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Roadrunners stymied by Stars in 2-0 shutout loss

By: Alexander Kinkopf
 
Photo: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars            
 
The Roadrunners were held scoreless for the second time this season Friday night, falling to the Texas Stars by a 2-0 final at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
 
Tucson has failed to score more than one goal in six of its previous eight contests, going 1-5-1-1 during that stretch.
 
Hunter Miska got the call in net, making his first start since February 2 and just his second since he made 21 saves in the Roadrunners’ 6-3 win over the Stars on December 21 at Tucson Arena.
 
The 23-year-old second-year netminder, who stopped 27-of-29 shots faced overall, was busy from the get-go; the Stars fired away for 16 shots during the first period alone.
 
 
“Miska played well, he kept us in there,” said Michael Bunting, who returned to the team’s lineup tonight. “That could have been a totally different game. We’re not going to win if we can’t score, and for him to hold them to two goals, I think he played awesome, you can’t say anything bad about his game.”
 
Texas struck for its first goal with 12:07 remaining in the second period when Robbie Payne buried a shot high to the blocker side to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.
 
Miska had stopped the first 22 shots he faced.
 
The Stars’ lethal power play, which came into the night ranked second in the AHL with a 23.9% success rate, converted with just under five minutes to play in the middle frame when Michael Mersch deposited a loose rebound to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.
 
The Roadrunners outshot the Stars by a 12-4 margin in the third, but were unable to get a puck past Texas’ Philippe Desrosiers.
 
“I think we’ve got to play like that all three periods,” Bunting added when asked of the team’s strong third period. “When you don’t [play well] during the first two, and go out and play well in the third, you can’t win a hockey game. We’ve got to pick it up, play like [we did in the third], and bring it into tomorrow.”
 
Miska, despite a solid performance, suffered his seventh loss of the season.
 
The teams will meet for the final time this regular season on Saturday evening at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 6:00 PM MST.
 
Photo: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars