Stars End 2016 on Sour Note in 3-1 LossDec 31, 2016
Brendan Ranford Scores Lone Goal for Texas
CEDAR PARK, Texas -- Despite scoring the first goal of the game, special teams plagued the Texas Stars’ hopes of ending 2016 on a high note as the team fell to Pacific Division rival the San Diego Gulls, 3-1, on New Year’s Eve in Cedar Park.
Forward Brendan Ranford scored the lone Stars (15-13-1-1) goal of the night, after a scoreless first period, at the 13:31 mark of the second to give the home team their only lead of the contest. Less than 30 seconds later, the visiting Gulls (13-11-2-1) struck back when Chris Wagner tapped in a loose puck in the goal crease off of an awkward bounce that Texas netminder Maxime Lagace lost track of in front of the net.
Forward Stefan Noesen scored the next Gulls goal from the top of the crease during a 5-on-3 power play at the 11:28 mark of the second to give San Diego a 2-1 lead over the Stars heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
Defenseman Keaton Thompson added another San Diego power-play goal for the AHL’s worst-ranked power-play unit (15.6%) after Alternate Captain Andrew Bodnarchuk took a two-minute hooking minor 30 seconds into the final frame.
“[Special teams] was the difference in the game today,” said Bodnarchuk. “They capitalized on their power play, and we had an opportunity to [capitalize on ours], but we didn’t. There are other aspects of the game, but that was a big part of it.”
The Stars went 0-for-4 on the power-play in tonight’s contest, despite having high-quality chances.
“We didn’t do enough on our power play,” said Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “We had some looks, but there’s just not a lot of confidence on our power play right now. We tried going with three different lines tonight, and we didn’t have any cohesiveness in our group. When we did have an opportunity to take a shot, we didn't take it, and we didn't see what was open."
Rookie Kevin Boyle earned his second straight win of the season in net for San Diego after earning his first career AHL win and shutout in Thursday’s contest against Texas. The New Jersey native stopped a combined 59 of 60 shots between the two games to earn the night’s First Star honors.
1. Boyle (SD)
2. Ranford (TEX)
3. Thompson (SD)
W - Boyle
L - Lagace
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars