Texas Stars allow six unanswered goals in loss to Cleveland

You would never know it by simply looking at the final 6-3 score in favor of Cleveland, but after looking like a rejuvenated team defensively on Friday, Texas laid an egg by blowing a three-goal lead in the last two periods.

Matej Stransky tallied his 20 goal of the year within the first several minutes. A breakout allowed him to rush up ice with just one opponent in front of him. He slammed the bobbling puck past the sprawling defender to give Texas the lead.

Cleveland counterattacked with one of the most dominant shifts I’ve seen ever seen. Gavin Bayreuther broke his stick, and Texas was stuck in their own zone for what felt like roughly two minutes.

Brandon DeFazio would follow it up by picking up a puck that was inadvertently turned over off a clearing attempt on the power play. With the puck on his backhand he went top shelf to beat Anton Forsberg for the 2-0 lead.

With 2:17 left in the first, Caleb Herbert executed a sneaky wraparound to beat Forsberg on just Texas’ 5th shot on goal for the 3-0 lead through one period of hockey.

In the second period, Marc Andrew Bergeron took a feed from Sonny Milano to beat Justin Peters from the right circle, ending Peters seven period shutout streak.

Cleveland kept tilting the ice in their favor as the middle frame settled in. Even when they were shorthanded, the Monsters managed multiple breakaway attempts (though they couldn’t capitalize).

However, on a delayed call Milano would fire a shot from behind the net to bank the puck off Peters’ back for the oddball, but effective tally, cutting the previous three goal lead to within one.

With 12 and change to go, Jordan Malleta found himself one on one with Peters after Texas tried too hard to keep the play in Cleveland’s zone. Malleta beat Peters five hole to tie the game.

With all the momentum on the Monsters side, luck would find itself another Cleveland ally. Justin Peters tried to play the puck behind his net, but it took an odd bounce that allowed Ryan Craig to clean up on the empty net.

Cleveland finally led, but it was well earned. Texas imploded after 20 minutes, eventually hitting 40 shots on goal. Milano and Zac Dalpe would tally empty netters to pour extra salt in the gaping wound.

On an observational note, Gavin Bayreuther and Julius Honka struggled this game. This isn’t to single them out, as the breakdowns were collective and shared. But as a matter of perspective, you could tell they’re struggling to get used to one another. Bayreuther in particular got beat on outside rushes on more than one occasion. Bayreuther has played aggressive, but not loose, so no one should consider this an indictment on the kid. Just growing pains.

Texas returns to action Wednesday against Tucson at 7:30.

Texas Stars Line Up

Brandon DeFazio – Jason Dickinson – Denis Gurianov

Ethan Werek – Travis Morin – Matej Stransky

Matt Mangene – Justin Dowling – Mark McNeil

Coly Ully – Austin Fyten – Caleb Herbert

Gavin Bayreuther – Julius Honka

Dillon Heatherington – Nick Ebert

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Darren Dietz

Justin Peters

Scratches: Bystrom, Smith, Hache, McMurtry, Stevenson

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