Comeback Falls Short as IceHogs Edge Stars 5-4

Comeback Falls Short as IceHogs Edge Stars 5-4

Feb 28, 2020

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, fell to the Rockford IceHogs 5-4 in a battle down to the very last second. Texas net three unanswered goals in the late stages of the third period to threaten a comeback, but could not find the equalizer in the final two minutes of the game. 


Rockford rallied for a pair of first period goals in a five-minute span to take an early advantage. Dylan McLaughlin carried the puck into the zone with speed and dished it to Philipp Kurashev, who was waiting in the slot. The forward then sent a quick shot toward Landon Bow and the puck bounced off the post and behind the goal line. Shortly thereafter, Garrett Mitchell widened the gap to 2-0 after grabbing a rebound in front of the net and fired a quick shot through Bow’s legs. 


Reece Scarlett responded, scoring for Texas as Rhett Gardner dished him the puck at the top corner. Scarlett then snuck a wrist shot past the left side of Colin Delia to cut the IceHogs lead in half. 


The IceHogs padded their lead with a two-goal second period. Alexandre Fortin controlled the puck at the end wall and sent it up the ice to Nicolas Beaudin, who later made a cross ice pass to Joni Tuulola, who threw a shot toward Bow. Tyler Sikura then put his name on the scoresheet as he deflected the shot into the back of the net. Three minutes later, Nick Moutrey battled to escape Rockford’s defensive zone and cleared the puck down center ice. Fortin then used his speed to beat a Texas defender for a breakaway chance. Ultimately, he went over Bow’s shoulder for the IceHogs’ fourth goal of the game. 


Facing a 4-1 deficit, Jake Oettinger took over in the Stars goal and held off Rockford for the remainder of the period stopping 15 total shots in the frame, including a series of incredible saves on the penalty kill. 


Midway through the third period, Rockford struck once again to extend their lead to 5-1. Following a sprawling save by Oettinger, Anton Wedin grabbed the puck and snuck it around the back of the net for Brandon Hagel. With the netminder recovering from chaos in front, Hagel buried his 19th goal of the season in front of the left side of the net. 


Texas’ offense ignited in the late half of the contest and Anthony Louis got the goal-surge started. Louis grabbed ahold of a loose puck in the zone and slid it to Reece Scarlett who then batted it off to Riley Tufte. With Louis driving the net, Tufte tapped the puck over for his linemate to rip a goal over Delia’s shoulder. Moments later, Tufte was whistled for slashing, but Rhett Gardner quickly tallied a shorthanded goal to keep Texas in the fight. Michael Mersch battled behind the net on the penalty kill tucked a shot off Delia’s pads that landed on Gardner’s stick. With Delia lying prone on the ice, Gardner slid a goal under his pad and tucked it into the corner of the net. As the clock ticked down, Joel L’Esperance brought the Stars within one on a cross-ice one-timer from Jason Robertson on the power play. 


Texas saw an opportunity to level the score at five as they were awarded their fifth power play of the night with only 41 seconds remaining. The IceHogs defense eventually held off the Stars on the late opportunity to sneak out of the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park with a win. Overall, Texas went 1-for-5 on the power play and successfully killed each of their five penalties while netting their shorthanded goal.


Delia earned the win as he stopped 30 of Texas’ 34 shots to go 4-0-0 against the Stars this season. Oettinger suffered the loss after allowing only one goal on the 23 shots he faced. Additionally, Bow surrendered four goals on 10 shots in his start.


The Stars meet the Grand Rapids Griffins tomorrow night, Saturday, Feb. 29 to close out the weekend and then face the Toronto Marlies on Monday, Mar. 2 in their rescheduled game. Puck drop for both nights is 7 p.m.

Written By Stevie Golding
Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski

Game Info Shots Goaltenders 3 Stars (Xerox Business Solutions Southwest)
Boxscore TEX: 34 W: Collin Delia  (RFD) 1: Alexandre Fortin (RFD)
Photo RFD: 33 L: Jake Oettinger (TEX) 2: Rhett Gardner (TEX)
Video     3: Reese Scarlett (TEX)
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