Ray Sawada, skating here against the Barons, had a goal and an assist this weekend. (Credit: Texas Stars)
This was not a good week for the Texas Stars (1-2-0-0, 2 pts, #11 Western). After putting up seven goals on the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) in their season opener, Texas dropped two games by a total score of 15-3 to the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) and those same Barons. Despite that bit of disappointment, it's early in the season. As any good hockey coach would say, "it's just one game".
There are a positives to look at for the team. Among them is the team's record on the power play. Even after an 0/6 performance in Saturday's game, Texas has scored on 6 of their 18 opportunities for a 33.3% power play percentage. The Stars have yet to allow a power play goal at home and are 80% on the PK overall in the young season.
Brenden Dillon, who scored his first pro goal on Friday, is tied for the team lead in scoring with Dan Spang. Travis Morin became the franchise's all-time scoring leader with two points in the loss to Houston. He is four goals away from becoming the franchise's goal scoring leader as well.
More inside about each game and the injury report, which concerns a recently assigned Dallas prospect...
Last year's defending Western Conference champs came to visit Cedar Park Center this past Friday. Texas led early on a goal from Brenden Dillon, assisted by Ray Sawada and Travis Morin. It would be their only lead of the game, however, as some defensive missteps led to Houston goals that buried the team. "You've got to make sure you take care of the puck against a team like that," said Coach Pyle. "Because when they get opportunities, they're going to score."
Ray Sawada picked up a goal on the night as well with a power play tally in the second. However, David McIntyre's two tallies with goals from Warren Peters, Casey Wellman, and an empty netter from Jed Ortmeyer closed out the night.
Coach Pyle felt that things needed to improve more still on the PP after two long 5-on-3s went by without a goal. "We could have taken more control [with the power play] and were undisciplined at times," said Pyle. "And that's my fault. I'm the guy that needs to make sure the guys understand the discipline part of it."
The Barons did not forget last week's 7-0 game and gave as good as they got in the home opener at the Cox Center. Tyler Beskorowany started the game, his first of the season. He allowed the first 4 goals in just over a period of work, including 3 goals in a span of 97 seconds in the first period.
The onslaught continued as Richard Bachman took the reins in the second. Bachman allowed five goals of his own and Beskorowany would be placed back into the game to start the third. Francis Wathier was the only Texas goal scorer with assists from Dan Spang and Brad Lukowich.
Having not seen the game in person or on video, it is difficult to say where things went wrong for the Stars. However, when the score is 10-1, it's often easier to highlight the things that went well. The only positives I can see in the game are Brad Lukowich's astounding even plus-minus despite the score and Texas's shot advantage in the third period. Otherwise, it's a game the players would rather forget and the coaches will make sure they never do.
The Stars set (at least) three defensive records in the loss: goals against total (10), goals against in a period (6), and margin of defeat (9).
The Week Ahead
Texas comes home to play their first game of the season against the new-look San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers) on Thursday. The Rampage have changed affiliations from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Panthers, which means a new stock of prospects and coaching staff. The Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues) will visit the Cedar Park Center on Saturday for the Stars' annual Pink in the Rink event.
Mathieu Tousignant returned from the IR to play in both of this week's contests. However, Scott Glennie did not make either of the Stars' contests this weekend. There are a number of reasons why this could be. First of all, when you look at the lineup, who do you take out to place Glennie on the ice? Everyone out there deserves a spot, but so does Glennie for the sake of his development. Additionally, he might not have had enough time to practice with the team and learn those systems since he hasn't skated for several weeks.