Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stars Losing Streak Stretches to 3 as San Diego Tops Texas 3-1

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Stars head coach Derek Laxdal's word may describe the current state of the team best: "in a funk." After a pair of wins to enter the Christmas break, the Stars have just two goals in three games against middling competition, resulting in three losses and a drop to sixth place in the division.

"We're not going to score four or five goals a night," said Laxdal. "We have to learn how to grind out a 1-0 game. The league tightens up second half. Right now our guys aren't dealing with it well, and we have to get better."

Texas got through the first period scoreless and gained the upper hand when Brendan Ranford put them up 1-0 int he second. The advantage didn't last long as Chris Wagner scored 27 seconds later to tie things at one all.

A few minutes later, Matej Stransky took a slashing penalty 200 feet from his own net and Remi Elie earned a cross-checking minor on the ensuing penalty kill. With a 5-on-3 power play loaded up, Stefan Noesen earned the game-winning goal.

"We had control of the game at 1-0 and took an undisciplined penalty with Stransky and another on the penalty kill with Elie and that got them back in the game. That's going to come back to bite you."

Even as they loaded up the San Diego power play seven times, the Stars had chances of their own but came up empty repeatedly.

"[Special teams] were the difference in the game," said defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. "They capitalized. We had opportunities to and didn't."

The Gulls would add another on the power play to start the third, which would set the final score. Maxime Lagace got the start, stopping 20 of 23 shots against him. Kevin Boyle was sterling for the Gulls again, stopping 37 of 38 tonight for a total of 59 of 60 overall in the pair of games.

Boyle's performance was in stark contrast to what Texas has gotten in net this season. He gave the Gulls a huge chance to win despite 38 shots against.

Coach Laxdal had a few things to say as well about the cohesiveness of his systems, noting that several players have been going rogue on systems. Laxdal noted, "The only way to get that out of them is not playing them on the power play, but they're good players who have to play there."

Texas has until Frida to tune up for a matchup with defending champions Cleveland.

Tonight's lines:
Ully-Morin-DeFazio
Ranford-Dickinson-Stransky
Smith-Dowling-Elie
Herbert-McMurtry-Fyten

Honka-Bystrom
Ebert-Stevenson
Bodnarchuk-Mangene

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman, Werek, (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Anselmini, Van Brabant (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,569.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - December 31 2016

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