The Texas Stars got off to a remarkable start in the Calder Cup final, winning two games on the road against defending champion Hershey for a 2-0 series lead.
Unfortunately, they’ve now done something equally remarkable by dropping three straight home games (even at the highest level of the minors, teams cannot afford to play a 2-2-1-1-1 series).
The Austin American-Statesman‘s Avery Holton writes:
Hershey holds a 3-2 series lead and is a win away from becoming just the third team in league history to rebound from an 0-2 deficit in the title round….
And Texas knows a thing or two about coming up big on the road. They’ve closed out each of three postseason series away from home, including a 4-2 victory at Hamilton in Game 7 of the conference finals.
They now have to go a step further and win two on the road to claim the first professional hockey title of any kind in the history of the Austin area. The now-defunct Austin Ice Bats never reached the summit of the Western Professional Hockey League or the East Coast Hockey League, but the Central Texas Stampede did nab the WPHL crown for Belton in 2000.
Now, my first reaction when I read that, is it’s tenuous for Austin’s newspaper to even bring up the Stampede. I’m sure the Williamson County-based Stars do draw fans from the Belton/Killeen/Temple area (some of whom I’m certain I know personally), but hey, let the Temple Daily Telegram worry about that.
Then I realized that the sentence had a bigger problem: the Shreveport Mudbugs beat the Stampede for the 2000 WPHL crown. The Stampede merely won the Governor’s Cup for best regular season record – as did the Ice Bats in 2003.
And what’s up with the reference to the East Coast Hockey League? It’s certainly true the Ice Bats never reached the ECHL summit, since they were never a member of that circuit (presumably he meant the Central Hockey League, which still has five teams in Texas).
Now, I know mistakes get made on deadline all the time, especially with an OT game. I’ve made them myself (and not just writing about hockey). It’s just that they get printed that much more when it’s an oft-neglected beat. If I accidentally confused Kris Brown with Phil Dawson in an article about Texas football, there’d be half a dozen editors (maybe even Texas Exes) there to bail me out. But with hockey, the fact that no one knows can sometimes feel like no one cares.
And at this point in sports media, it’s basically a self-fulfilling prophecy. Playoff final sell-outs and the sudden appearance of Cedric Golden aside, there still aren’t enough Austin hockey fans reading the newspaper to justify a full-time beat writer (and yes, I certainly wish such a job existed so I could have said job), but now there never will be, ’cause they’ll stick to blogs and message boards and Twitter.