OKC Emerges Victorious in Final Visit to Cedar Park

Derek Hulak scores to stay hot for Stars despite loss
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Stars' sluggish start put them in a 3-1 hole after forty from which they would not recover. Despite a third period power play tally, Texas dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Barons.

"We've been pushing real strong on this segment," said Coach Laxdal. "But we came out flat tonight. We expected our group to have some good jump in the first period, but we didn't get our legs until the third period.

Texas and Oklahoma City had a sleepy start to the game, combining for just four shots in the first twelve minutes of the game.

"We were sluggish to begin the game," agreed Rallo. "Moving forward, we got better, but that's not good enough at this level."

Having not played since Thursday and getting Friday and Saturday off, the Stars' start was not ideal.

Laxdal added, "A typical Sunday game in the American League. I expected our team to have more energy than Oklahoma City. We didn't find our game until the third period and by theyn, it was too late."

"I didn't think Jussi [Rynnas] was sharp. Of the three goals, we should have had two of the three. Every game is tough for us. Every point we let go is going to hurt us at the end."

Tonight's game marked the final visit for the Oklahoma City squad, which is heading to Bakersfield, California next season.

The Barons opened the scoring in the final 80 seconds of the first period. Andrew Miller was left all alone in front of the net and potted his 16th of the year. It appeared that Texas would head to the room down 1-0 until Derek Hulak beat Laurent Brossoit just 38 seconds later. It was Hulak's 12th of the year and continues his hot 2015 campaign. He's scored 13 points since the new year began.

The second period was all OKC. Taylor Peters went to the box after seeing his stick ride up into the face of a Baron on the backcheck. On the ensuing faceoff, Brad Hunt put a puck off Stars' D Derek Meech and into the net through the pads of Rynnas.

Late in the frame, the Stars were guilty of a bad change, leaving Jujhar Khaira rushing in on a 2-on-1 against Rynnas. He snapped the puck far side and in as Maxime Fortunus defended the pass.

The Stars began the third period on the power play, and Greg Rallo cashed in. Meech's point shot tipped off Rallo's stick to the top-right corner for the 3-2 score.

"It's something we talked about, getting pucks to the net. Meech and I have practiced that a bit, finding that spot where he shoots for my stick, and I get it to the net. Tonight it worked out well."

Brossoit got lucky as much as he was good in the third. He got a fraction of a glove on a point-bank chance from Gemel Smith, another from Derek Hulak and a third from Julius Honka as the period wore on.

Late in the game, Texas attempted to gain the equalizer, earning a faceoff in the Barons' zone with 1:47 left in the third. The Stars won the faceoff and had pressure but did not pull Jussi Rynnas until just under 60 seconds remaining. Rynnas was ready to come off at 1:40 but was held back with the extended hand of Derek Laxdal.

The Stars got another faceoff with 19.2 left but could not pull out the tying goal. Texas stays in town to face San Antonio on Tuesday.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Jokipakka, Ritchie (call up)
Faille, Wrenn (scratch)
Henderson, Faksa (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,624.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Oklahoma City - February 8 2015


  1. Flat start is the understatement of all time. OKC played last night a day bussed up here they had excuses. We sat around 2+ days after a huge road win. How do you not come out firing for this game? The team showed zero emotions until the Rallo goal when Meech came to the bench and tried to fire them up. Nice effort but that failed too. I'm behind these guys win or lose but man they need to right this ship. 29 games left and I'm guessing we need to go 20 and 9 to have a playoff shot. No look of a 20 and 9 team that I see. One more home game then a huge road trip that will make or break this season.

  2. I didn't get there till the third, which maybe was kid of cool because I though we looked better.

    The Stars remain a little lucky that there is a clump of six or so teams very live for the last few slots in the playoffs. If they can get Rynnas on track and get and keep some bodies from Dallas I think they have a good chance, however things like not pulling the goalie tonight just makes you shake your head and wonder.

    I would like to see the Barons in the playoffs, we simply match up with them well and if there is a run in us they are the perfect opponent to start it off with.

  3. I understand Laxdal wants to use players who are good, but tonight was just ridiculous. It seemed like Morin was out every other shift. He was tired by the end of the 1st. Ranford didn't seem to help at all on that line either. Every time he had possession of the puck, he would dump it. Shouldn't the top line be able to bring it in deep and pass well? It's hard to believe that was the same line from the end of last season.
    I feel like Laxdal is making all the wrong choices during the game. He's being too cautious of taking penalties and pulling goalies, and not cautious enough on line changes. That last Baron goal was a joke. There was no reason for us to lose tonight. Up a man the whole game, and well rested.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I look forward to the day we have a competent coach who knows what to do with our players.

    1. Agree. Laxdal is just terrible in almost every way. I came into the season hopeful and he has been disappointing at every turn. We can't get rid of him fast enough.


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