Texas's Inexperience Shows in 4-2 Loss to San Antonio

The Texas Stars lost their third straight game on Friday night, this time at home against the rival San Antonio Rampage in a 4-2 decision. Diego Cuglietta and Rhett Gardner both found the back of the net for the Stars, but they could’ve used more contributions from the rest of the lineup.

“We need more from some of our veteran guys,” noted head coach Derek Laxdal. “We’ve got zero goals on some of the guys’ stats. If you look at the scoring chances, we didn’t generate a lot 5-on-5 in the second period. We’ve done a lot of teaching here the last three weeks. [Right now] it’s about implementation.”

(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

What was particularly frustrated for Laxdal was that the Stars were in a 1-1 game headed into the third period and couldn’t find the advantage, a familiar refrain in the young season.

“We’ve got some guys that are inexperienced. That’s where we’ve had some trouble--closing out games in the last four or five games. There’s a four or five minute time frame where the inexperience kicks in and we get stung. We have to get by that, and we have to learn from every minute that we play.”

Cuglietta’s goal from the slot opened the scoring for both teams nearly three minutes into the second period, but the Rampage got behind the Stars defense a couple shifts later for a back door tap-in.

The Stars also couldn’t stay out of the box in the middle frame, having to kill off three penalties which severely limited their opportunities on the attack.

“I thought our penalty kill did a good job managing. I think we gave up eight scoring chances in the second. I thought we battled through some adversity. Our goaltender was very good tonight, and he gave us a chance to win.”

Goaltender Landon Bow got the start in net, though he deserved a better fate for his effort. He finished the game with 28 saves on 32 shots.

Michael Mersch found the back of the net early in the third period, but the tally was immediately waived off for goaltender interference. Upon further examination, it was the right call as Adam Wilcox was clearly being pushed over by a Stars forward.

A few minutes later, Rampage forward Jake Walman had his shorthanded breakaway bid stopped by Bow. He would have the final say as he roofed one from the left circle on the next possession.

“Just the way it developed, we had three guys caught and [San Antonio] ended up getting the entry on the D zone. We had a young player make a mistake, not finding the read. They kind of gained the entry in the zone and scored their second goal.”

Austin Poganski cleaned up a loose puck in the slot to cash in on the power play and pushed the Rampage lead to 3-1.

Gardner scored a greasy goal on the power play six minutes later, but Texas wouldn’t threaten further. They emptied their net with a minute and a half in regulation and the Rampage easily found an empty netter.

“It’s a process with our group here,” Laxdal summarized. “We’ve got to keep on learning and tightening things up. We have to play the 2-1 or 3-2 games. We’re not firing on all cylinders right now to play a game that’s going to be a 5-4 or a 4-3 game.”

The Stars head to San Antonio tomorrow to complete the home and home set against the Rampage.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Felhaber, Jago (scratch)
Melnick, Heatherington (injured)
Hanley, Caamano (call-up)

Tonight’s attendance was 4,797.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - November 1 2019