The Heat’s downfall on Friday evening was their unruly play during the second period, which resulted in a heavy momentum shift in favour of the Stars. Having spent a large portion of the second period on the penalty kill, the Heat were greatly outshot by their opponents – led by Alex Chiasson and Cody Eakin who were first and second stars of the game, respectively.
“It forces a lot of your top guys to have to play a lot of big minutes,” explained Joe Piskula, “and the third and fourth lines aren’t getting out there, so they’re [not being able] to go the bench just ruins the flow of play.”
After Heat defenseman Zach McKelvie took a double minor penalty for roughing in the second period, Stars’ Reilly Smith opened the scoring for his team chipping the puck over Danny Taylor on the power play.
The Heat would respond, however, after Brady Lamb blasted a shot from the blueline to tie the game 1-1. Teddy Bears fell to the ice as 3700 fans threw the bears in support of the annual charity tradition at Heat games and across the sport of hockey.
With less than four minutes left in the second period, Taylor Vause collected the puck in the slot with Heat and Stars players scrambling in the crease and shot it over Danny Taylor’s shoulder to put Texas up 2-1.
The Stars would extend their lead two minutes later after Alex Chiasson gathered the puck in the corner, skated out to the hash marks and backhanded a shot on net that bounced off of Cody Eakin and in to put the Stars up 3-1.
In the third period, the two teams shared chances with the Heat outshooting their opponents 12-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t beat the Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp.
“Sometimes you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. They played solid. They’re a good team,” said head coach Troy Ward. “Losses are a part of our life and no one likes them, but we just have to regroup and we just need a little better energy, a little better mental energy. That was my angst tonight, we weren’t real sharp.”
The Heat hope to bounce back from the loss as they face the Texas Stars on Saturday night for the rematch.