Sinkewich Scores First AHL Goal; Morin Adds Three Points
CHARLOTTE, NC – Russ Sinkewich scored his first career AHL goal and Travis Morin added three more points to his AHL-leading total (46), but the Texas Stars were unable to rally from behind for the third straight game and lost to the Charlotte Checkers 4-3 Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
For the second straight night the Checkers scored first, this time it was Matthew Pistilli’s back-side shot that just crawled over the goal line at 8:12 to put Charlotte ahead 1-0. Five minutes later Chris Terry took a penalty for slashing and put the AHL’s top-rated power play on the ice for the first time. Cashing in on a beautiful passing sequence, Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie combined to set up Colton Sceviour for a snap shot from the low slot that beat goaltender Mike Murphy through the pads to tie the game. It was Sceviour’s career best 22nd goal of the season, which is also the top goal total in the AHL, assisted by McKenzie and Morin. As Sceviour was putting the puck in the net, Checkers forward Aaron Palushaj took a hooking penalty, which put the Stars’ lethal power play right back on the ice. It took 45 seconds for that same power play unit to score again, this time Morin found the net, assisted by Sceviour and Chris Mueller at 13:53. In that 45-second span, Texas had scored two power play goals, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.
In the second period, the Stars’ third power play of the night was not as fruitful for the visitors. Catching Texas on the bad line change, Nicolas Blanchard and A.J. Jenks skated in on a two-on-none rush on goaltender Josh Robinson and exchanged passes before Blanchard tucked the puck into the open net at 5:02. Another defensive zone breakdown, this time on a Checkers power play, led to Charlotte retaking the lead 3-2. Eluding both defensemen along the boards, Pistilli skated in unmarked on Robinson and scored his second goal of the night at 9:55.
Charlotte added to its lead at 4:44 of the third period when defenseman Beau Schmitz’s shot from the point eluded a screened Robinson for a 4-2 advantage. Texas cut the lead in half four minutes later when defenseman Russ Sinkewich, playing in his 69th career AHL game, blasted in a shot from the blue line for his first career AHL goal. Morin and McKenzie both assisted on the tally, which made the score 4-3. The Stars tried to rally back for the third straight game, but this time the comeback would fall just short.
Mike Murphy finished the game with 32 saves on 35 shots to record his second win of the season in goal for Charlotte. Josh Robinson stopped 24-of-28 shots in his sixth appearance of the year for Texas, but suffered his second loss of the year (3-2-0). The Stars out-shot the Checkers 35-28 and went 2-for-7 on the power play, while Charlotte finished 1-for-3 with the man-advantage.
With their three-game road trip completed, the Texas Stars now return home to host the West Division-leading Abbotsford Heat on Friday, January 10th with a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. The January 10th game against the Heat is a $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night and is the Stars Cell Phone Dot giveaway. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
Photo credit: Mike Lappan