Texas Upended by Iowa Power Play in 5-4 LossDec 31, 2019
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, closed out the 2019 calendar on the wrong end of a 5-4 game at Wells Fargo Arena against the Iowa Wild. It was the first time since Feb. 19, 2018 that the Stars fell to the wild in regulation. Texas is now 3-1-0-1 against the Wild in five meetings this season.
Iowa was first to find the scoresheet in the game as Sam Anas stole the puck from behind the Stars net, turning the chance into his ninth goal of the season. The winger quickly spun the puck around the back of the net and slammed the chance into the net less than three minutes into the game. It was the only goal that the Wild scored at even strength in the game.
Joel L’Esperance helped the Stars counter, netting his team-leading 15th of the season at 12:18. On a delayed penalty call, the Stars controlled the pace of play in the offensive zone and L’Esperance joined the play from the bench as Jake Oettinger traded with him for the extra skater. A shot from Reece Scarlett hit a body in front of the net and the Stars’ leading scorer tucked the puck through Kaapo Kahkonen’s legs for the goal. He is tied for sixth-most in the AHL this season.
Nico Sturm net the first of four power play goals from the Wild, who were perfect on the power play in the game. Brandon Duhaime kicked the puck to Sturm in the left circle before hammering it into the net for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
The Stars tied the game for the second time in the game, netting the goal in the second period in transition. On an odd-man rush, Anthony Louis found his opposite winger Joel Kiviranta who ripped a shot over the glove of Kahkonen and scored his third goal in as many games to even the score at 2-2.
Back to back power play goals from Gerry Mayhew and Kyle Rau put a haze over the Stars effort late in the second period. Texas managed a late goal to stay within one goal by the second intermission. After keeping the Wild stuck in the defensive zone, Iowa made a poor change and led the Stars on a 4-on-2 chance. Michael Mersch received a cross-ice pass from Tye Felhaber before roofing a shot short side on the Wild netminder for his 11th of the season.
It took until the third period for the Stars to earn a power play chance but they came up empty on their only opportunity in the game. That did not stop them from evening the score a third time. Emil Djuse stripped the puck from Mayhew at the Stars defensive blue line and led the charge up the ice. Dishing the puck over to Brad McClure, Djuse broke to the right post and retrieved a backhand pass from McClure before tucking it past Kahkonen’s outreached toe with 10:18 remaining in the period.
A late penalty call on Josh Melnick would foil the Stars comeback effort as the Wild finished their power play performance with 1:12 left to play. Brennan Menell slipped past the Stars defense before tucking in the game-winner past Oettinger.
The Stars netminder took the loss with 20 saves while Kahkonen rebounded for his fifth win in six games on a 20-save victory. The Stars and Wild meet for the sixth time this season for a noon game at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 20, 2020.
The Stars begin the 2020 calendar year with a game in Rosemont, Illinois at Allstate Arena. Texas faces the Chicago Wolves on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. for the fourth meeting of the season between the teams.
Photo Credit: Iowa Wild
|Game Info||Shots||Goaltenders||3 Stars (Xerox Business Solutions Southwest)|
|Boxscore||TEX: 24||W: Kaapo Kahkonen (IA)||1: Brennan Menell (IA)|
|Photo||IA: 25||L: Jake Oettinger (TEX)||2: Kyle Rau (IA)|
|Video||3: Sam Anas (IA)|