Ads End Texas Trip With A Thud

Usually when a hockey team jumps out to a 3-0 lead in the first 13:27 of the game, that bodes well.

They don’t usually give up the next six goals after that.

But that’s what the Admirals did, as the Texas Stars got some payback in the rematch Wednesday, dropping Milwaukee 6-3.

Ryan Garbutt had a hat-trick, Andrew Raycroft settled down after an unstable first period, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

Raycroft was having some rebound issues, as the Admirals scored their first two goals on second chances.  Kyle Wilson scored first, putting back the rebound of his own shot.  And then Zack Stortini put in a rebound after Raycroft made a pad save on a shot from Jani Lajunen.

After a Tousignant slashing penalty, Raycroft was whistled a pair of his own infractions, leading to a pair of 5-on-3 power plays for the Admirals.  They scored on their first one, as Chris Mueller converted on a back door play.  Tousignant came out of the box.  And then the Ads had the distinction of being on a 5-on-3 courtesy of two penalties on the goaltender.  Not something you see every day.

And then the first period ended.  A good period for the Admirals, who were strong on the forecheck, strong going to the net, and sticking to the gameplan.

The players got away from the gameplan in the second period.  Coach Drulia said on the post-game radio interview that there were some guys who were trying to be too cute with the puck, and it was on some of those plays that the pucks ended up behind Jeremy Smith.

This has been a recurring theme in 2012.  Getting away from the gameplan, and then paying for mistakes.  I know a lot of fans have complained that the coach is the problem, but the players have to execute.  They’re professionals.  When they are calling audibles after an extraordinarily successful first period, the responsibility falls to the players for collapses like tonight.  It’s like they were already on the flight back to Milwaukee.

Colton Sceviour scored on a 3-on-2 just over six minutes into the second period.

Ryan Garbutt scored on a 2-on-1 with Jon Blum caught up ice.

Garbutt scored his second goal just 59 seconds into the third period on a shot that went just under Smith’s glove.

Matt Fraser got behind the defense and scored on an even strength breakaway for what was eventually the game winning goal.

Scott Glennie knocked a puck out of mid-air past Smith 1:34 after Fraser’s goal.  And then Garbutt got the empty netter for the hat-trick.


I was all ready to write about what a successful Texas road trip it was.  The Admirals did get 4 out of a possible 6 points…but after a collapse like tonight, I can’t help but curb my enthusiasm a bit.  First place Charlotte comes to town on Friday, and if it turns to improv night at the BC again, it’ll be the Checkers that’ll be ‘jumping around’ to the Badger Band.

Atte got two wins this week.  Smitty was left out to dry and gave up six goals tonight.  Who starts on Friday?

7 thoughts on “Ads End Texas Trip With A Thud”

  1. My vote is with Brian Finley or Karl Goehring to start on Friday. Every year, this blog runs a post about how lucky our fan base is in regards to team success. Is this the year that brings us a bit closer to earth?

  2. Two bizarre games in a row. Despite the win and despite Garbutt’s hat trick (the first ever regular season HT by a Star on home ice), it’s unreasonable for the Stars fans to get too thrilled about this win. This is a well-established pattern: drop a handful of games, then win one in semi-convincing fashion, ignore the losses and think that the losses were the anomaly, not the win.

    Raycroft once again proved himself to be absolutely disinterested. I doubt the heckling he’s getting from the home crowd is helping, but he deserves it. I know that goalies play psychological angles, Dryden and Roy would pretend like this or that save was nothing, what else you got? But that’s not what Raycroft is doing, he flat out doesn’t care. It’s like he refuses to dignify the AHL with an effort.

    As for the Ads last night, not the same team I’ve gotten used to seeing here in Austin. I know, that’s true for most teams in this league and we’re no different, but last year for instance I felt like we couldn’t get a fast break going without Roman Josi showing up. That guy was everywhere. And I recall Blum being … better. Last two games he seemed like a hard-luck ECHL call-up.

    And thanks, Ryan, for the kind words in the previous entry…

  3. “I know a lot of fans have complained that the coach is the problem, but the players have to execute. They’re professionals. When they are calling audibles after an extraordinarily successful first period, the responsibility falls to the players for collapses like tonight.”

