Saturday, January 20, 2018

Texas Stars Surge into 2nd Place, Toppling Manitoba 5-1

Mike McKenna smothers a puck (Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Texas got contributions all over the lineup as the visitors roughed up the best team in the league, Manitoba, by a 5-1 score. The Stars defeated the Moose in back-to-back games, both by a four goal margin. The win pushes Texas into second place in the Pacific Division.

On the weekend, Texas tenders were pierce just a single time. Mike McKenna got the start tonight and stopped 38 of 39 shots against him. Thirty of those 39 came in the first two periods.

Manitoba scored in the first period tonight but not before Jason Dickinson and Colin Markison each notched a goal. Dickinson's goal came just 17 seconds into the contest. Travis Morin's assist on Markison's tally extended his AHL assists lead to At no point during the weekend did Texas trail the Moose.

A scoreless second period gave way to an offensive outburst in the third period. Curtis McKenzie scored his AHL-leading 21st of the season on the power play early. Greg Rallo collected his first goal of the season atthe 13 minute mark. Jason Dickinson finished up the scoring, draining it into an empty net with three minutes to go.

The Stars return home to face San Jose on Tuesday.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Heatherington (callup)
Paliotta, Dries, Dowling, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,245.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - January 20 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

      Texas Stars                           Manitoba Moose
  21-15-4-2, 48 pts, .571      at     26-9-3-2, 57 pts, .713
#4 Pacific Division                    #1 Central Division

January 20th at 7:00 PM CST
Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB

To say last night was the Stars' best game of the year wouldn't be tough. Facing a club that had just 8 regulation losses coming into the contest, Texas not only won the game but completely blanked the Moose at home 4-0. Manitoba had yet to be held without a goal on the season until that point.

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Now comes the push back. The Moose are 26-9-5 for a reason and they know how to come back in the second game of a back-to-back. They have just two stretches of more than one loss, both three game skids and both with some loser points in the mix. Back to back losses against Grand Rapids and Iowa last weekend were the first time they'd dropped two in regulation. The last time they lost to the same team on consecutive nights was in October, before they went on an insane 20-2-2 stretch through November and December.

Last night was also a good display of the mercurial talent of a rookie in the AHL. Roope Hintz had a pair of goals and looked good all night just a few weeks after making a few rough mistakes that ended up in the back of his net at home. You take the good with the bad with rookies and hope the former outweighs the latter.

Stars injury/call-up report:
Heatherington (call-up)

Moose Web Resources
Website: moosehockey.com
Twitter: @ManitobaMoose

Friday, January 19, 2018

Landon Bow Records His First AHL Career Shutout in Stars 4-0 Win Over Moose

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Unaccustomed to losing in a dominant season, the Manitoba Moose were beaten by the Texas Stars in sound fashion 4-0 on Friday evening. Landon Bow had a night to remember with his first career AHL shutout on 27 saves against a team that had yet to be held scoreless in the season.

Curtis McKenzie had a three point night with two goals and an assist. Roope Hintz also had two goals, and Andrew Bodnarchuk and Brent Regner pitched in with two helpers each. The Stars were tested three times against Manitoba's second ranked power play and didn't crack, thanks to Bow.

The Stars had the AHL top-ranked team on their heels from the jump with two goals in the first period. Both were assisted by Andrew Bodnarchuk. Roope Hintz opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season after several minutes of territorial play. Curtis McKenzie followed suit with a goal on a breakaway, beating Eric Comrie just over his glove hand.

There were a couple of moments in the first period that could have had the Stars running away with the game early. Hintz almost netted his second goal, but hit a crossbar. Travis Morin did score right after the Stars' first power play expired on a shot that banked in off the post. However, after a discussion, the referees concluded that there was goaltender interference, and the goal was disallowed.

With 18 seconds left in the second period, Hintz was rewarded with his second goal of the game when he batted a puck out of the air past Comrie, completely shocking the Moose crowd. Moose winger Chase De Leo, who was stone-walled by Landon Bow on a breakaway early in the period, lost his cool and dropped the gloves with Bodnarchuk out of frustration.

On their fifth power play of the game, McKenzie scored his second goal of the game in the third period. Travis Morin, who leads the AHL in assists, picked up his 34th. The Moose had quality chances late to get on the board, but Bow was better.

The Stars play game two of their weekend set against the Moose on Saturday evening. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, Dries, Rallo, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 3,983.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - January 19 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

      Texas Stars                           Manitoba Moose
  20-15-4-2, 46 pts, .561      at     26-8-3-2, 57 pts, .731
#4 Pacific Division                    #1 Central Division

January 19th at 7:00 PM CST
Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB

(credit: Manitoba Moose)

The Texas Stars pick up their road trip again as they head to Winnipeg to take on the Manitoba Moose. Scoring has been hard to come by for the Stars in the past two games, though their goaltending has held together nicely. The sledding has been tough overall for the past 10 games (2-4-3-1), and the competition couldn't be stiffer for them to try to put together some kind of positive streak. 

One positive that has yet to materialize in improved play is the overall health of the team. They will only be without Dillon Heatherington (call-up) and will likely have to rely on secondary scoring to make a dent in this game. Look for players like Brian Flynn (23 points), Denis Gurianov (15 points), or Roope Hintz (20 points) to potentially contribute. All things being equal, and coming off considerable rest, Landon Bow is the starter in net.

