Dallas Stars prospects couldn't hold a 4-2 third period lead and fell, 5-4, in a shootout to the New York Rangers Saturday at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
The Stars who scored three straight goals in the second period to take the 4-2 lead saw the Rangers bounce back in the final 20 minutes and tie the game with 34.9 seconds left in regulation to force the extra playing time.
"I thought the guys played hard," said Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who is coaching the Dallas prospects at the tournament. "Played a team with a lot of speed and a lot of high-end skill. We got down early, battled back and had a 4-2 lead. They got a bit of a bounce on their third goal. I thought their goaltender was very good. He kept them in the game."
The Stars outshot the Rangers 40-32, including 16-8 in the second period. The Stars scored three times in the second, but it could have been worse for the Rangers, but goaltender Brandon Halverson came up with several big saves, including a spectacular one on Stars forward Cole Ully, to keep New York within striking distance.
Grayson Pawlenchuk had one goal and one assist for the Stars. Ully, Mike McMurtry and Connor Chatham also scored. Henrik Kiviaho got the start in goal and stopped 28 of 32 shots in regulation and overtime, but he had a rough shootout.
After Ully was turned away by Halverson, Kiviaho appeared to stop New York's Jimmy Vesey but the puck never stopped rolling, eventually trickled over the goal line and was counted as a good goal.
"I thought Hank was pretty solid, but he got a tough break on the shootout goal," Laxdal said. "The one ref waved it off and the other one called it a goal. You never know, maybe Hank quits on it because he waves it off."
Stars forward Devin Shore was up next and hit the post, and New York's Malte Stromwall then scored to secure the victory for the Rangers.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead at the 14:43 mark of the first period when Ully scored off a blast from the right circle with the Stars on the power play for his third goal in two games.
The Stars got into penalty trouble late in the first and early in the second, giving the Rangers a lengthy 5-on-3 power play. The Rangers cashed in on both ends to take a 2-1 lead. Stromwall scored during a scramble in front of the Dallas net on the two-man advantage to tie the game 1:25 into the second and Robin Kovacs scored on a breakaway on the 5-on-4 just 67 seconds later to make it a 2-1 game.
But the Stars bounced back with three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead. Pawlenchuk set up Chatham off the rush to tie the game 2-2 at 11:21 of the second. Pawlenchuk scored off a rebound at 17:42 to give Dallas a 3-2 lead.
"I really liked the effort of our fourth line," Laxdal said of Pawlenchuk, Chatham and Cordell James, all free agent invites. "I thought they created a lot of energy and did a lot of good things throughout the game."
With 24 seconds left in the second, Denis Gurianov skated down the left wing and centered the puck to McMurtry, who gave the Stars a 4-2 lead.
But the Rangers bounced back in the third, outshooting the Stars 17-8 and tallying twice to tie the game. Stromwall scored his second of the game on a shot from the right circle off the rush to make it 4-3 at 7:06 of the third. The Rangers then tied it on a Cristoval Nieves goal with the goalie pulled and an extra attacker on the ice with 34.9 seconds remaining.
The Stars had a 4-on-3 power play in 3-on-3 overtime, but couldn't cash in, and that sent the game to the shootout, where the Rangers won it.
The Stars, who have one win and one shootout loss at the tournament, have Sunday off. They play Carolina Monday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time.
Notes: Shore feels 100 percent
*Stars forward prospect Devin Shore's two games this weekend in Traverse City are his first in nine months. Shore suffered a shoulder injury last December that required surgery, and he missed the final 51 games of the season. Two games into the NHL Prospect Tournament, Shore is feeling fine.
"The last thing I am thinking about is the shoulder," Shore said. "I like that I am not thinking about it in the corners, going to the net. It's not in the back of my mind at all. The legs feel pretty good; I am making some plays out there. It's been nine months, and you don't know what to expect. I am just happy to get some games going again."
The Stars like what they have seen from Shore, who has been centering the team's top line at the tournament with Remi Elie and Cole Ully on his wings.
*Among those at the tournament watching the Dallas prospects play: Stars president Jim Lites, GM Jim Nill, special advisor to the GM Les Jackson, assistant GMs Scott White and Mark Janko, head coach Lindy Ruff, assistant coaches Curt Fraser and James Patrick, director of goalie development Mike Valley, player development coordinators Rich Peverley and J.J. McQueen, player relations coordinator Stan Tugolukov, director of amateur scouting Joe McDonnell, director of European scouting Kari Takko, head professional scout Paul McIntosh and several of the teams scouts.
*Through two games, Cole Ully leads the Stars in goals (3) and shots on goal (10).
Remi Elie - Devin Shore - Cole Ully
Nick Caamano - Mike McMurtry - Denis Gurianov
Samuel Laberge - Ethan Szypula - Austin Glover
Grayson Pawlenchuk - Cordell James - Connor Chatham
Ludwig Bystrom - Niklas Hansson
Ondrej Vala - Brandon Anselmini
Gordon Ballhorn - Miro Karjalainen
Scratched: Philippe Desrosiers, Chris Martenet, Jordan Topping
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.