|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
"I didn't like our effort tonight. I thought we were stale right from the get go. I thought they had a great effort and they wanted it more than we did. There were guys that worked hard but there weren't enough good efforts tonight."
While Texas only gave up 24 shots, they were high quality. Laxdal noted that Texas "basically gave [Chicago] all four goals" due to turnovers or other defensive lapses. "We had a lot of passengers tonight," he added.
Chicago got up early by two, putting Texas in a familiar but uncomfortable spot of playing from behind. Andrew Agozzino, who had missed last night's game with a suspension, had the 2-0 goal on the power play.
It was an incredibly uneven game as the first and third period were all Wolves, but the second period saw Texas with many opportunities and their only goal on the night. Ethan Werek scored his fifth of the year on a tip of a shot from Nick Ebert at 18:36. The Stars outshot Chicago in the second 11-4.
Texas could have easily blamed a depleted lineup. Julius Honka and Denis Gurianov both missed the game with injury while Matt Mangene served the first game of his six game suspension. Coach Laxdal was having none of it.
"You put twenty guys on the ice, and it's opportunity for other guys to step up in the lineup. We had a lot of passengers tonight. There were spotty moments but there wasn't enough effort. You have to give Bodnarchuk credit, he's been in the hospital for two days with his wife and he comes out an plays hard tonight. There's no excuse of the other guys. We didn't skate this morning, and we had all week off. It's just not good enough for this time of year."
Chicago's lead expanded in the final frame, aided by some Texas penalties that slowed any potential comeback progress. Turnovers by Texas led directly to goals by Brett Sterling and Conner Bleackley.
Andrew Bodnarchuk, who missed last night's game as his wife gave birth to their first child, agreed with the effort assessment.
"I think effort was the key to the game. Mistakes are going to happen, mental errors will happen, but effort level is something you can control. I don't think we had the effort we needed to win this game. When we bring that effort, we should have a chance to win every night. We can't let any slip away due to poor effort."
Texas now hits the road with an early morning flight Sunday to San Jose. The Barracuda are a buzzsaw right now, having just notched their 11th straight win. Texas will face them in a matinee game on Monday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Gurianov (lower body injury, day-to-day)
Honka (head, day-to-day)
Tonight's attendance was 6,422.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Chicago - February 18 2017