Texas Stars Wrap Up Week Five and Six: Sitting on the Dock of the Bay(reuther)

After the team took a tumble down the standings, Gavin Bayreuther provided a necessary spark for the Texas Stars when he returned this past weekend.

The Texas Stars entered this weekend on a low note. After a successful start to the season, the team went 0-4 from October 26 to November 3, allowing at least four goals in each game. That streak of games got Colton Point, a 20-year-old rookie, sent down to the ECHL, saw Philippe Desrosiers promoted, and put Landon Bow on notice.

Bow posted just a .883 save percentage over the four games, although he was .909 when coming in for relief of Point. That still isn’t good enough to get the Stars some necessary wins, however, and he’ll need to get back to how he started this season to help get some points in the win column.

Point posted just a .800 save percentage in his two starts, and he’ll grow as a goaltender in the ECHL, perhaps for the rest of the season, dependent upon how Desrosiers performs. Desrosiers, aged 23, had a .911 in the ECHL and a 2.74 goals against average (those rank top 20 in both categories).

This streak of bad games is far from just being on the mind of the goaltenders, however. After a long streak of games with three or more goals, the Stars came up empty with just one against the San Jose Barracuda during a home game. They also didn’t score when they needed to against the Chicago Wolves.

Then, even missing significant players like Denis Gurianov, Dillon Heatherington, and Ben Gleason, the Stars went on a rampage against the San Antonio Rampage. It was an embarrassment of riches for one team, and embarrassment for the other. The final score was 8-1 in favor of the Stars. They scored three power play goals, saw goals from defensemen, and everybody on the lineup looked good.

The first indicator was likely Gavin Bayreuther starting the game, or, more specifically, starting the game less than a minute in with a shot from a point that deflected off Erik Condra. That was the first goal of the night, but far from the last.

Condra recorded a hat trick in the game, Bayreuther eventually got his own goal, and the Stars saw points from players they normally don’t. John Nyberg had two assists (zero points in the four games before), Joel L’Esperance had a goal and assist (zero points in the four), and Colin Markison had a goal (zero on the season beforehand).

That sparked a 4-2 game in the second night of a back-to-back. This should hopefully set the Stars up for better success in the future.

The things Texas got right this weekend were out-shooting San Antonio in both first periods (Texas has had a problem with slow starts to this point in the season), and finding success on the power play (41.7 percent success rate versus 13.3 in the four-game losing streak). The penalty kill was better as well with a 88.9 percent kill versus 76.9 in the losing streak.

Bow was also notably improved. A .942 save percentage shows that he can be better when he needs to be, and it gives him more confidence moving forward. It’s also a move closer to that start-of-the-season version of Bow that was seen, who looked notably improved over last season.

Finally, a complimentary line of Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov, and Michael Mersch, once they’re all back healthy on the Stars roster, could have emerged from this weekend. Travis Morin, Justin Dowling, and Condra all looked very good together, and they scored a combined five goals and 12 points this weekend.

Once Mersch is back (he missed this weekend) and he can be put back with a line that succeeds, the Stars could have an explosive top six. The question then becomes with what’s left over, can L’Esperance take over the bottom six? A potential line to watch in that situation could be Hargrove-L’Esperance-Mascherin.

The Stars had a weekend to remember. They found a foundation they can build upon and get back on their feet after a four-game losing streak. Thank goodness the Texas Stars face the Rampage 12 more times, eh?