Last week in this space, we talked about some franchise records that had fallen this season for the Texas Stars (27-33-2-2, 58 pts, #15 Western Conference). This week, we are also talking about a franchise record broken, consecutive games lost. With their fifth straight, Texas broke that record on Monday night.
Texas has been plagued by bad defensive zone coverage and endemic lack of finish in the offensive zone. "Everybody needs to [step up]," said Coach Pyle. "We give up too many easy goals and situations where you have a way to win and find a way to lose."
For Dallas fans, the big story is amateur tryout contracts. Jack Campbell should join Texas today and Austin Smith as late as Wednesday. Taylor Vause, a signing out of the WHL, played in his first pro game on Monday night and could sign an ELC with Dallas for next season.
As to the ice time for the ATOs: "If they're going to work hard, they'll play as much as we can possibly play them. Obviously the guys [here] right now aren't getting it done, so we'll take a look at the new guys as much as possible."
Pyle added, "Campbell will definitely be getting starts."
Coach Pyle has been a quote machine this past week so I'll close with this one before sending it to the jump:
"We don't deserve the playoffs. I've said from day one: we're riverboat gamblers. You win by the sword; you die by the sword. We deserve what we've got. We've earned the position we're in, even with injuries and callups we've had chances to win. We put ourselves in a position to win and then we don't follow through because we don't have guys committed to the team."
More on a four game week and what's coming along next week after the jump...
The return trip to the Cedar Park Center for the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) went just their way, as they got revenge over the Stars for their OT loss a week ago with a 5-2 regulation win tonight. Texas got down early, allowing two goals in the first five minutes, and never really recovered in the game. "You either have bounces with you all game or you don't, and we obviously didn't," said Colton Sceviour.
Team commitment to defense was a big issue in the game as Texas allowed numerous odd-man rushes. Tyler Beskorowany deserves credit for the score not being 10-2 given the "sloppy" play in front of him. "I'd just like us to take a step forward and take care of the puck better," said Coach Pyle. "We need a commitment there and we don't have it."
Texas got goals from Brenden Dillon and Matt Fraser.
The Stars came out to a two goal lead in the first and led after the second 3-2 but ultimately fell 4-3 in regulation to the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers), the #1 team in the Western Conference. The loss marked their first regulation loss when leading after two on the season. Brenden Dillon picked up a goal and an assist and Matt Fraser added his 30th of the year as Texas fell 27-31-2-2 on the season. Mike Hedden had a goal for Texas as well. Tyler Beskorowany took the loss with 32 saves.
Tonight, the Oklahoma City Barons showed Texas why they are a favorite for the Calder Cup this year. "They've got four good lines and got goals from their third and fourth lines tonight, which is huge," said Coach Pyle. The Stars once again got behind early, which has been typical this season. "We got behind tonight again and we had chances to get back into it."
The power play, despite going 2/7 on the night, didn't score at the right times. Texas went 0/5 on the power play in the first and second and trailed 4-1 by the time they collected their first PPG. "We were getting chances, but they weren't finding their ways through," said Stars center Travis Morin. "You can move it around the outside and look good, but you have to get people in front of the net."
The Stars got goals from Shawn Weller, Colton Sceviour and Francis Wathier.
The Texas Stars set an unfortunate franchise record Monday night with a loss to the Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames). The club has now lost five straight games, their previous record being four. "We're going to start working harder in practice," said Coach Pyle. "If we're not working hard enough in games, we'll do it in practice." (Implying bag skates)
Texas got an early lead but lost it in the second and never regained their footing. Colton Sceviour had both of Texas's goals on the night, his 18th and 19th of the year. His penalty shot in the first, which he scored on, was Texas' first penalty shot of the year.
The Week Ahead
After four games in seven days last week, Texas gets a light week, hitting the road for two. First on Friday, they will play their last game of the season at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. On Sunday, they will close out the season series with the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) in Toronto.
Mathieu Tousignant, Maxime Fortunus and Stephen Schultz all remain on the IR for now.