Texas Stars hope to rally after All-Star break

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The Stars went into the AHL All-Star break on a bit of a skid. 

Losers of four straight games, Texas ended the first part of the season with back-to-back losses to the Bakersfield Condors, falling 6-3 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday night.

“It’s a learning process all the time,” forward Brandon DiFazio said. “We’ve got to find ourselves. I think we will, I truly believe that. We have guys coming along and guys that are having good years.”

The Stars have 43 points and trail the Pacific-leading Ontario Reign by 10 points and Western Conference-leading Grand Rapids Griffins by 16. They are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but the deficit is just two points. 

Texas played a stellar defensive game Saturday’s loss, giving up one shot in the third period and eight in the second and holding the Condors to seven scoring chances in the game. 

Stars goalie Landon Bow gave up four goals on 17 shots. 

“The guys deserved a better fate,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “It comes down to goaltending, it has got to be better. If you don’t have a goaltender in any league, you’re not going to win many games. Out guys have to bear down and tighten up. We can’t defend any better.”

The offense hasn’t been a problem for Texas this season, as they are ranked seventh in the league with 135 goals scored, but defensively only four teams have given up more than their 144 goals. 

They had one player represent them at the All-Star game in Lehigh Valley, Pa. last weekend as Matej Stransky represented the Stars and the Pacific Division. Defender Julius Honka was originally named an AHL All-Star, but he was recalled to the NHL’s Dallas Stars on Jan. 20.

Stransky recorded two assists in three games for the Pacific team in the 3-on-3 round-robin tournament. 

“We’ve addressed some of our special teams deficiencies and guys have done a good job with that,” Laxdal said. “It’s tough on our guys. They’re defending pretty hard and they’re putting a lot on the line. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but our guys are good professionals and we’ve just got to pick

ourselves up.”

The Stars kick off the second part of the season on the road at the San Antonio Rampage Friday at 7:30 p.m. before a five-game homestead begins Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the

Rampage. 

Texas is no stranger to the playoffs, having made the postseason six of the seven years in the league. 

“It goes one way or the other all the time,” DiFazio said. “Hopefully the break will be good for us and we can come back and start building things and start thinking about the playoff picture, which is important.” 

“I do believe in this group and I think we’ll turn it around.”

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