Storybook Ending Slips from Grasp, Manitoba over Texas

The Texas Stars (12-15-5-3) almost pulled off the impossible with a goal by Curtis McKenzie with 1 second remaining to force overtime against the Manitoba Moose (25-11-2-1).  But sloppy defense by the Stars allowed a quick goal by the Moose, giving Manitoba a 3-2 victory. 

Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham tried to put a positive spin on the loss, saying “We have points in 8 of our last 9 games.  So, we’ve been playing a strong stretch of hockey.” 

Coach-speak aside, Texas has only won 4 of its last 10 games and the last place team struggles to remain relevant in a season that is all but over.

Understating the obvious, Graham said “At the end of the day, I don’t think we were at our best tonight, despite an exciting finish.” 

Special teams failed Texas.  The Stars failed to convert on 8 man-advantage opportunities and allow the Moose to convert on 1-of-4 chances.  The Stars are 7th in the conference in power play conversion and 12th in penalty kills. 

“Unfortunately, sometimes when it hits a roadblock it hits a roadblock, and it did.”  Graham regarding the power play performance. 

Joel L’Esperance put Texas on top early in the first period with a shot from the top of the left face-off circle.  Ty Pelton-Byce tied the game in the closing seconds of the period on a shot from close in against goalkeeper Matt Jurusik. 

Cole Maier gave Manitoba the lead midway through the middle frame on a point-blank shot. 

Texas pulled it goalkeeper with 2:08 remaining the game, enabling McKenzie’s game-tying goal. 

The Moose’s Jimmy Oligny scored the game-winning goal at 1:08 into the overtime period.    

Manitoba goaltender Mikhail (18-7-0) earned the win, making 22 saves on 24 shots-on-goal.  Texas goalie Matt Jurusik (4-1-2) suffered the loss, allowing 3 goals against 27 shots.  

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