Aside from his All-Star performance, it was that sort of weekend for Matt Fraser and the Texas Stars. (Credit: Steven Christy)
The Texas Stars (20-20-1-2, 43 pts, #13 Western Conference) saw their three game winning streak come to a crashing halt this week with two straight losses on the road. Friday night's game saw six goals against and the first pull for Andrew Raycroft on the season. The surging San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers) became winners of six straight with the W. League leading Oklahoma City (Edmonton Oilers) beat up on Texas on Saturday, throwing 44 shots at Raycroft for a 3-1 win.
As the Stars hit the All-Star break, it is clear that there is a huge amount of parity in the bottom half of the standings. Only four points separate eighth from fifteenth in the West; in the East, it's just five. Absolutely no one is out of the playoff race at this point.
By my math, the Stars need forty points in their final thirty-three games to keep pace with the current eighth place finisher. That's a record of 20-13, assuming no OT or SO losses, which have been rare for Texas this year anyways. Among those 33 games are 17 against the division, and only ten are against clubs not currently on pace to make the playoffs. The going's about to get real tough.
More inside on this week's games and injuries to Sawada, Tousignant and Lukowich...
Despite nearly a week's rest, Texas's three game winning streak came to an end Friday at the hands of San Antonio Rampage, who extended their own streak to six straight. There really isn't a lot to say about a game that ends with a 6-2 final and was 3-0 after only the first period. Andrew Raycroft was pulled for the first time after allowing five goals on only twenty shots. Texas got goals from Tomas Vincour and Angelo Esposito. Esposito was one of few bright spots in the game, getting two points against his former club.
It was a tough luck loss for Texas Saturday as the goaltenders for both teams played spectacularly well. Raycroft had a whopping 42 saves on 44 shots and David LeNeveu 22 of 23. Oklahoma City got goals from Dylan Yeo on a point shot and Ryan Keller on a wrister, adding an empty netter from Hunter Tremblay. Texas got a single tally from Francis Wathier, assisted by Brendan Connolly and Tomas Vincour.
Fraser at the All-Star Game
Matt Fraser participated in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday evening in Atlantic City, which the West won in a shootout 8-7. Fraser had an assist in regulation and scored the decisive shootout winning goal against Tyson Sexsmith.
Stars Assign Hauswirth
Texas returned Jake Hauswirth to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the CHL this week as Vincour is now with the team again. Hauswirth had one assist in eleven games played with Texas.
The Week Ahead
The Stars have two games on the schedule this week. Thursday will see them travel down I-10 to the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) and then they will return home for a Saturday matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
This week finds three Stars on the IR. Raymond Sawada is still out with no timetable for a return after being injured in a game against Grand Rapids two weeks ago. Mathieu Tousignant is nearing a return with a hand injury. Finally, Brad Lukowich missed both games this weekend with a bruised lung from last week's game against Houston.