The Charlotte Checkers gave the Texas Stars multiple chances to tie the game in a 3-1 loss, but goaltender Drew MacIntyre and some lackadaisical play by the Stars got in the way.
MacIntyre stopped 34 of 35 shots and did some of his best work in the second and third periods, when Texas fired 25 shots.
The larceny started with a minute remaining in the second period. MacIntyre robbed Connor Hardowa with his glove on a point-blank shot, leaving the rookie looking skyward after he thought he had scored his first American Hockey League goal.
“There’s probably that one and a couple other ones throughout the game,” Charlotte coach Jeff Daniels said. “Those are the types of saves that save the game and keep you in the lead. He’s been doing that all year for us.”
In the third period, MacIntyre held down the fort with sharp saves on Derek Meech and Matej Stransky when Texas had a power play and then had pulled the goalie for an extra attacker.
The Stars started off without much energy, prompting coach Derek Laxdal to bench a couple of players.
Then with a 5-on-3 power play for 30 seconds late in the game, Texas lost a crucial faceoff and was held without a shot.
“We just talked about that” in the locker room, Laxdal said. “Guys have got to bear down and be ready for that (faceoff). Whatever it takes. Tie it up, keep it alive … we probably got what we deserved tonight.
“Let’s be honest: We’re not a dynamic scoring team. We’ve got grind out a 3-1 win like we did the other night. It’s funny how we have to go after the same guys. … I’m not going to name names. It’s some habits that have probably been in place for a few years, and they got away with it last year since there was so much depth.”
Texas had multiple sticks break during key scoring chances Saturday, including a one-timer by Maxime Fortunus that turned into an empty net goal for Charlotte with five seconds remaining.
Similar bounces went against Texas on Charlotte’s other goals, canceling out Greg Rallo’s power-play tally midway through the third period.
In the first period a seemingly weak shot by Rasmus Rissanen ricocheted through a maize of legs and sticks before it slithered past Anders Lindback.
Andrew Rowe eventually got credit for the goal, his first of the season. In the second period Rowe was the beneficiary of another lucky bounce as Charlotte took a 2-0 lead.
Right after he stepped out of the penalty box, Rowe collected a wayward Texas’ pass for a breakaway. Lindback initially stopped him but Jared Staal cleaned up the rebound for his fourth goal of the year.