GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Texas Stars have been playing great hockey of late, led by the stellar play in net from Landon Bow. The Stars are in Grand Rapids tonight to take on the Griffins and will be looking to earn their fourth straight win away from Cedar Park. The Stars have won six of eight overall, to see their record improve to 11-8-0-1 so far in 2017-18. While there have been several players playing well during the run, the play of Bow, in particular, has stood out to me.
Bow has been a rock in net since taking over the starting job, and his steady play at the back has been the foundation the Stars are building on. Currently, he is 6-3-0 overall, 6-2-0 since taking over the top spot on November 4, with a goals against average of 2.49 and has a save percentage of .909. He has given up three or more goals three times in ten appearances, all against in-state rival San Antonio, going 1-2-0 while allowing 13 goals in those games. Against all other teams in the league, though, Bow is 5-0-0 and has given up only nine goals. Bow has one start and one relief appearance against Grand Rapids this year, going 1-0-0 and stopping 45 of 46 Griffins shots in four periods.
The play of Bow in net has been the catalyst for the Stars, as they have been able to win six of their last eight. While scoring has not been an issue this year, the Stars had struggled to keep the puck out of the net early. Texas gave up 46 goals in their first 12 games, an average of 3.83 goals a game. Meanwhile, in the recent eight-game run, Texas has lowered their goals against average by over a goal a game to 2.50. The Stars have allowed just 20 goals in the 6-2-0-0 run, 10 of which came in the two losses.
Bow spoke with the Stars’ website about his recent run of success. When asked what the secret was, Bow praised the play of his teammates.
“just been working hard, keep going along with it,” Bow stated. “It’s been big, getting a lot of help from the teammates. Just trying to get the wins on the road. For us, it’s been a little bit of an issue to begin the year, but we’ve just been working hard right now, just focusing on what we have to do and bearing down on our opportunities.”
The Stars’ recent run has included three straight road wins, which has improved their road record to 5-6-0-0 after falling in six of the first eight away from home. It has been more than just Bow, as the defense has stepped up as well. They have been reducing the number of shots against and limiting their opponent’s chances. Bow talked more about the play of his teammates.
“We’re really starting to tighten up defensively,” Bow said. “Which is something we’ve been working on a lot. A lot of those grade a chances we were giving up early on, we are really cutting those down. Really doing a good job the odd-man rushes, and that is cutting down on the shot total overall.”
Playing in his first full season at the AHL level, you wouldn’t be surprised to see a young goalie struggle on the road. Not Bow, though, he has been calm, cool, and collected in net him or away. Texas head coach Derek Laxdal spoke with the Stars’ website about what has enabled Bow’s success.
“Well his personality has kInd of taken over his play, his style of play,” Laxdal said. “He’s real calm, he’s got a real cool demeanor, and you can see that in his game. He’s playing with confidence right now, he’s had some success. he’s learning, he’s developing, Jimmy’s doing a great job with him, and he’s gonna have some bumps in the road,” Laxdal continued. “We understand that, but right now his body work has been outstanding, the foundation of his game is solid, and the guys are confident in front of him. So for us right now, our job is to keep him up and running and developing.”
“Jimmy” is Texas goaltending coach Jim Bedard, and Bow also talked about working with Coach Bedard.
“He’s been super happy, you know,” Bow began. “For anyone who knows Jim, he’s a real big character. its always fun when you’re winning, you just chat with him, he tells you what he sees, and he’s always got something funny to say. It’s just always more fun when you’re winning, than when you are losing.”
The Stars, and Bow, now turn their attention to the Grand Rapids Griffins, for two games in Grand Rapids starting tonight. The Stars have already faced the defending champs twice, splitting a pair at home with them earlier this month. Bow spoke about facing the Griffins again, this time on their home-ice.
“We’ve been looking at their film, we knew they were a really good team when they came to Texas, and from what I’ve heard, haven’t been here, but from what I’ve heard, the arena is loud, and they really get behind the guys here,” Bow said. “So we’ve got to make sure we jump on them quick, and we’ve got to try to kill any momentum, and any crowd noise as early as we can.”
We will see if the Stars can jump on the Griffins early when the puck drops at 7e/6c tonight. The two teams will then battle again on Friday.
You can follow tonight’s action by following @SinBinStars on Twitter, where we live tweet every game!
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