|(Credit: Texas Stars)|
There are some nights where the game is amazing. Even as a media member, you don't want the contest to end because it is just fun to watch. Take note that 'fun to watch' doesn't always mean team you cover is winning. It only means that it's an enjoyable game.
Tonight was not that night.
Texas got drastically outshot and outchanced tonight against an Iowa team that seems, on paper, to be inferior to this Texas squad. The Stars lost and badly, getting outscored 9-2 over the last two games. Forty minutes of either contest would have been enough to decide the whole thing.
"You don't need to overanalyze tonight's game," said head coach Neil Graham. "Tonight we weren't nearly good enough, and they deserve the two points, top to bottom for 60. I wouldn't necessarily say that was the case in their prior two victories."
The Stars are now 2-6-2 in their last ten and have won just one game out of each of their last three series.
Texas's goals against in the first period were self-inflicted wounds. On both, they had possession in their own zone but could not cleanly get the puck out and saw it end up in the back of their net. Those two came less than 30 seconds apart.
Coach Graham really broke the plays down in postgame. It's clear that the moments are coachable and right there, but it is difficult to do that with such limited practice time this year. I wanted to include the breakdown of the first goal against to really show what is happening in the play.
"We dropped down as a strong-side winger, and we've got to get our feet moving north. We banked one up to our own wing. The low forward tried to get in the lane on it and then we lost position at the net. The strong side point shot, nothing crazy no east west. We need to control sticks, we need to get a box out, and if you do that you're going to bail out the mistake that we saw in the wall play."
It's just a big part of who Iowa is as a team. Julius Honka noted, "They're a high pressure team. They were dumping the puck a lot, and they were coming in at us hard."
Adam Mascherin did score in the very same minute to take a share of the AHL's scoring lead but it wasn't enough. The Stars ceded three goals in the second period. With Colton Point recalled to Dallas and athletic trainer Mike DeGaetano sitting the bench as emergency backup, Neil Graham couldn't even pull Sholl for the change in momentum. The club was outshot 25-4 in the middle frame, and that's no typo.
Julius Honka would score one more late in the contest, his first of the year, to set the final at 5-2. Overall, it was inconsequential.
Texas gets two days off before playing again in Colorado on Tuesday for a four-in-six segment.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Slaker, Porco, Louis, Kawaguchi, Barteaux, L. Martin, M. Martin, Scheel (scratch)