The Texas Stars outplayed the Oklahoma City Barons in both games at home over the weekend, yet left with just a 1-1 record as the series headed up north. In Game 3, the Barons dominated play as the Stars' inability to finish on the chances afforded them came back to haunt them as they lost 4-0 and now sit 1-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Per Hundred Degree Hockey:
Texas came out with a solid effort in the first period, getting the best chances of the early going. However, the Barons outshot the Stars 11-8 as the first period ended with a scoreless tie.
OKC put two on the board in the second, both as good as power play goals, though only one technically was. Toni Rajala scored first with a floater of a shot from the point that got through traffic in front. Texas had a solid penalty kill, including some shorthanded opportunities, but the goal came just after the penalty expired. Benn had just stepped onto the ice.
Jordie Benn took another penalty just a few minutes later, and Anton Lander cashed in to make it 2-0. His sniper shot was assisted by Hartikainen and Marincin.
Texas has found some holes in the OKC defense but has yet to really test the Barons offensively, unable to generate many second-chance opportunities and relying on luck around the net more than pure skill in hopes of scoring. This can be attributed to the lack of center depth on the team being exploited, even with Travis Morin's return to the top line, as the Stars possess a ton of grit and work ethic and not enough pure skill to open up the passing lanes across the middle where the best chances are found.
More worrying is the lack of any sort of attack on the power play, which culminated with a squandering of a four-minute power play in the third period. Kevin Connauton is playing very well in this series but can't do it all from the goal line with the man-advantage -- there are just too many issues on the power play for one players to solve.
The Texas Stars did not play well in Game 3 but should be expected to rebound strongly on Wednesday night. Puck drops at 7 p.m. CT.
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