Friday, April 26, 2019

Texas Stars Season Recap: Worst Game of the Season Contest Has More Than a Few Entries

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
"Take out the trash" is a phrase often used in media organizations to refer to putting out stories that you don't want anyone to read on a Friday afternoon. We decided to twist that around and talk about some of the garbage that the Texas Stars had in their season this Friday morning.

That's right, it's time for season superlatives. We're kicking off with a negative one, and it's our only one. We'll also be covering best game, best performance and MVP. But, for today, we're getting started with the worst game of the season. There are a few candidates that we discussed, but staff writer Ryan Pennington was adamant that he had covered the clear winner. Let's start with the runners up.

Texas Stars Lose Fifth Straight, Complete Winless Road Trip with Loss in Tucson
January 23, 2019 - Texas 0 at Tucson 4

This was a stinging defeat for Texas. Already in a four-game winless skid on the road trip and eight game road losing streak overall, everything sort of fell apart in a 4-0 shutout loss in Tucson. Landon Bow stopped just three of six shots before being pulled. The offense never went anywhere, and a third period penalty parade killed any chance to gain momentum in the game. These were key points in the season that Texas didn't collect. It was deflating overall in the arc of the January to February span that GM Scott White told us last week that he believes were the death knell of the season.

Rockford Slips By Texas 4-3 in Shootout, Collecting Key Standings Points
April 6, 2019 - Texas 2 vs. Rockford 3 (SO)

In the end, even collecting the extra point out of Rockford on this evening wouldn't have gotten them into the playoffs on its own. However, the deflating nature of the loss in front of a sellout crowd, especially after Texas led 3-2 late in the contest, was a key element. Rockford was playing for its playoff life, an ultimately fruitless battle, and bested Texas on their home ice. This was more a season flow choice and honestly might have something to do with a recency bias. However, it wasn't a great game and overall put Texas in a rough spot to make the postseason.

Texas Stars Miss Playoffs, Close Season with 3-1 Loss to Rampage
April 13, 2019 - Texas 1 vs. San Antonio 3

The final game of the season. Texas had to win and get help to make it into the playoffs. Just before the end of the second period, Milwaukee closed the book on a 5-0 win against Grand Rapids, and the Stars were eliminated from the postseason. The third period was a disaster for Texas. For the record, this was the game that Texas head coach Derek Laxdal called the worst of the season. "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." Texas went 0-for-7 on the power play and allowed a shorthanded goal as well. It was a rough way to end the season without a doubt.

And now the winner...

Wolves Blow Out Texas 6-1 in Chicago Day Game
December 18, 2018 - Texas 1 at Chicago 6
I'm just going to copy in the opening paragraph of Ryan's recap to give you a feel for this day game in Chicago, which we are deeming the worst of the season.
Right from the drop of the puck, today's game was in the hands of the Wolves. In the first six minutes, Chicago delighted the home crowd with three straight goals. The second and third came just nine seconds apart and truly set Texas on its heels. The final, almost predestined score, was 6-1.
Those first three goals delighted the home crowd of over 12,000 screaming children. Suffice to say if you blocked off some time out of your work day to listen to this game, you didn't miss lunch. You probably cut out after the second media timeout. This was one of the few games that Texas was out of in the first period this year.

Next week, we're looking at best games and more.

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