Saturday, April 28, 2018

Texas Stars Prepping for Round 2 Against Tucson Roadrunners

(Credit: Andy Nieupski/Texas Stars)
With Tucson's 3-0 shutout of the San Jose Barracuda last night, the Texas Stars know their opponent for the second round. The Roadrunners, farm team for the Coyotes, are a tough draw. Texas beat Tucson once in the regular season, but it was their most recent matchup in the season series. Tucson won the division and the conference race handily, racking up 42 wins in a 68 game season.

"We’re the underdogs," said Texas head coach Derek Laxdal after practice this afternoon. "They have a lot of offensive, they skate well and they are creative in the offensive zone. They have the lowest goals against, and they defend really well."

The Stars have had a few days to rest and recover from their grueling four games in six days with Ontario. Laxdal noted it was nearly five games in six days with the double OT in Game 3.

Reflecting on the first series, Mike McKenna called out the adversity that was overcome. "We learned adversity more so than we even saw in the regular season. [In playoffs] the stakes are higher and teams are all on top of their games. Ontario's a very good hockey club so coming out of the games there, we should be proud of ourselves."

In the win, Coach Laxdal earned his first AHL playoff series victory in four years, something he reflected on today as well, "Coming form the [Western Hockey League] and we went to the finals three years in a row and taking four years to get the first playoff series win here, it just shows you how hard it is to win at the pro level."

Some other newcomers to the second round include some of the top players from Round 1 for Texas. Denis Gurianov scored the game winner in Game 4 and Roope Hintz set up more than a few crucial goals. Positive praise was also heaped on Gavin Bayreuther, "I thought Gavin really took a step in his play dealing with a heavy forecheck, cutbacks and moving pucks."

Coach Laxdal used the word resilient to describe his team heading into round two. McKenna agreed but added 'determined'.

"We have a lot of guys on this club, like almost every team, out to prove something at this level. Whether you’re 20 or 35 years old, there’s always something to prove. There’s always the next level, and there’s always the carrot at the end. We all want to win a Calder Cup so bad that determination is a big factor for us."

Other notes
  • Texas had a new face in practice: defenseman John Nyberg. The 2014 sixth-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars finished his season with Frolunda and has joined the Stars for the playoff run. He signed an ELC last season, so it's not an ATO. Coach Laxdal indicated Nyberg would travel with the team to Tucson. Texas will start with the same six they played with in Ontario but could slot in Nyberg if they need a change.
  • Lots of young kids were out at practice today. The Stars were at the Pond Hockey Club due to Disney on Ice at the H-E-B Center. Many signatures, pictures and fistbumps were given out by the Stars to their young fans.
Round 2 Schedule

Game 1 – Wednesday, May 2 – Texas at Tucson, 9:05 p.m. CST
Game 2 – Friday, May 4 – Texas at Tucson, 9:05 p.m. CST
Game 3 – Monday, May 7 – Tucson at Texas, 7 p.m. CST
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 9 – Tucson at Texas, 7 p.m. CST
*Game 5 – Friday, May 11 – Tucson at Texas, 7 p.m. CST
*Game 6 – Sunday, May 13 – Texas at Tucson, 9:05 p.m. CST
*Game 7 – Monday, May 14 – Texas at Tucson, 9:05 p.m. CST
*if necessary

2 comments:

  1. What was their regular season record vs Tucson? I see that Texas only beat them once, but how close were the rest of the games? Goals? Shots? Penalties?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That all sounds like really good content for a preview post. :-D

      I'd read the site tomorrow, if I were you.

      Delete

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