Saturday, April 13, 2019

Texas Stars Miss Playoffs, Close Season with 3-1 Loss to Rampage

(Credit: Taylor Sammarco/Texas Stars)
No matter the outcome of tonight's game, the Texas Stars knew their playoff fate just after the end of the second period. With Milwaukee's commanding 5-0 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Stars were officially eliminated from the postseason. On the ice in Cedar Park, the Stars fell 3-1 in what Coach Laxdal called the 'worst game' they had played all year.

"I think you saw the final result of a grind down the stretch finally catching up with our guys," Coach Laxdal said postgame. "I think it was a combination of the grind and that we'd asked so much of these guys down the stretch to stay in the race."

In the past ten years, it's been a rare occurrence in Cedar Park to have truly meaningless hockey be played. Ultimately, Texas only had twenty minutes of inconsequential hockey tonight, the final frame.

Much like the Dallas game tonight, the power play opportunities and the lack of scoring therein were a huge difference in the contest. Texas went 0-for-7 on the night while San Antonio collected a power play goal and a shorty to vault ahead of the Stars in the final scoring.

Rhett Gardner had the only Texas tally in the game, beating Jared Coreau on a slick backhand in the first. It was Gardner's fourth of the season and certainly set him up for a fantastic 2019-20 as he joins the club full time in the fall.

"It's been a great learning experience for me," said Gardner. "That's why I came down here, to learn and soak everything in."

Rhett Gardner's goal
Adam Mascherin had two chance in the game on odd-man rushes where he went for the pretty pass instead of shooting the puck, something that has plagued Texas a good deal this year. The first pass was off the mark behind his man and the second was broken up by San Antonio.

The Rampage got on the board early in the second period, tying the contest at one. Heading into the third tied at one, Texas squandered the opportunity to go out on a high note with the home fans, allowing a power play tally and a shorthanded marker.

Laxdal added, "It's a tough way to go out with a full building on game 76, but you can't ask any more of your guys. I think we got everything out of them throughout the 76 games. Unfortunately, we didn't make the playoffs."

Rhett Gardner summarized the takeaways of the end of season closed door team meeting: "Don't waste a day. We talked about how every win is so important. The games in January and February come back to bite you late in the season and just don't waste a day whether it be summer training or games."

Many of the Dallas-contracted players for Texas will head up I-35 to join the NHL's Stars as black aces for their postseason run. Brad McClure is the only player on the Texas roster eligible for the postseason in Idaho. It's unknown if he will head down.

Watch this space for season breakdowns over the next few weeks and a new look and feel coming later in the offseason. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Tonight's lines:
Mersch-Gardner-Condra
Caamano-L'Esperance-Gurianov
Mascherin-Dellandrea-McClure
Melnick-Damiani-Hanna

Heatherington-Hansson
Bayreuther-Hanley
Nyberg-Gleason

Oettinger

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Morin (upper body)
Cecconi (undisclosed)
Point, Markison, Hargrove, Cuglietta (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 5,998.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - April 13 2019

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