Texas Cedes Most Power Play Goals in Franchise History in 8-3 Loss

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

With their playoff matchup set, the Texas Stars stare down five straight against the Manitoba Moose at home, starting inauspiciously tonight with an 8-3 loss to the visitors. Texas put themselves up 2-0 early in the game but ceded eight goals to put the game far out of reach.

The Stars set an ignominious franchise record on the night with five power play goals against, their worst performance in that regard since January 28, 2023 against Colorado, where they allowed four. The contest also set the season mark for most combined penalty minutes at 74.

"The temperature rose in the second and to be quite frank, I'm glad it did," said head coach Neil Graham. "It's better to see it happen now than on Tuesday (Game 1 of the playoffs). On one hand, I thought we did a great job sticking up for ourselves, pushing back. We're skilled team and fast team, and we stood up for ourselves. But, on the flip side, we also lost composure within the identity of our game."

Texas is the least penalized team in the league and not typically one to play a physical game. Graham added, "When you're not used to it, sometimes the result is also a lack of composure in terms of your team structure... We'll play the game hard, play the game within the rules of the game. Stay out of the garbage that you [can] get dragged into very easily. And if you do that, you control the style."

Emilio Pettersen helped the Stars start on time, a favorite saying of Graham, with his early goal. The forward, traded from the Calgary organization at the deadline, has put his speed to deadly use with his new club. After a failed clear from the Moose and with the ref's arm up for a delayed high stick against Mavrik Bourque, it was Pettersen all alone in front of the net to open the scoring.

Matej Blümel stepped up next with a power play marker, breaking in with a bit of an odd-man rush in transition. Pettersen dished back to Blümel on the right wing for the 2-0 score.

As the period drew to a close, the Moose cut into the lead with Kristian Reichel's close-in backhand bid, setting the score at 2-1 Texas after twenty.

The second period got raucous, sending the sellout crowd into hysterics, but the score was all Manitoba. A total of 36 penalty minutes were handed out in the period, including a fighting major to Nick Caamano and his dance partner, Parker Ford.

Jeff Malott and Reichel scored in the early going back-to-back to erase the Stars' lead. Malott's was a fluky play that he batted out of midair into the net. Reichel's second of the night came on a two-on-one with Justin Hryckowian, not a defender, being the one for Texas. Ford's power play goal and Colby Barlow's first pro goal, also on the power play, made it 5-2 after forty.

The penalty kill struggles continued in the third as Dominic Toninato made it 6-2 on the man advantage and Ville Heinola 7-2. The goal was Heinola's fifth point of the night (1-4=5), earning him first star honors. The eighth and final tally also came on the power play from Simon Lundmark. Fredrik Karlström did tip in a Christian Kyrou shot in the final minute of the game, but things were already decided at that point.

"There's no overreaction in terms of the final result," concluded Graham. "Tomorrow's a new day."

These two teams rematch tomorrow to close the regular season before playing a best-of-three series starting on Tuesday to open the AHL playoffs.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches and notes
Stankoven (callup)
Murray, Haiskanen, Bertucci, Pouliot, MacDonnell, White, Romano, Stranges (scratch)
Bäck (injury, week-to-week)
Reedy (out for the season - upper body)

Tonight's attendance was 6,778, the twelfth sellout of the year.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Manitoba - April 19 2024