Friday, November 21, 2014

San Antonio Embarrasses Texas on Home Ice, 7-1

Five-game winless skid drops Texas Stars to ninth place in the Conference
San Antonio was a step ahead of Texas all night (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Stars fans were waiting patiently for the first Texas goal of the night to drown the ice with teddy bears for Operation Blue Santa. Unfortunately, that tally would be the only one of the night for the home side. In franchise history, the San Antonio Rampage had only won in regulation at Cedar Park Center four times before tonight. Icing a depleted lineup due to illness, the Texas Stars allowed the fifth regulation win for the Rampage tonight by a 7-1 final score. The loss stretched Texas' winless skid to five games and pushed them out of the top eight in the Conference.

Jack Campbell got his second straight start with Jussi Rynnas under the weather again. He wouldn't last the full game, getting pulled in the third period for Maxime Lagace. Campbell stopped 27 of 33 on the night. Especially with Rynnas out sick, this was not the type of performance that the Stars needed out of their starting goaltender.

It is unclear if the Stars were too beleaguered by the illness that is affecting the locker room or if this is the new normal. The Rampage seemed faster, hungrier and overall better than the Stars tonight. After so many years of giving the Rampage fits, is this the comeuppance year for Texas?

The Rampage struck early in each of the first two periods and scored on their first scoring chance of the night to boot. Connor Brickley got things started just 79 seconds into the game. His rebound goal, the third in a shot series against Campbell, put Texas on its heels immediately. It took seven minutes for the Stars to register their first shot on net. Texas would recover in the back half of the frame, assisted by some power play time to get the shot count up, but still trailed 1-0 at the first intermission.

Bobby Butler continued the scoring for San Antonio as he beat defenseman Maxime Fortunus off the opening faceoff and broke in on Campbell alone for the 2-0 lead. The Rampage continued to pile it on with a power play goal at the midpoint of the frame, a shot by Drew Shore off the skate of Connor Brickley for the 3-0 lead.

With the fans getting antsy for the teddy bear toss goal, Justin Dowling delivered. The Stars crashed Dan Ellis's net and put home a loose puck over the sprawled-out Ellis for their first goal of the night. It was a good answer goal, coming just 31 seconds after the power play tally for San Antonio.

Five minutes later though, Alex Petrovic would regain the three goal lead for the Rampage with his first of the year. The wrister from the slot put the Stars down by three heading to the third.

The Stars would have to kill off a major penalty to Matej Stransky in the third period and would not hold. Garrett Wilson and Brett Olsen would score to set the mark at 6-1 and end Jack Campbell's night. Maxime Lagace would fair no better, allowing a goal just a few minutes into his AHL career to Garrett Wilson again.

San Antonio would lay back at that point and keep the score at 7-1. The Stars will visit San Antonio on Sunday trying to regroup from this loss.

Tonight's lines:
Stransky-Dowling-Smith
Glennie-Morin-Ranford
Rallo-Faksa-Hulak
Troock-Root-Karlsson

Gaunce-Fortunus
Wrenn-Valentine
Honka-Meech

Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McKenzie, Klingberg, Jokipakka (call up)
Peters, Dalhuisen (scratched)
Rynnas, Ritchie, Henderson (illness)

Tonight's attendance was 5,754.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - November 21 2014

8 comments:

  1. Am I the only one who missed Dalhuisen's presence in front of the net tonight? I didn't see anyone between Campbell and the hash-marks. I really think they should have let Meech have another day of rest. He was on the ice for 4 of those goals. He's not okay yet.
    Campbell hasn't been the same this season either. What happened to the steady as stone goalie from the end of last season? Granted, some of the goals tonight were bad bounces, but not all of them. I hope he gets the coaching he needs to return back to his former glory.
    On a more positive note, good for Dowling! I'm so glad he's finding the back of the net with relative frequency this season! Big improvement from last season.

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  2. After a loss like that...while riding a winless streak and on the edge of the top eight in the conference (which I suppose matters the least being early, but still matters) I got to say opinions are forming of Laxdal. It's easy to make excuses why the Stars look bad but getting kicked in the head that bad at home by a team that also has excuses to play bad isn't promising.

