Sunday, February 14, 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
29-18-3-3, 64 pts, 0.604
#2 Pacific Division
v.Lake Erie Monsters
26-16-5-3, 59 pts, 0.600
#3 Central Division
February 14th at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Same team again this afternoon but with a grudge for sure. Lake Erie was the better team for 45 minutes of last night's game and was audibly upset after the game and with good reason.

Maxime Lagace took a puck off his blocker hand under the blocker in OT last night and could be out today. The team will make a determination in the morning. If not, he could go again.
(Credit; Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Tyler Seguin was cut last night in Dallas. With the NHL club having games on Monday and Tuesday, any recall would probably happen today before the game to ensure there isn't an overworked player getting the callup (four games in four days). Watch for that.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)

Website: lakeeriemonsters.com
Blog (unofficial): Cleveland Plain Dealer
Twitter: @monstershockey

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jason Dickinson Headlines Huge Texas Stars Comeback Win

Rookie forward tallies third game-winning goal of the week
Dickinson's game winner (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Two periods into tonight's contest, things were not going well for the Texas Stars. The home side was down 2-0 and should have been down more if not for some stellar play from their goalie, Maxime Lagace. The third period was a complete turnaround that vaulted Texas to a 4-3 home win in overtime with the winning goal coming off the stick of Jason Dickinson for the third time this week.

"Just don't quit," said Dickinson. "We knew we were doing the right things. We just stuck with the game plan and got those goals. It's a bunch of confident and positive guys. Nobody quits."

Coach Laxdal called the game "a gutsy character builder" for his team and praised the effort of guys who are stepped up in the absence of recalled and injured forwards. Dickinson is chief among those right now. Dickinson has four goals and three assists this week alone.

"He's been playing real well," continued Laxdal. "It's part of the development and process. Confidence is big for him. He's getting rewarded for hard work offensively. He's taking a step here with our group and it's good to see."

Another player who has continued to step up is Maxime Lagace, who collected the overtime win with 33 saves. Jason Dickinson said the team knew they had to win the game for Lagace, especially after an athletic save he made with 14.8 seconds left to maintain the tie, "We're playing for this guy and he's playing for us. Lagace really kept us in there. It could have been a completely different game. "

TJ Tynan found twine in the first with a power play goal and Jaime Sifers extended the lead with a point shot through traffic in the second.

The Stars collected a power play goal of their own with Julius Honka hitting the net through traffic early in the third. Laxdal said the goal gave his club life, but then Lake Erie regained their two goal lead and took back that life.

Stephen Johns stepped up on a net-front scrum and picked up a fighting major, which Laxdal says sparked the team for what would come. Just 39 seconds later, Brett Ritchie scored from in tight to make it 3-2 Lake Erie. A few minutes later, Esa Lindell would finish off a beauty pass from Curtis McKenzie on a shorthanded bid for the three all tie.

Maxime Lagace did his acrobatics to keep things knotted and Texas picked up a point after trailing by two after forty.

After much time in their own zone to start OT, Texas' Jason Dickinson entered the fray in overtime with a wrap around goal that bounced off Troy Vogelhuber and in.

These two clubs will play a Valentine's Day matchup tomorrow afternoon.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Dickinson-Ritchie
Ranford-Morin-Hulak
Stransky-Smith-Elie
Kane-Molin-Troock

Backman-Honka
Johns-Lindell
Blacker-Bystrom

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)
Ully, , Evans, Muse, Mangene (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,459.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Lake Erie - February 13 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
28-18-3-3, 62 pts, 0.596
#2 Pacific Division
v.Lake Erie Monsters
26-16-4-3, 59 pts, 0.602
#3 Central Division
February 13th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Lake Erie ain't no joke. Since last playing with Texas, they've rattled off four straight victories allowing just three total goals. Those four games were all against divisional foes, which pushed the Monsters to third place in the Central Division.

It seems like the Central has settled in a bit and the teams that will make the playoffs are mostly settled. Chicago, in sixth place, needs 8 wins ignoring all other factors to climb to fifth place and take the crossover spot to the Pacific (according to the playoff projections). That seems unlikely right now, putting Lake Erie into the playoffs for just the second time in their nine year history. Their only other visit was a first round exit in 2011. That club was led in net by Dallas' 2001 first round pick, Jason Bacashihua.
Brad Thiessen last year with Adirondack (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
A big part of the Monsters' recent success has been their man in net now, Brad Thiessen. Many fans will remember Thiessen from his four-year stint in Wilkes-Barre. It seems that wherever he goes, the team has success. Aside from last year's aberration backstopping the less-than-stellar Flames, Thiessen has never missed the playoffs. In 14 games this season spent in the AHL, Thiessen is 8-2 with a 1.58 GAA and .939 SV%. It's surprising that he spent so much of the year in the ECHL, but hindsight is always 20/20. With injuries in Columbus, Forsberg was recalled and Thiessen came up from Cincinnati.

Now Lake Erie carries three goalies, similar to Texas. Also similar to Texas, it is because of the success of a player they expected to be in the ECHL all year. Interesting to watch who they play this weekend, down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)

Website: lakeeriemonsters.com
Blog (unofficial): Cleveland Plain Dealer
Twitter: @monstershockey

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jason Dickinson Named Lone Star Grille/100 Degree Hockey Player of the Week

Jason Dickinson (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Each week, we name the Lone Star Grille/100 Degree Hockey Player of the Week. Lone Star Grille offers happy hour weekdays from 4-7 PM just minutes from the Cedar Park Center. The new Higher Ground Bar at the Grille is a smoke-free bar open 6 PM to 2 AM Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Redeem your game ticket for reverse happy hour from 10-12 PM with $2 off specialty cocktails, $4.00 house wine and $2.50 domestic longnecks.

