TEXAS STARS

Stars drop back-to-back games this weekend

Texas dropped to fourth place in the Central Division early in the season

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Coming into the weekend having won three straight games, the Stars hit a wall on Friday and Saturday in losses to the Chicago Wolves and San Jose Barracuda.

Texas hosted the two Western Conference foes and dropped both halves of the back-to-back feature, falling 4-3 on Friday to Chicago and getting trounced by San Jose on Saturday, 6-1.

The Stars dropped to fourth place in the Central Division early in the season. 

Forward Denis Gurianov added to his team-leading point total with a goal and two assists over the weekend, while Michael Mersch found the back of the net twice to lead the Stars.

The Stars lost for the first time in four games on Friday despite firing a game-high 14 shots in the final frame.

A newly-formed top line garnered much attention for the Stars in the Friday matchup. With center Justin Dowling out of the Texas lineup due to recall with Dallas, Roope Hintz joined line-one mainstays Gurianov and Mersch atop the Stars' depth chart.

The line was instantly successful and scored all three goals on the night. Hintz struck first with a first-period goal, but the Stars quickly went down 2-1 before Gurianov got on the board with a wrist shot from the left boards. Gurianov set a new franchise record for consecutive games with a goal on Friday, with six.

Mersch jammed one home to give Texas a 3-2 lead, but Stars' goaltender Landon Bow fell victim to costly turnovers on defense and allowed two third period goals to Wolves forwards Brandon Pirri and Daniel Carr to give Chicago a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.

"You're not going to win every game," Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said after the loss on Friday. "The effort was there, the result wasn't, but it was pretty darn close."

Mersch gave Texas a brief lead in the early in Sturday's game when he deflected a point shot from Gurianov past Barracuda starter Antoine Bibeau. 

San Jose took the lead for good one minute later. Jayden Halbgewachs scored on a net-front scramble with Stars starting goaltender Colton Point on his chest, equalizing the game at a goal apiece. Keaton Middleton's slap shot gave San Jose the lead just a minute after the first goal, as the rookie defenseman scored his first career goal.

The Stars walked to the locker room facing a 2-1 deficit at the end of the frame, but a San Jose offensive explosion awaited them in the second period. In the middle of chasing Point out of his crease after allowing five goals on 17 shots, Manuel Wiederer, Jeremy Roy, Nick DeSimone, and Maxim Letunov scored in the middle 20 minutes to give the visitors a 6-1 lead.

Bow relieved Point and allowed a goal on two shots against. 

"You don't want to give up points in your home building, obviously," Laxdal said Saturday. "But we have to pick ourselves up and get going. (This weekend) was kind of a learning process in our game. If we want to continue to make fundamentally lazy plays on both sides of the puck, we're gonna pay the price for it."

The Stars travel to California to face off against the Ontario Reign on Nov. 1 and the Bakersfield Condors on Nov. 3 before returning to Cedar Park to play in-state rivals San Antonio on Nov. 10.

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