Just three games were on the schedule for the Texas Stars (15-16-1-2, 33 pts, #14 Western Conference) this week, and the Stars got four of a possible six points. It's been a rough year so far for the Cedar Park faithful, so Stars' fans will take the points even if three of the four come against the worst team in the league, the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks).
Right now, Texas sits in the 14th spot in the conference. Doing the math, Texas will need to improve their winning percentage from .485 to .583 to make up for their current deficit and pull into the 8th seed by the end of the season. That's a 25-17 mark for those keeping track at home. It wouldn't be impossible if not for their record against the West Division, the teams they face the most.
Texas is 7-12-0-2 against the West and 8-4-1-0 against everyone else. Having strong teams in your division can be a beatdown sometimes. Dallas Stars fans are familiar with this from strong Anaheim, San Jose and LA teams over the past few years. For Texas, the demons they face are the OKC Barons (Edmonton Oilers), Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames) and Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild). Texas is 5-9-0-1 against the big three.
Texas has to win those big division games to get back in the mix of things. Of the remaining 42 games, 21 are against the division. It doesn't get an easier from here.
Inside we'll look at each game and get injury reports on three Dallas contract players on the mend...
Andrew Raycroft took his first AHL start since a rehab start in Providence in 2006. He dropped the decision by the same score, 4-3 in the shootout. Texas never led in the game but also never trailed by more than one. Texas gave up an uncharacteristic three PPGs and got goals from Colton Sceviour, Matt Fraser (SHG), and Eric Godard.
The Stars went 0/3 in the shootout while San Antonio aced all their chances for the win. Raycroft had 27 saves in the losing effort.
Two power play goals and a clean sheet on the penalty kill helped Texas to a 4-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs Saturday in Cedar Park. "Tonight we finally got some power play goals," said Coach Pyle. "I thought we played really well, weathered the storm in the third. They're a tough team to shut down." The Stars captain, Brad Lukowich, chipped in a goal and two assists, earning him the #1 Star of the night.
Francis Wathier, Ryan Garbutt and Matt Fraser also chipped in goals while Colton Sceviour quietly had a three assist night. His play has really come along in the past few weeks. Raycroft stopped 25 of 27 in the win.
Texas ended the week in a disappointing loss to Rockford in OT. Texas scored three power play goals but allowed a shorthanded tally as well. The penalty kill was flawless until the overtime period, in which they allowed the game-winner. Scott Glennie picked up two goals and an assist in the game, and Brad Lukowich finished off a strong weekend with a goal and assist of his own.
Coach Pyle felt like the team played hard enough to win. "We scored five goals at home; we should win," he said. "With injuries, we don't make excuses. We just come out and battle hard every day."
Texas got goals from Scott Glennie (2), Matt Fraser, Brad Lukowich, and Ryan Garbutt. Tyler Beskorowany took the start, stopping 29 of 35 shots against.
Some Signings and Releases
Texas signed Allen Americans defenseman Mike Berube to a PTO while Jordie Benn is in Dallas. Texas released goalie Jimmy Spratt and forward Ian Lowe from PTOs as well. Both will return to the Idaho Steelheads. This leaves Andrew Raycroft and Tyler Beskorowany in a 1/1A situation for starting time in Texas.
Late Tuesday, Texas added Brendan Connolly, the #3 scorer in the ECHL on a PTO.
The Week Ahead
Texas has one more home game in this stand before heading out on the road. The Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames) come to town on Wednesday. Texas then hits the road for a four game set. They start Friday against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) and go to the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) on Saturday. With a day off in between, they then take on the same Rockford IceHogs on Monday in an afternoon game. Start time is 1 PM CST, so get the feed going while you work.
Raymond Sawada continues to be out with an injury but could be back within the next two weeks. Mathieu Tousignant is out at least another week with a hand injury. Dan Spang missed Sunday's game against Rockford with an upper body issue but is not expected to miss any more games this coming week. Scott Glennie was taken out of Sunday's game for the back half of the third period after getting crushed along the boards. He was favoring one leg and seemed to be testing out his knee on the ice during commercial timeouts. No word on his condition for this week.