CEDAR PARK, TX – Brett Ritchie scored a goal on his very first shot on goal in his professional debut and Mike Commodore also lit the lamp in his first game for Texas, but the Oklahoma City Barons scored three unanswered to defeat the Stars 3-2 Friday night at Cedar Park Center.
Texas stormed out of the gates and scored two goals in the opening 3:07 of the contest. Brett Ritchie, making his professional and AHL debut, gave the Stars a 1-0 lead as he scored his first pro goal and point on his first pro shot. Mike Hedden found Ritchie in a crowded slot and the rookie slipped a backhander past Oklahoma City goaltender Yann Danis at 2:06 to put Texas in front. Mike Commodore, making his first appearance in a Stars uniform, extended the advantage to 2-0 just 61 seconds later with his first goal of the year. Colton Sceviour set up Commodore with a drop pass in the left faceoff circle and the veteran ripped a wrister through the pads of Danis to tally his first goal since November 22, 2010 at Nashville as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reilly Smith added the second helper on the goal, extending his point and assist streak to six straight games. Texas dominated play throughout the first period, not allowing a Barons shot for the opening ten minutes. The Stars headed to the break with a two-goal edge and out-shooting the visitors 13-6.
Oklahoma City was given the contest’s first power play opportunity at 12:06 of the second session when Joe Morrow was sent to the box for hooking. Texas netminder Jack Campbell made a few excellent saves in one sequence to keep the Barons off the board and help the Stars kill off the penalty. However, Oklahoma City used the momentum from the man advantage to cut the deficit to one when Curtis Hamilton slapped the puck by a diving Campbell on a breakaway at 15:22. The Barons had a strong middle frame, out-shooting Texas 15-6.
Oklahoma City evened the score at two just after a Mike Hedden hooking penalty expired at 15:11 of the third period. The Stars were unable to clear the puck as the man advantage came to an end and Philippe Cornet one-timed a deflected cross-slot pass from Mark Arcobello into the open net at the far post. The game appeared to be headed for overtime when Tanner House’s shot from the left wing half-wall beat Campbell and gave the Barons a 3-2 lead with just 14.6 seconds remaining, stunning both the Stars and the Cedar Park faithful. Texas did not have enough time to mount a final attack and Oklahoma City escaped with a 3-2 road victory.
Barons starter Yann Danis turned away 26-of-28 Stars shots to pick up his 21st win of the season. Texas starter Jack Campbell stopped 26-of-29 Oklahoma City shots in a losing effort. The visitors outshot the Stars 29-28 and were 0-for-2 on the power play, while Texas did not have a power play opportunity. This was the 12th and final meeting of the season between the division rivals, with the Stars going 4-7-0-1 against the Barons this year. It was just the second time all season that Texas did not have at least one power play in a game. The other contest came on March 1st when neither the Stars nor the Chicago Wolves were given a man-advantage. In addition to Ritchie and Commodore, defensemen Cameron Gaunce and Kevin Connauton also made their Texas debuts.
The Stars conclude their three-game home stand on Saturday, April 6th as they host the Hamilton Bulldogs for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff at Cedar Park Center. Saturday’s game is another Family Four Pack Night and the first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a Stars Car Windshield Sun Shade. 2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.