|Condors goalie Nick Ellis stopped 44 of 46 shots.
(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
"I really thought the guys put a solid effort in start to finish, probably our best 60 minutes of the year," said Coach Laxdal. "We had a few breakdowns, but we cleaned up a lot of areas. The guys deserved a better fate tonight."
The team spent 45 minutes in video sessions this morning to clean up last night's issues. The result was a contest that saw them give up just 17 shots and only seven scoring chances. Given the stout defense, it is imperative that the Stars get a solid effort from their goaltenders and they did not get that tonight. Including tonight's game, both of Texas's goalies now sport identical .894 save percentages.
Laxdal intoned, "Our goaltending has to get better. If you don't have a goaltender in any league, you're not going to win many games. We have to get some better performance [from our goaltenders]."
Texas came out firing with a 10-2 shots advantage in just the first 8 minutes of the game. The period turned on a disallowed goal by Austin Fyten. Branden Troock went hard to the net while Fyten collected a rebound for the seemingly-good goal. "I thought it was a weak call. The stick was there, but it didn't interfere with the goalie's push. [Condors' goalie Nick Ellis had] already pushed across, and Fyten came in for the rebound."
There was no review at all on the play and the score stayed at 0-0. A few minutes later, Bakersfield caught two breaks. On the power play for a delay of game call, Scott Allen broke open the scoring with just the third Condors shot of the game. Their 5th shot was also a goal and it was 2-0 in a hurry.
Brandon DeFazio noted the bench reaction after the turn of events, "It was really disheartening considering how hard we were working. Everything seemed to be going our way. You feel like you're going to come back and things are going to be fine, but obviously we fell short."
Denis Gurianov would score on the power play off a nice tip play on the shot from Mattias Backman, setting things at 2-1 after twenty.
The second period was a repeat, with two goals for Bakersfield and one for Texas. Josh Currie cut across the ice right to left and beat Bow for the 3-1 lead. The Stars got distracted after taking the body a bit too much up ice and didn't have anyone covering the forward.
Texas earned another chance on the weekend at their 5-on-3, this time for 69 seconds. Brandon DeFazio lit the lamp to cut the lead in half at 3-2. However, the captain, Ryan Hamilton, answered back with a tip on a point shot for the 4-2 score.
In the final frame, the Stars held Bakersfield to a single shot on goal while pelting Nick Ellis with 15 of their own. Despite numerous chances, Ellis stymied each. "He's a really quick goalie side to side and he competed well," said DeFazio.
Postgame, Coach Laxdal assessed his team at the break, "Every game is a playoff game for us and we're expending a lot of energy to get back in the games. We're chasing them."
Now, the Stars can add another team to the chase as Bakersfield's win pushes them to 6th place in the Pacific. Just behind them in seventh is Texas.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Honka (call up)
Herbert, Anselmini, Van Brabant (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 6,863, the first sellout of the season for the Texas Stars.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Bakersfield - January 28 2017