Saturday, December 16, 2017

Niklas Hansson Scores First Career AHL Goal as Stars Defeat Monsters in OT 5-4

Curtis McKenzie posting up on the power play
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)

A couple of rookies helped the Texas Stars claim the victory in overtime over the Cleveland Monsters 5-4. Shane Hanna, who was called up from the Idaho Steelheads on Thursday and made his AHL debut in place of the ailing Brent Regner, collected his first AHL point on an assist. Niklas Hansson scored his first AHL goal in heroic fashion in the overtime frame. Landon Bow got the start in net for the Stars and finished with 40 saves on 44 shots. The Stars won the war, but lost the special teams battle as they went 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Sam Vigneault, who finished the game with two goals, scored his fifth goal of the year within the first five minutes of the game as he had a point blank chance in front of Bow. Denis Gurianov helped Roope Hintz knot the game up when he threw a puck in front of the net. The puck took a few bounces before Hintz buried it in the midst of a front net scramble. Hanna had the secondary assist on the goal to record his first point in the AHL. The teams traded penalties, and Nick Moutrey for the Flyers scored on the Cleveland power play when the puck caromed off of Dillon Heatherington's skate and into the net.

Sheldon Dries went on the forecheck in the second period and forced a turnover behind the Monsters net. He centered to Mark McNeill, who finished off the play with a beautiful one timer that tied the game at two. McNeill later committed a five minute major penalty when the Stars were on the power play to send the game to 4-on-4. Things took a strange turn and the Stars drew a minor penalty a few seconds into their penalty kill. The shorthanded hockey carried over into the third period.

During some more 4-on-4 action, the puck took a fortunate bounce for the Stars in the third period and glanced off of Monsters goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks' skate. Bodnarchuk, who was on the forecheck, was credited for the goal. Andre Benoit beat Bow cleanly in a high corner as Bow was being screened. On the very next shift, the Stars drew a delayed penalty and Matt Mangene caught the Monsters flat-footed as he sneaked in close to the net for a goal that put the Stars up 4-3.

The Stars went on the penalty kill with a few minutes left in the game and couldn't hold the lead. Vigneault went to the front of the net and was rewarded with his second goal. Monsters leading scorer Carter Camper had the assist. Overtime featured a competitive goaltender duel for the first three minutes. Kivlenieks held his own for the Monsters until the Stars created an odd-man rush that was too much to overcome, and the rookie Hansson won the game.

The Stars will head for the west coast next week and play against the Ontario Reign on December 20th at 9:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
French, Dickinson, Laberge (scratch)
Rallo, Regner (injury)
Elie, Honka (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 4,358.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Cleveland- December 16 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Cleveland Monsters

       Texas Stars                        Cleveland Monsters
16-10-0-1, 33 pts, .611      v.      8-10-2-2, 20 pts, .455
#3 Pacific Division                    #4 Central Division

December 16th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: Jason Dickinson has been reassigned to the Texas Stars.

The last time the Texas Stars squared off against the Cleveland Monsters, the two teams appeared to be superficially similar in trajectory in their respective divisions. Though it was late November, it seemed like an eternity ago. In terms of the playoff picture, the Monsters are on the outside looking in with a 3-7 record in their last 10 games, including two losses against the Stars. By comparison, the Stars are looking to continue to rise in the standings and improve upon their 8-2 record in their last 10. 

A huge reason the Stars are playing well of late is their power play, which was stuck in the mud early in the season. Lately they've managed to tow it out of the ditch to bring bring their season power play percentage to about average. They'll have to keep it clicking without Jason Dickinson, as he is still helping the Dallas Stars deal with their various nicks and bruises to forwards on their four game road trip. Greg Rallo and Brent Regner are also nursing injuries of their own. Regner is possible for tonight, but Rallo is unlikely.

Seeing that he has grabbed the number one slot over the past month, this is likely a Landon Bow game. Though they'll be without Dickinson, long time Texas Star and former captain Travis Morin has drawn into the top three in AHL scoring. Look for him to carry the water, along with Curtis McKenzie and Roope Hintz. Recently called up from the Idaho Steelheads, Shane Hanna may slot in but is likely to be the 7th defenseman with Mangene sliding back to defense as he did on Wednesday.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call-up report:
Elie, Honka, Dickinson (call-up)
Rallo, Regner (injured)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Texas Stars Kickoff Post-Game Skate Partnership with Chaparral Ice This Weekend

(Credit: Chaparral Ice)
The Stars have had post-game open skate in the past, but this weekend the team will kick off a partnership with Austin's local public rink, Chaparral Ice, to provide skate rentals for those who don't own their own skates. Eight dates are on the calendar for this post-game rental and skating opportunity.
  • Dec. 16 vs. Cleveland Monsters
  • Dec. 27 vs. San Antonio Rampage
  • Dec. 30 vs. San Diego Gulls
  • Jan. 27 vs. Stockton Heat
  • Feb. 10 vs. Tucson Roadrunners
  • March 17 vs. Manitoba Moose
  • April 7 vs. Rockford IceHogs
  • April 14 vs. San Antonio Rampage
Rentals will run just $5.

