CEDAR PARK, Texas – Texas outshot Rockford 44-24, but the Stars had an early 2-0 lead evaporate in a 4-3 loss to the IceHogs Sunday night in front of 3,166 fans at Cedar Park Center.
Starting the season in red hot form, center Travis Morin opened the scoring for Texas by firing a shot from the right circle past the blocker of Rockford goaltender Kent Simpson into the left corner of the net at 6:32. Rookie Curtis McKenzie doubled the Stars’ lead with a power play goal four minutes later for his first career professional goal, assisted by Morin and Matej Stransky. Rockford was quick to answer as forward Jeremy Morin fired a wrist shot from just above the left circle into the top right corner of the net at 11:33. The IceHogs upped the ante with a power play goal when defenseman Adam Clendening blasted a shot from the point off the inside of the right post and in at 14:47 to level the score at two.
Texas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp came up with a huge save at 9:44 of the second period by denying Rockford’s Alex Broadhurst penalty shot. However, just 28 second later, Klas Dahlbeck gave the IceHogs a 3-2 lead with a slap shot from the blue line. It only took 70 seconds for Texas to respond. Mike Hedden and Brett Ritchie combined for a slew of rebound opportunities during one sequence around the crease before Hedden eventually slammed home the puck to tie the game at three. It was Hedden’s first goal of the season and was assisted by Ritchie and Justin Dowling at 11:22. Late in the period Rockford took back the lead when Mark McNeill scored an unassisted goal, beating Nilstorp high to the near post.
The Stars turned up the heat on Simpson and the IceHogs in the third period, out-shooting their opponents 18-6, but failed to come up with an equalizer.
Kent Simpson finished the game with 41 saves on 44 shots to record his first win of the season in goal for Rockford. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 20-of-24 shots and took the loss in his first start of the year for Texas. The Stars out-shot the IceHogs 44-24 and went 1-for-5 on the power play; Rockford was 1-for-2 with the man-advantage.