Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Reviewing the Texas Stars' Best Games of the Season

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Two weeks ago, we looked at the worst games of the season. After last night's outcome, it feels like a good time for an injection of positivity with the best games. In chronological order, here are some of the best...

Texas Stars Crush Rampage 8-1 with Balanced Attack
November 10, 2018 - Texas 8 vs. San Antonio 1

It's going to be a going trend here that a lot of the best games of the season were against San Antonio. It's almost not fair. It starts with this 8-1 affair in November. Texas got a hat trick from Erik Condra and four points out of Justin Dowling. With Morin, the trio combined for nine total points. Joel L'Esperance, Colton Hargrove and Colin Markison also scored as the Stars impressed a capacity crowd. Landon Bow also made 30 stops.

Mascherin's First Pro Hat Trick Headlines Heated 7-3 Win for Texas
November 25, 2018 - Texas 7 at San Antonio 3

Goals galore in San Antonio put this one in the conversation. Coming off a loss at home to the Rampage, Texas needed its depth players to step up and bring them across the line. They responded. Adam Mascherin notched a hat trick. Elgin Pearce and Brady Norrish scored their first goals of the season, and there were multi-point nights for depth players Shane Hanna and Robbie Payne. The game is also famous for Jordan Binnington's slash on Joel L'Esperance after the Stars rookie made it a 7-2 game. He was assessed a major and a game misconduct.

Erik Condra's Five Points Power Texas Stars to 7-4 Win Over Chicago Wolves
December 2, 2018 - Texas 7 at Chicago 4

Erik Condra's five-point night is absolutely in the conversation for the best individual performance of the season. At the end of a three-in-three weekend, Texas had plenty of gas in the tank to take the Wolves to task. Nick Caamano had a pair, as did Travis Morin. The top performance, however, came from Condra, who was in the midst of a fantastic points streak. This game was his eighth straight with points and pushed him to third in the league scoring table.

Key Timeout Spurs Texas Stars Past San Antonio Rampage 6-4
March 9, 2019 - Texas 6 at San Antonio 4

Texas had a 4-2 lead but gave it up late. A well-timed timeout by the Texas coaching staff helped to re-center the club and push them past in-state rival San Antonio 6-4. Denis Gurianov and Niklas Hansson each had three-point nights, and several others had two in the contest. Landon Bow picked up a rare road win, just his fifth of the season, stopping 22 shots. Texas got scoring from all over the lineup, including a game-winner from rookie Tony Calderone and the reappearance of the streaky scorer Adam Mascherin, who had two points. It is in the best of list because the Stars came back to win it and because they got contributions from all over the lineup.

Colton Hargrove's First Career Hat Trick Paces Texas to 6-3 Win Over Grand Rapids
March 20, 2019 - Texas 6 vs. Grand Rapids 3

This game was good for more than a few reasons. First, obviously the scoring line against a team like Grand Rapids is a big plus. Second, the fact that a depth player like Colton Hargrove scored a hat trick is a bonus as well. Finally, this was the first game where ATO depth started to affect the lineup. Ty Dellandra, Josh Melnick, Rhett Gardner and Joe Cecconi all made their professional debuts in the game. None looked out of place, and their debuts set a strong path forward for the coming year.

Jake Oettinger's Strong Debut, McClure's Hat Trick Lead Stars Past Wild 4-1
March 30, 2019 - Texas 4 at Iowa 1

A late season road trip to Iowa saw Texas capture all four points available. Brad McClure did his thing, scoring goals as he does to notch a hat trick, his first. Jake Oettinger made his professional debut just a few days after being bounced from the NCAA tournament. He stopped 23 of 24, aided by the depth offense ahead of him. These were huge points for the playoff race, helping to keep Texas in it right until the bitter end.

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