A frenetic Stars comeback couldn't continue into overtime.
Roope Hintz helped Texas rally from two goals down and tied the game with 6.4 seconds left, but the Cleveland Monsters scored two minutes into the extra period to beat the Stars 6-5 at home Friday night.
“There’s not much you tell them going to overtime, you just tell them about structure and details,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “We’ve had 22 or 23 overtimes this year, so you don’t need to say a lot.”
Texas still picked up a point in the tight race for the playoffs and are just a few percentage points behind the Stockton Heat for the fourth playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
Landon Bow made 37 saves in the loss. Texas was outshot 43-41 in the game.
The Stars finished 1-for-6 on the power play and allowed a pair of goals on five penalty kills.
“It was a loose game and we didn’t stick to our systems,” forward Sheldon Dries said. “It comes down to special teams. On the PK we need to get those kills and on the power play, we need to get those goals. It didn’t happen tonight and that’s the result.”
Cleveland opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game as Nathan Gerbe beat Bow with a snipe from the left side.
Tyler Kelleher jumped on a rebound in front of the net a couple of minutes later to score his first goal with Texas since being acquired from the Milwaukee Admirals in early February. The rookie has seven combined AHL goals this season.
Dries gave Texas its first lead of the game when he scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway midway through the opening period. But the Monsters tied the game with a shorthanded goal of their own five minutes later.
The Monsters took the lead with a power-play goal late in the first period and continued to roll with their second power-play goal of the game when Paul Bittner poked in a close-range shot early in the second period.
“You could see our guys grasp a little bit when we got down 4-2,” Laxdal said. “We’ve just focused on playing the way we need to play. That has to start by staying out of the penalty box. It’s taxing certain players on the penalty kill.”
Third-period goals by Reece Scarlett and Travis Morin were negated by a tip-in by Cleveland early in the period.
“We had a lot of positives tonight, but a lot of negatives as well,” Dries said. “We’ve got to have a short memory because Manitoba come in tomorrow and they beat us the other night here. It’s a gut check game for us for sure.”
Texas continues its four-game homestand with a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Manitoba Moose, which beat Texas 6-3 on Wednesday night. The Stars will have nearly a week off before returning to the ice at home against the San Antonio Rampage on March 23.
“We talked about controlling the emotions,” Laxdal said. “Your systems, your structures, none of that is going to work if you don’t control the emotion. Every shift, every whistle, every play that you make matters. We have to do the same thing tomorrow.”