    I disagree. If the players start calling audibles on their own and the coaching staff allows it to happen…. one mishap, fine. Two mishaps, call a timeout, refocus the team and get them back on the game plan. But 6 unanswered goals is just unacceptable. Yes, the players are to blame as they are out on the ice performing, but if they were not executing the game plan as laid out by the coaching staff, then push the coaching staff under the bus. If the players were executing the game plan and this is the outcome, again, back to the coaching staff….

    The team has taken on a different identity under Herbers/Drulia. This late in the season, the team should not be making stupid mistakes. You can chalk up a game or two here and there – everyone has off nights, we’re all human. But when a team that for the most part has been together all season is making bad passes, having defensive lapses, etc. there’s something else going on. Someone said in an earlier comment it seems like there’s no accountability on this team. Perhaps we can attribute that to Herbers taking orders from Nashville in terms of “play Geoffrion and Blum no matter what.” Who knows?

  4. Ending with a thud is right. The trip on paper was still a success but a win last night erases another doubt for the team and sets them up well for Friday. If it was a hard luck loss in a close game no biggie, you can still take a good positive away on the flight back but 6 unanswered…… I don’t know what to think now.

    Anyone else remember Dave Allison’s last season here as head coach? That team just did not want to play for him. They tanked that whole season and ended an impressive playoff streak for the franchise.

    I don’t quite get that vibe from this team but something certainly is out of of place and it’s not just lack of a pure goal scorer. The players for the most part seem to get along, they seem to enjoy the city. It’s not the NHL but there are worse places to play in the A. They were able to play very well for Herbers for a month. What’s the difference now? Maybe in the face of adversity the coaching staff is too soft.

    I think the top winner from the trip is Engren. I think this is the first time all season he’s strung together wins in his last two starts. I’d go with Engren Friday.

  5. Play Engren on Friday. Claim that somebody is hurt and bench them for playing like one of Eugene Kane’s knuckleheads! It is the only way to get through to some players.

  6. “We got away from our gameplan”. Coaches say it after losses. Players say it after losses. I want to see the players do something about it. Stick to the gameplan. Yeah, there’s another team pushing back, and if they beat you, they beat you. Fine. But this team needs to stop beating itself if it has any interest in playing hockey past tax-day. Don’t like the gameplan? Have fun with Linus Klasen in Europe, because you’re not helping your cause in advancing on this continent by doing your own thing. Coaches spend hours preparing, going over video and putting the gameplan together. And holy crap, did it work in the first period on Wednesday. And it all goes to waste when stupid mental mistakes and careless decisions are the differences in games. Ian and Stan aren’t the guys coughing up the pucks at the offensive blue line. Ian and Stan aren’t getting caught up ice. Ian and Stan aren’t the guys missing assignments. And I can’t imagine the frustration that they feel, when they know EXACTLY what the other team is going to do, and the puck still ends up behind our goalies.

    We’ll see what kind of effort we get tomorrow. And it’s unfortunate that there’s any question about what kind of effort it’ll be.

    Stepping off the soapbox now….

  7. Ok, a player makes a mental error here and there or strays from the game plan and you work with them to correct it.

    A player makes ongoing errors across multiple games and consistently does their own thing yet they are still on the ice as if it never happened??

    That’s a coaching problem.

    Sure there is that player or two – more in other sports – that is uncoachable, but I don’t think we have that.

    Sure there might be some pressure from Nashville to do certain things. It’s not always about ice time, sometimes its about development.

    Yes at the end of the day, players need to execute… but major and repeated errors and problems fall on coaching in my opinion.

    I’m not saying the coaching staff is awful, but I think they need to regain control of the team and make more bold/dramatic decisions. I don’t believe all is bleak, I feel the staff needs to make some moves to show they are in control and the errors won’t be tolerated. I don’t dislike the staff nor think they should go – I just think they need to step up themselves.

    Oh woe is the frustrated coach – buck up and manage your team! The problem is more than execution.

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