The Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate Houston Aeros opened their preseason on Wednesday night with a lopsided 7-2 loss to the Texas Stars.
Special teams would prove to be the key to the matchup, as the Stars scored three power play goals in the first two periods (two of them coming on 5-on-3 advantages) and then burying the Aeros in the third period with four more goals.
For their part, the Aeros scored two even strength goals, one coming on a Carson McMillan wrist shot in the first period and one on a Nick Peterson backhand in the second. The Stars ultimately went four of seven on the power play, while the Aeros were 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
Despite giving up three power play tallies in the first two periods, the Aeros kept the game close through two periods, going into the second intermission trailing by just one. But the Stars scored three goals in the first half of the third period, and then added one last goal on a slap shot from the point in the game’s final minute.
Texas forward Francis Walthier was the game’s first star, posting two goals and two assists for a four-point night.
The Stars’ goaltender Jack Campbell picked up the win, stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced, while Houston’s Darcy Kuemper was tagged with the loss, stopping just 18 of 25 shots.
The Aeros continue their preseason on October 5th and 6th when they play in Oklahoma City. The AHL regular season starts on Saturday, October 13th as Houston hosts the Charlotte Checkers. Wild prospects Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, and others will make their 2012-13 AHL debut.