Jason Dickinson is stepping up big time.

Since the departure of Greg Rallo, the rookie forward has been a force for the Stars. That's a really good thing because with Rallo's scoring suddenly off the scoresheet, someone had to step up. Dickinson is one of those lending a hand.

This week, that help came in the form of a seven point week that included a game-winning goal and a shootout winner in the Stars' games in Manitoba.

Despite his scoring, Dickinson ended up minus-1 on the week though, so there's always something to be improved on. He has said before that he wants to be known for his defense, so it is certainly a point he will look to improve upon. That being said, he was plus-2 in the game last night which features no special teams goals.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stars Come Out Winners in 7-6 Seesaw Affair

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Texas survived an extremely raucous back-and-forth affair in Manitoba this evening. They eventually came out on the right side of a 7-6 shootout final, but not before scoring five in a row only to give back three and end up tied after regulation.

The Stars were up 2-1 after twenty with Derek Hulak netting the single Texas goal. The Moose added a third for good measure to open the second. Then Texas went on a tear. In order, the Stars got goals from Esa Lindell, Jason Dickinson, Ludwig Bystrom, Julius Honka and Curtis McKenzie. By the midpoint of the third, they led 6-3 and seemingly had the game locked down.

Manitoba made Texas look like the team they were back in November though. The Moose climbed back into the game with three goals in the final 10:02 of regulation.

Texas would play a scoreless overtime and head to the shootout. Brendan Ranford did not attempt his fake move and didn't score. Travis Morin and Jason Dickinson did.

Jason Dickinson was the Stars' best player on the night with a goal, two assists and the shootout tally. With players like Greg Rallo and Justin Dowling out of the lineup, Dickinson has an opportunity to step into the scoring role that he is clearly taking advantage of.

Texas returns home to play Lake Erie on Saturday.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ritchie
Hulak-Dickinson-Ranford
Elie-Molin-Stransky
Ully-Mangene-Troock

Lindell-Johns
Honka-Backman
Evans-Bystrom

Desrosiers

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)
Smith, Kane, Blacker (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,860.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - February 10 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

Texas Stars
27-18-3-3, 60 pts, 0.588
#2 Pacific Division
atManitoba Moose
12-27-3-4, 31 pts, 0.337
#8 Central Division
February 10th at 7:00 PM
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB

Texas is cruising. Down late last night, they overcame with some power play magic.

Playing the second same team for the second night in a row, Texas seems to be having success with their lineup as it stands. The team is missing several of its top scorers (Faksa, Rallo, Dowling) but still winning. This is a good sign for the Stars overall as you look at the depth scoring. Guys like Jason Dickinson and others need to step up in the void.

The way Manitoba has been rolling Eric Comrie, I would expect him again tonight. Maxime Lagace could go again tonight, but it certainly depends on how his injury felt after last night's game.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)

Website: moosehockey.com
Twitter: @ManitobaMoose
Newspaper: Winnipeg Free Press
Beat writer: @pwilliamsNHL

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Texas Rallies in Final Minutes to Beat Moose 3-2

Jason Dickinson had a pair of goals, including the late game winner, as Texas defeated the Moose this evening in Winnipeg in the first game of the season between the two. Maxime Lagace returned to the lineup after a lower body injury held him out for several games. He stopped 27 of 29.

The Stars power play was a big catalyst on the night, going 3-for-7 and obviously scoring all of the night's goals. Texas cashed in 5-on-3 as well.

Brendan Ranford had two assists to continue a point streak now at four games, and Brett Ritchie had the Stars' only other goal on the night.

The game winning tally came with Patrice Cormier in the box for delay of game. Jason Dickinson beat Eric Comrie with just 47 seconds in the game, giving Manitoba no time to respond.

Here's the release:
Jason Dickinson finished with two power play goals and the Texas Stars scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation to take a 3-2 road win over the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday night in front of 5,406 in attendance at MTS Centre.

Dickinson’s second power play goal held up as the game-winner after Brett Ritchie knotted the score at 2-2 less than two minutes earlier. Maxime Lagace won his sixth straight start with a 27-save performance in net, and Brendan Ranford extended his point streak to four games with an assist on Dickinson’s first goal.

The Stars (27-18-3-3) and Moose (12-27-3-4) wrap up their two-game set on Saturday at 7 p.m. CST in Winnipeg.

Back-to-back penalties late in the third handed Texas a 5-on-3 power play with 2:39 remaining, and the Stars didn’t waste their opportunity. Just seconds into the two-man advantage, Travis Morin set up Ritchie in the left circle to snap home his 12th goal of the season and knot the score. Then, with 46 seconds left to play, Jason Dickinson finished off an odd-man rush from the slot on a wrist shot that beat Manitoba’s Eric Comrie for his 12th of the year and second of the night.

Lagace held off one last push from the Moose with the extra attacker on the ice to seal his 11th win of the season.

After a scoreless first period, Manitoba opened up the scoring off a loose puck in the goal crease that was batted in by John Albert 27 seconds into period two. Texas knotted things up on the power play as Dickinson located a loose puck at the left side of the goal crease and stuffed it past Comrie, who ended up finishing with 30 saves on the night.

Manitoba took a 2-1 lead 3:30 into the third when a centering pass deflected past Lagace off the leg of Darren Kramer for his third of the year prior to the Stars late offensive outburst.

The Stars finished 3-for-7 on the power play while the Moose went 0-for-3.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ritchie
Ranford-Dickinson-Hulak
Stransky-Smith-Elie
Ully-Molin-Troock

Lindell-Honka
Johns-Backman
Blacker-Bystrom

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)
Kane, Evans, Muse, Mangene (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,406.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - February 9 2016