Texas Stars rally late to tie, but fall in shootout

The Texas Stars found some goal scoring Saturday night. It wasn’t enough to get them a win, but they did get a point. The Stars scored two goals in the final two minutes – including a dramatic game-tying goal at the buzzer – to overcome a 4-2 deficit and force overtime, but eventually fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Lake Erie Monsters at Cedar Park Center.

The Stars, who had dropped their last three games in regulation, are now 3-6-0-1 on the season.

“Whenever it goes into a shootout it can go either way. For us it was good to get the one point,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “Another half a second later and we don’t get any points. We would have loved to have had two points, but we got one.”

The Stars trailed 4-2 late in the game but scored twice in the final 2:03 to tie the game. Cody Eakin scored off a scramble in front of the net with 2:03 remaining to make it a 4-3 game.

Then, with Campbell out of the net for the extra attacker and the Stars on a power play, Matt Fraser scored off a backhand shot just as time was expiring to tie the game at 4-4.

“It was kind of a lucky play behind the net. It was nice to get a bounce and have one go our way ,” said Fraser.

After a scoreless overtime, the Stars and Monsters headed to a shootout. Lake Erie tallied three times against Stars goalie Jack Campbell and only Reilly Smith scored for Texas.

“The shootout is always such a toss-up, but we worked hard tonight and battled hard,” said Fraser. “We’ve got to take the positives from that.”

The Stars dominated the first period, outshooting the Monsters 21-4 but the game was tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

Lake Erie struck on their first shot of the game when Luke Walker won a race for the puck along the right wall and then beat Campbell with a shot from the right circle 4:26 into the contest.

The Stars killed off a Lake Erie power play a short time later and then ramped up the pressure when they went on their first power play of the night. They had several good chances, but couldn’t get a puck past Lake Erie goalie Calvin Pickard.

They finally broke through late in the first when they went on a 1:00 five-on-three power play. Fraser ripped a shot from the right circle that found the top corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1.

The Stars had another 1:14 five-on-three power play later in the first and it carried over into the second period. The Stars didn’t cash in on that chance, and a short time later the Monsters took the lead when Bryan Lerg beat Campbell with a shot from the right circle on a two-on-one rush.

The Stars drew even with 4:48 left in the second when Mike Hedden set up Tomas Vincour, who had his first shot hit the post but then put the rebound past Pickard to knot the game at 2-2.

Campbell came up big late in the second, making a lunging glove save to keep it a 2-2 game heading into the third period.

But Lake Erie scored two goals 14 seconds apart in the third period to open a 4-2 lead. Mark Sgarbossa scored off a rebound at the 6:36 mark to give the Monsters a 3-2 lead and then Brad Malone banged home a rebound off the rush at the 6:50 mark to make it 4-2.

That set the stage for the Stars late rally to get a point out of the game.

“The point is huge,” said Fraser. “We would have liked two, but we’ll take the one right now.”

Jordie Benn injured

The Stars lost defenseman Jordie Benn late in the third period when he slipped during a fight with Lake Erie’s Paul Carey and appeared to hit his head on the boards near the team benches. Benn appeared confused as he was helped to his feet and eventually taken to the locker room.

Asked for an update on Benn after the game, Texas coach Willie Desjardins had this to say: “He’ll certainly be out for a little bit.”

Notes

*The Stars outshot Lake Erie 49-27 in the game.

*Cody Eakin led Texas with eight shots on goal. Matt Fraser was next with seven shots.

*The Stars scored twice on the power play in the game. They had scored three times on the power play in their first nine games.

*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill.

Texas lineup

R. Smith-Eakin-Vincour
Fraser-Morin-Sceviour
Wathier-Petersen-Chiasson
Hedden-Roussel-Vause

Barker-Fortunus
Benn-Oleksiak
Dillon-Sloan

Campbell (starter)
Nilstorp (backup)

Scratches: Glennie, Nemeth, Gazdic, A. Smith

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