Texas Stars Snatch Loss From The Jaws of Victory; Drop 4-2 Contest to Firebirds

(Photo credit: Mike Zitek/Coachella Valley Firebirds)

Palm Desert, CA - The Texas Stars squandered away a 2-1 lead by giving up three goals in the final 4:46 in the third - including two in the final minute - as they fell 4-2 to the Coachella Valley Firebirds in front of 9,141 at Acrisure Arena Saturday night.

The teams went back and forth in the opening minutes of the first with Coachella Valley getting multiple chances in a period that saw the Firebirds outshoot the Stars 18-11. Texas' netminder Remi Poirier met every challenge, sometimes in a spectacular ways throughout the frame. The Quebec native never showed a chink in his armor until with 4:02 left in the first when Ryan Winterton got the scoring started when he banked one off of Poirier's back from a sharp angle to give the Firebirds the initial 1-0 lead.

Texas answered right back when veteran Alex Petrovic blasted a shot on Firebirds goalie Chris Driedger who made the initial pad save, but the puck trickled past the netminder. The game was suddenly knotted at 1-1, just before heading to the intermission.

In a spirited second period that saw the Firebirds outshoot the Stars 14-9, neither team was able to find paydirt until the final minutes of the frame. Matej Blümel took advantage of his heavy shot when he took a Derrick Pouliot pass and buried a one-timer from the right dot and blasted it past Driedger to make it 2-1 Texas with 5:16 left in the middle frame.

The Stars maintained control in the third, despite being outshot 13-3 for the frame. Poirier made the easy stops as well as the spectacular as the game waned on. Texas looked well positioned to come away with the victory until Andrew Poturalski slid one past Poirier to level the game at 2-2 with 4:46 left in regulation.

With Texas looking forward to at least coming away with a point against the AHL's top-ranked team, those hopes were dashed when Max McCormick tipped a Kole Lind shot past Poirier with 42.5 seconds left. The Stars then took their timeout and looked to go empty net for the extra attacker. They never got the chance.

Coachella Valley won the ensuing faceoff and were able to take it deep into the Stars defensive zone. The Firebirds squashed any thoughts of Stars late-game heroics when forward Cameron Hughes scraped up a rebound in front of the net with 29 seconds left and got it past Poirier to stick the knife in the heart for the 4-2 final.

Between the pipes, Poirier was having possibly his best game of his professional career, until the final 4:46. The Stars netminder had a career-high 41 saves on the 45 shots he saw as his record dropped to 16-14-4. Driedger improved to 19-6-5 as he made 21 saves on the 23 shots he saw.

With the loss, Texas (29-27-4-2, 64 pts.) remains in fourth place, one point behind the Rockford IceHogs - who have three games in hand and fifteen points behind the Central Division leading Milwaukee Admirals, with ten games to play.

Up next, Texas heads home after only coming away with three points of a possible ten on the concluding five-game road trip and open a two-game home set against the Iowa Wild beginning Friday night at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Puck drop Friday and Saturday is slated for 7:00 P.M.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Romano, White (scratch)
Bayreuther (suspension)
Stranges (injury, day-to-day)
Bäck (injury, week-to-week)
Reedy (out for the season - upper body)

Tonight's attendance was 9,421.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Coachella Valley- March 23 2024