The Moose are tearing through the AHL this season and are a virtual lock for the playoffs. They've cooled off a bit as of late (5-3-2 in last 10), but they remain one of two teams to still have single digits in the loss column. They have plenty of offensive firepower, sporting three players with 35 points in Buddy Robinson, Jack Roslovic, and rookie Mason Appleton. Just behind them with 31 points is center iceman Nic Petan. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson, who has spent considerable time in the NHL, is having an outstanding season with a .942 SV% and is only allowing 1.94 goals per game. They will be a load to deal with.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call-up report:
Heatherington (call-up)

Moose Web Resources
Website: moosehockey.com
Twitter: @ManitobaMoose

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stars Can't Complete Comeback, Lose 3-2 in Shootout to Reign

(credit: Ontario Reign)

The Texas Stars were down twice in the third period but clawed back both times to force a shootout. In the end, they lost to the Ontario Reign 3-2. Former Star Jack Campbell started in goal for the Reign and finished with 29 saves on 31 shots.

As usual, the Ontario Reign played a physical brand of hockey that often crossed the line beyond competitive play. The Stars were able to benefit with three first period power plays, but to no avail. Phillipe Maillet put the Reign up 1-0 with a quick goal off of a won face-off draw that beat Landon Bow cleanly. Bow had a solid outing and finished with 36 saves on 39 shots. The Reign outshot the Stars 13-6 in the first period.

Tempers flared in the second period, and Ontario's Austin Wagner was looking for anyone to pick a fight with. He found a willing partner in Colin Markison to draw offsetting fighting majors. Bokondji Imama also scraped with Samuel Laberge later in the period as the game threatened to get really ugly. Things did not pick up offensively for the Stars, and they were outshot by the end of the middle frame 26-15.

The Stars finally got on the board and ended the scoring drought for the Stars going back to last game with a Travis Morin goal. The Stars won a puck battle behind the net and centered to Morin who was waiting in front of the net. The Reign had a quick answer. They pinned the Stars in their own zone and got a back door goal to go from Mike Amadio.

With 1:02 left in the game, Justin Dowling scored his sixth goal of the season to tie the game when the Stars went 6-on-5. He finished the play after the puck rebounded off Campbell twice. The Stars drew a penalty 19 seconds into overtime play to give them a huge chance to put the game away on 4-on-3. They were caught too many times looking for the perfect pass and didn't generate many good looks.

Campbell was perfect for the Reign during the shootout, stopping Morin, Brian Flynn, and Curtis McKenzie. Amadio had the lone goal to give the Reign the victory.

The Stars will pick their current road trip back up on Friday as they travel to Canada to take on the Manitoba Moose. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Fyten, Dries, Rallo, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,570.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Ontario - January 15 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Ontario Reign

   Texas Stars                            Ontario Reign
20-15-4-1, 45 pts, .563      at     18-15-1-1, 38 pts, .543
#5 Pacific Division                    #6 Pacific Division

December 20th at 3:00 PM
Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, CA

(credit: Ontario Reign)

Game three of the current road trip for the Texas Stars will see them take on the Ontario Reign in southern California. Things have been less than ideal for the Stars lately, with a 3-4-3-0 record in their last 10 games to prove it. The Ontario Reign have been slightly better, going 5-4-1-0, but sit just below the Stars in the Pacific division standings. You'd have to think that the Reign can sense a major opportunity to get their season back on track and gain some ground in the standings. In their three games against the Reign this season the Stars have posted a 1-1-1-0 record.

The offense for the Stars lately has been rather bi-polar. They couldn't seem to miss the back of the net on Friday night in Stockton, winning 7-2. They followed that up with a shutout loss the next night to the same team. They'll need more consistency against a big, physical team that would love to leap-frog them in the division. The Stars will once again be without Dillon Heatherington as he is in Dallas providing depth for the parent club. Look for new acquisition Michael Paliotta to continue to be a fixture in the lineup. Jason Dickinson, who had a three point game in their victory over the Stockton Heat, will help ensure his team isn't shutout a second game in a row. Stars captain Curtis McKenzie has been a point per game player for Texas and will be relied upon heavily to finish plays.

The Reign are led in scoring by Mike Amadio (33 points), and is followed by Michael Mersch and Matt Moulson. All three have registered points against the Stars in their three matches this year. Former Texas Star Jack Campbell started both games against Texas in Cedar Park, but rookie Cal Petersen was in net for the game in Ontario. It is unclear who draws the start, but my money would be on Petersen as it appears that they are doing an even split in sharing the net. 

The puck drops at 3:00 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call-up report:
Heatherington (call-up)

Website: ontarioreign.com
Twitter: @ontarioreign
Coverage: Reign coverage via Jewels from the Crown

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jon Gillies, Stockton Heat Shut Down Texas Stars 2-0

(Credit: Stockton Heat)
Jon Gillies was the man of the night as Texas dropped a close game to the Stockton Heat in California by a 2-0 score. The only goal that really mattered was Austin Carroll's 2nd goal of the year, scoring just six minutes into the game, which stood up as the winner. The Heat added an empty net goal late, which was of no consequence. Gillies stopped all 28 Texas Stars shots and shut down a recently resurgent Stars power play on four opportunities.

Mike McKenna got the start for Texas and did what it would take to win on any other night, allowing a single goal on 23 shots. Brent Regner, who scored twice last night, had four shots for Texas, but no one broke through to the scoresheet otherwise.

The Stars play a day game on MLK Jr Day against Ontario.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Heatherington (call up)
Fyten, Scarlett, Rallo, Hanna, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,359.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Stockton - January 13 2018