Stars come up short at home against Chicago Wolves

Texas dropped its third straight game and falls to fifth in the Pacific Division


Stars head coach Derek Laxdal thought his team deserved more Saturday night. 

Texas allowed four unanswered goals were on the wrong end of a few questionable decisions in its third straight defeat, a 4-1 loss at home to the Chicago Wolves that drops the Stars to fifth place in the Pacific Division.

“There were a couple major calls that didn’t go our way,” Laxdal said. “We probably earned one or two calls in the third period and they put their whistles away for some reason. It was a tough loss and I thought we deserved a better fate.”

Midway through the second period, Sam Laberge ended up on top of Chicago goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo leaving the goal wide open for Brent Regnar to hammer home a shot from the blue line that would’ve given Texas a 2-1 lead. 

It was ruled no goal.

Laxdal said from his point of view, Laberge was cross-checked onto the goalie, so if the goal was disallowed there should’ve been a penalty. And if there was no penalty call, the goal should’ve counted. 

“That should’ve been a goal,” Laxdal said. “The officiating crew shouldn’t be looking at the video and from our standpoint, we saw them looking at the video. They said they didn’t. That kind of changed the flow of the game.” 

Max French opened the scoring midway through the first period with his fourth goal of the season, poking in a pass from Austin Fyten. 

“(Fyten) made a great play,” French said. “We had a good rush and hew as driving the net and he was able to hit me backdoor as I crashed the net. I was looking forward to getting recalled, especially playing at home but I thought we played a good game.

Chicago equalized less than a minute later when Brandon Pirri collected a rebound in front of Stars goalie Landon Bow and sent the puck into the top corner. 

Pirri scored his second of the night with two and a half minutes left in the second period. With the Wolves up a man, his snipe from the blue line found the bottom corner of the goal. Chicago finished 1-of-4 on the power play, while Texas was 0-of-1.

Texas dominated the third period both in possession and offense, outshooting Chicago 9-3, tied for the fewest shots given up in franchise history. But the Stars couldn’t score on Kaskisuo, who made 24 saves in the win. 

The Wolves scored two empty-net goals late in the third period. 

“Every game down the stretch is a playoff game, but it doesn’t mean the whistles are put away,” Laxdal said. “If the team is working hard for a call, you’ve got to reward them. We had to keep the game close to have a chance and I think we did that.

“We’re trying to get our guys to stay off the refs and not yell at them and it’s frustrating because they’re seeing the other team get rewarded for the bench yelling. It kind of goes both ways and it’s part of the game.”

Their last time out, the Stars dropped a pair of road games to end the month of February, falling 4-3 in a shootout in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon and losing to the Rockford IceHogs 2-1 on Wednesday evening. 

Texas finishes the second of two straight back-to-back series’ with a trip down I-35 to meet up with the San Antonio Rampage Sunday at 3 p.m. Before returning home to face the Iowa Wild Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“Definitely look for a bounce back,” French said. “It comes back to execution. We’ve played them a lot this season and we have a few more games against them so we can get some points coming down the stretch.”

Follow @ByZachSmith and @HCNSports on Twitter for the latest news on all local sports. 

Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com