“Chaparral Ice Center is committed to teaching every Central Texan to skate,” added Angie Vaught, General Manager of Chaparral Ice Center. “By partnering with the Texas Stars for their postgame skates we are one stride closer to that goal. To play hockey allows you to truly fall in love with the sport. You become a lifelong fan.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Shane Hanna Recalled from Idaho Steelheads Amid Regner Injury

Shane Hanna (Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
With Brent Regner injured and only possibly in the lineup on Saturday, Texas has called for defensive backup. Shane Hanna has been having a fantastic run of games, notching a multi-point game last week and compiling 4-10=14 in 26 games so far.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Thursday the team has recalled defenseman Shane Hanna from their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Hanna, 23, has appeared in 26 games this year with Idaho, tallying 14 points (4-10=14). The Salmon Arm, British Columbia native spent the last four years at Michigan Tech prior to beginning his pro career, and appeared in 163 collegiate games during his four-year stint.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound rookie began the season in NHL and AHL training camp with the Dallas Stars and Texas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Texas Gets Solid Effort, Comes Up Just Short in 4-2 Loss

Sheldon Dries scraps in the first period.
(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Texas got a solid effort this evening in the second game of a two-game set with the Ontario Reign, but ultimately could not capitalize on a massive number of penalties taken by the visitors.

"If the effort wasn't good and we lost, we'd be disappointed," said Coach Laxdal. "We tried to play with more pace and stay out of the stuff after the whistle. It was a heavy game. They had a game plan to come in here and be physical against us."

The Reign shifted their lineup to add more heft, and it weighed on the Stars. Texas did get pulled into some after-the-whistle stuff but mostly stayed on the right side of the law. For the power play unit, it wasn't a lack of execution, it was in large part a great game from former Star Jack Campbell in net.

"If they're going to play physical and take penalties, their penalty kill has to be at the top of their game and their best penalty killer tonight was their goaltender."

Campbell collected his first win back at the H-E-B Center not in a Stars' uniform with 29 saves on 31 shots.

Texas did pierce his armor twice though, both on the power play. Early, Texas got a nice setup for a left-wing circle shot from Mark McNeill. The 5-on-3 PPG was his fourth goal of the year and set the score at 1-0.

"We just stuck with it," said McNeill of the power play's recent resurgence. "We're focusing on bearing down when we get out there. I don't think any of us are satisfied with where we're at."

Paul LaDue tied things up on the power play for Ontario and took it to the second with that scoreline. Texas got a power play goal from Curtis McKenzie, his 11th goal of the season, to push it back to a one-goal lead.

Coach Laxdal noted that Texas had a number of opportunities to go up 3-1 but couldn't salt it away on the power play or at even strength. The Stars even had 91 seconds of 5-on-3 that came up empty. Ontario "hung around" and got an even-strength tally, the only one of the night, to close the second. Laxdal said that goal "stung" the team.

With the score tied, Texas hit the third period and gave up a power play goal to Kevin Gravel middle of the period. Earning a late power play, Texas couldn't capitalize there or with the extra attacker, giving up an empty net goal for the 4-2 final.

Overall, Texas can't be too disappointed with the loss. The L brings them to 8-2 in their last ten, a respectable record by any stretch of the imagination. Things were working for the Stars tonight on special teams and while there were some things to clean up, a copy-paste effort on Saturday night could just as easily net them two points. This game is a learning moment for the younger, speedier players in what to do when faced with a physical club. Laxdal called out letting the puck do the work in these types of games as the Reign worked to take away the speed and hands of the Stars.

Texas gets back to it on Saturday night against Cleveland.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ully, Rallo, (scratch)
Regner (upper body injury)
Dickinson (call-up)

Brent Regner was out tonight with an upper body injury, and Laxdal noted the club missed his steadying presence on the backend. He could play Saturday.

Tonight's attendance was 4,448.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Ontario - December 13 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Ontario Reign

Texas Stars
16-9-0-1, 33 pts, 0.635
#3 Pacific Division
v.Ontario Reign
10-10-0-1, 21 pts, 0.500
#5 Pacific Division
December 13th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

What can be said at this point about the Texas Stars? Everything is going right for them as they hit mid-December. On an 8-1 streak that could push them to 2nd in the division this evening with another win, they're riding very high.

One of the big things that has turned around for Texas is the power play. The Stars are ranked 14th in the league, which is a fair spot to be in any context. However, the club was in last place before their November road trip. Last place.

While Texas was idle, the Reign got back to .500 hockey with a win in overtime against the Rampage on Sunday afternoon. Cal Petersen got the start, stopping 37 of 39.

Texas expects Austin Fyten to check back into the lineup tonight.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson (call up)

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dallas Stars Recall Jason Dickinson After Two-Goal Night

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Fresh off a two-goal performance last night, the Texas Stars have recalled Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars. Details below.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Dickinson, 22, has appeared in four games with Dallas this season registering two shots and four penalty minutes. In 20 games played with Texas this season, he has produced 14 points (13-1=14) and and his 13 goals are tied for second in the AHL.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Georgetown, Ont. was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.