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  3. Two things really stood out tonight:

    1) We are not a physical team. Time and again, our players pulled up rather than check the opposing team, which was all too happy to slam our players into the boards. Sure, we knocked them around a little bit, but not nearly enough to tire them out or get them off their game. If a team can come in and attack the puck without having to look over their shoulder, they can be very effective.

    2) Jack Campbell is not ready for prime time. He looked outright wobbly tonight, nearly tripping over his own net in the first minute of the game, and frequently come way too far out in front of the next (he makes Jonathan Quick look like a net hugger). I really wonder if this guy will be able to win the starting position this year.

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    Replies
    1. Texas hasn't been molded into a being a physical team. Really since Pyle took over and through the Willie years. Last year I thought that might be a problem but as it turned out we had an abundance of talent and many of the guys who "played big". Texas made it through two series with two very physical teams in the playoffs and that really validated that the template was a good one.

      However this year as we sit our talent level is down from last years. Our goaltending has been a weakness to the extent of the 2011-2012 season (Campbell reminded me of Besko tonight) and our coaching to this point really hasn't done anything to make them look anywhere near Willies level. I commented tonight while watching the game why don't the Stars keep a tough guy or two stashed in Idaho and bring them up for some of these more physical opponents. I really don't think the end of our bench is going to be a factor anyway.

      What "style" does Laxdal coach? I'm not meaning to come of critical but let's say with Gully it was obvious, Pyle it was obvious (people give Pyle crap but at the beginning of that season the Stars were a rather high flying offense but poor goaltending caused to many issues to maintain that style. Willie got better goaltending, and the high flying style worked. But under Laxdal this team isn't all that impressive on offensive (even our best players from last year), nor are they any good defensively and our goaltending is poor...and as you mentioned we don't really have a physical edge to us.

      A couple notes. I see Mckenzie is in Hartford, must of been assigned from NY. His stats aren't good. Maybe Dallas could work something out.

      Heddon has been removed from two teams in europe, doesn't look like he is playing. Getting that Hedden/Dowling line back together would be cool

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    2. Mueller in hartford...not Mckenzie

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  4. Seems to me that Laxdal is in far over his head. He has enough talent on this team to have a good product on the ice. We look out of sorts and have no structure. In the past, even when we played poorly, you could see the structure of what we were trying to do.

    Clearly, whatever Laxdal is doing, the players are not responding to it. He can't fix the goaltending issues but he sure needs to have this team not turning the puck over repeatedly in front of the net. These are the things we haven't seen here under Willie and Doug.

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  5. You all raise valid points and concerns but I think we need some patience. The team is already beat up injury wise and the flu bug that hit took a pretty major toll on the team. We still have guys playing injured Rallo and a few others. We do need the goalies to step up and some of that starts with better play on defense. We've lost 2 of our better defenseman to Dallas and I doubt we see them or McKenzie back. I agree with Carl that bringing Hedden back would add some veteran leadership to the squad. I didn't realize he had left his German team too.

    Combining all the above with a new staff and the Super Bowl winner hangover (see Seattle NFL) and I think it's going to be a rough go for a bit. Hopefully the team starts jelling soon and we grab a playoff spot make a run and who knows what happens from there.

    I'm hopeful it will but I guess we will all know too soon.

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  6. I told my crew before the game I didn't like this matchup and I hoped we could just get 1 goal so we can throw these bears. We were lucky to get that lone goal. It's like these guys have never played with each other before. Hard to believe this is the same Cup team (for the most part).

    I think that is the best SA team I've ever seen. They were faster and more aggressive. For a stretch there if you touched the puck you were gonna get hit. O'Brien kept running his mouth which aggravated me some reason. I wish someone would have accommodated him but alas we have nobody in that role going on 2 years now. But he lives in SA so I guess that's punishment enough.

    Lastly, I believe this is Campbell's last year on his EL deal. This was his year to shine and he's not giving the suits much to be excited about. As much as I like the guy, he's just not a #1 AHL goalie let alone NHL ready. I asked myself "I wonder what Nilstorp is up to these days?" Whatever it is, it's probably paying better than $1K a night, so he's not walking through the door anytime soon.

    -Brandon

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