SAN ANTONIO – It was a bad game on bad ice for the Texas Stars in a 5-2 loss to the San Antonio Rampage.
The Stars struggled on the power play and tried to play a more fine-tuned game, which doesn’t always work at the AT&T Center, which houses one of the worst ice sheets in the American Hockey League.
“The ice is absolutely disastrous in this building and it probably plays to the penalty kill,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “They play to the ice here and (they) pressure the heck of the power play when it’s on the ice.”
That was evident throughout the night, but the power play was the most glaring example.
The Stars failed to hold the offensive zone, consistently missed passes, and simply looked out of sorts as they went 1-for-7 and only mustered four shots with the man advantage – even with Scott Glennie’s goal late in the third period when the game was already out of reach.
The anemic power play was on display 17 seconds into the game when Shane O’Brien was called for high-sticking Travis Morin on the game’s first shift. Instead of cashing in on an early chance, Texas spent most of the two-minute stretch chasing down San Antonio clearances.
San Antonio later gifted Texas power plays at key moments in the second and third period, but again the Stars couldn’t capitalize.
Texas also didn’t answer the physical challenge from San Antonio.
Laxdal admitted the Stars are by no means a “heavy team,” but when San Antonio played most of the game down a player – O’Brien was given a game misconduct in the first period – he wanted Texas to force the hosts to waste more energy.
“We know they’re a big physical team who tries to run you out of the building, but they can’t play that way for 60 minutes,” Laxdal said. “You’ve got to finish your hits when you get a chance to. When you turn off your hits, you’re just letting that D-man off the hook and he’s just banking that energy for the third period.”
Goaltending was the final piece of the Stars ugly looking puzzle Tuesday.
Jack Campbell allowed five goals on 26 shots, including a pair of goals 58 seconds apart in the third period that Laxdal called “unacceptable.”
Those goals turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-1 setback, eliminating any chance of a comeback.
“When it was 3-1 we actually had some pretty good push,” Laxdal said. “That’s why I called the timeout (after San Antonio’s third goal). I said, ‘Guys, we’re fine,’ I didn’t mind our game. But then the fourth and fifth goal, at that point, what do you do?”