as well as captain Curtis McKenzie - have now came out without a point over their last five road games.

The Moose took the early advantage after Stars rookie Christian Kyrou took a cross check call less than a minute into the game, and Manitoba took advantage of it. Jeff Malott took a pass from Nikita Chibrikov and buried it past Texas netminder Remi Poirier to open the scoring 2:49 into the opening period. Manitoba doubled up the Stars with 11:55 left in the frame when C.J. Suess cleaned up a rebound off of a Malott shot to make it 2-0 Moose.

Manitoba would take their 2-0 lead to the locker room after twenty minutes, despite having been outshot 15-8. To sum up the first period, Manitoba took advantage of their opportunities, while Texas glaringly did not.

The Stars showed some life in the second. Early in the frame Oskar Bäck recovered a turnover in Texas' defensive zone and flipped it out to center where he found Keaton Mastrodonato who headed on a breakaway. Mastrodonato beat Moose goalie Collin Delia far side from the hashes to make it 2-1 just 4:42 into the second.

Momentum seemed to have turned the Stars way just seventeen seconds later when in a mad scramble in front of the net, a Riley Damiani shot bounced off of Jack Becker at the top of the crease past Delia, and suddenly it was a brand new game at 2-2.

Any momentum the Stars had gained in the middle stanza just got sucked away in the final minute of the period. Axel Jonsson-Fjällby scored with a minute left when he collected his own rebound after Poirier stopped him following a two-on-one rush. With 19 seconds left in the period and the Moose on the power play, Jeffrey Viel snapped one past Poirier from the top of the left circle to give Manitoba the 4-2 lead after forty. 

Manitoba was 2-for-3 on the power play Sunday. Texas was scoreless on their two chances on the advantage.

In the third, Texas never really seemed to contend as they were outshot 10-6 for the frame. Jonsson-Fjällby wristed a shot past Poirier from the left circle to make it 5-2 just 2:58 into the period, completely taking control of the game at that point. Henry Nikkanen added an empty netter - Manitoba's third of the weekend - with 2:18 left in regulation to cap off the Moose 6-2 win

In the cages, Poirier stopped 22 of 27 while seeing his record drop to 14-11-3 for the season. Delia's stellar 30-save performance on 32 shots earned him the victory that improved his record to 11-16-1.

With the loss, the Stars record fell to 26-22-3-2 (57 pts.) keeping them solidly in third in the Central Division. Despite the Moose victory that improved their record to 21-28-1-1 (44 pts.), Manitoba remains entrenched in fifth in the division.

Up next, Texas returns home and enjoy a few days off before opening a back-to-back two-game series against the San Jose Barracuda Friday night. Faceoffs for both Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 7:00 P.M.

Tonight's Lines

J. Murray-Kyrou


Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Bayreuther (out - ankle)
Berard, Reedy, Caamano (out - upper body)
White (out - undisclosed injury)
McKenzie (injury, lower body out until late March/early April)

Tonight's attendance was 3,331.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - March 3 2024