Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Texas Stars Pull Off 4-3 OT Win to Stay on Track


(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Stars came close to giving up another game late. Tucson earned a point with a third-period comeback, but Texas scored in the overtime period to make it a 4-3 final for the home team.

"We've got to battle every night to keep this thing going," said Coach Laxdal. "We need all the points we can get to keep this thing alive."

'This thing' is the Texas Stars' playoff chances, which gained a bit of momentum with tonight's win. Brandon DeFazio noted, "You win tonight and you're happy about that, but it's just one game at a time. It's a daunting task and we're not oblivious to that. Focus on what you can control, a good effort and a good start."

Before the game, Texas talked about the importance of their first periods. They have a 22-7-0-2 record when scoring first and a 15-1-0-1 record when leading after the first period. The first goal tonight didn't come in the first period, but Texas did notch that goal.

A quiet first period gave way to a noisy second and third. Within 44 seconds, Texas went from scoreless to up 2-0. Ethan Werek scored from the slot then Texas earned a power play to set up Julius Honka's seventh of the year. Tucson got back in it with a goal from Tyler Gaudet to close the second at 2-1 Texas.

Denis Gurianov extended the lead to 3-1 with a masterful tip that really demonstated one of the main skills that will make him a successful NHLer someday: his speed. The tip play at the net off the pass from Morin and DeFazio came because Gurianov got in behind the defender lightning quick.

"He's learned to use his speed at all times and get to the areas where he'll score goals," said DeFazio. "As he matures, he'll learn to use that speed and the more often he gets to the house, the more often he scores."

Texas 'made it exciting' for the fans though, according to Laxdal, with two goals allowed in the third period to set up the tie game at the end of regulation. Joe Whitney's goal came as a defensive breakdown left him all alone on the backside for his 13th of the year. Just after the Roadrunners pulled Adin Hill for the extra attacker, Laurent Dauphin scored on a tight play at the net for the tie.

The Stars had seen this before in Cleveland last Saturday and didn't want to take the loss. "We figured it out quicker than last time in Cleveland. You want to find a way to shut that down, but it's better coming out with a win."

Matej Stransky ensured that win with 2:36 left in OT. A tight play at the net put the puck on his stick for the game-winner. Adin Hill was hot under the collar claiming interference, but it was deemed a good goal.

The Stars play again on Friday at home against Stockton.

Tonight's lines:
Dickinson-Dowling-McNeill
Gurianov-Morin-Stransky
DeFazio-Smith-Werek
Ully-Fyten-Herbert

Bayreuther-Honka
Heatherington-Ebert
Bodnarchuk-Dietz

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Elie (call up)
Bystrom, Stevenson, Mangene (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,877.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Tucson - March 22 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners

Texas Stars
28-30-1-4, 61 pts, 0.484
#6 Pacific Division
v.Tucson Roadrunners
24-27-6-0, 54 pts, 0.474
#7 Pacific Division
March 22nd at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: The Texas Stars have assigned Landon Bow, Justin Hache and Mike McMurtry to the Idaho Steelheads.

The Roadrunners were the hot team to start the season. With weapons like Chris Mueller at hand and some sterling rookie adds, they were a hot hand.

That has cooled.

Tucson has dropped to 7th in the division, well out of the playoff race. Texas laid a hurt on them in two games back in early February, winning 3-2 and 6-2 in back-to-back nights. Since then, it's been a death spiral. Tucson has managed just a 3-11-1-0 record since leaving Texas on February 11th. It has not been an easy path for sure with regular matchups against San Diego, Bako, San Jose and Ontario. However, even last night they fell to the lowly San Antonio Rampage.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Texas, of course, as I have mentioned before, is in a precarious spot. They need all of the points they can get to make it to the playoffs right now. Their mark of 11-2 still stands as what they need in the final 13 games to make it in.

Tonight will mark the home debut of defenseman Gavin Bayreuther, who has already scored his first pro goal.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie (call up)
Smith (injury, expected to play)

Website: tucsonroadrunners.com
Twitter: @RoadrunnersAHL
Coverage: @CallahanOnAir (Tucson PBP)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Texas Stars Need Near Perfect Hockey Now to Make Playoffs

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The first playoff berth of the 2017 Calder Cup playoffs was clinched on Saturday as San Jose punched its ticket to the postseason. For the Stars, with 13 games left in the season, they are in dire straits at 6th place in the division. The Bakersfield Condors currently hold the final playoff spot, and Texas has a mountain to climb to match their pace of .544. At two games below .500, Texas needs to go 11-2 down the stretch to have a shot at the playoffs.

Without Bakersfield on their schedule for the rest of the season, they'll have to hope that the Condors go cold to get anything done in terms of knocking down the .544 mark. Bako is 7-3 in their last ten while Texas is 4-4-0-2.

This week's game are all must win. Facing Stockton and Tucson, in 5th and 7th places respectively, the Stars cannot afford to give away points, even overtime points, to these teams now. The margins are too thin for that.

If the Stars make it into the playoffs, this week will have to be a turning point for them. Once that happens, they can worry about what will likely be a grueling late March and early April, culminating in a 3-game set with San Antonio to potential decide the playoff fate of the Cedar Park crew.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Texas Stars Allow Six Unanswered, Drop 6-3 Contest to Monsters

After going up 3-0 in the first period, the Stars capitulated entirely in the second and third. Cleveland earned two of their goals in the second period, giving Texas a 3-2 lead after forty minutes. An early goal in the third tied it and with five minutes left, a ricochet off the boards gave Cleveland the go-ahead goal. Two more empty net goals would set the final.

Justin Peters stopped 34 of 38.

Texas now needs a 10-2-1 record from here on out in order to make the playoffs.

Here's the release:
After erasing a three-goal deficit, it was a bad bounce off the boards that gave the Cleveland Monsters their go-ahead goal en route to a 6-3 win over the Texas Stars on Saturday night in front of 14,317 in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena.

TJ Tynan's dump into the corner kicked the puck back in front and left Texas goaltender Justin Peters trapped behind the net as Ryan Craig tapped in an open-net goal with 4:53 to play after the Monsters rallied back from a 3-0 deficit.

Sonny Milano finished with a three-point game for Cleveland (2-1=3). Peters saw his career-high shutout streak come to an end at 161:17, while the Monsters snapped their scoreless drought of 149:16 in the win.

Texas (28-30-1-4) returns home on Wednesday to host the Tucson Roadrunners at 7:30 p.m. CST.

After weathering an early storm from the Monsters (28-27-3-4) in the opening minutes, the Stars took control of the game with three goals in a 12-minutes span of period one. Matej Stransky slapped a bouncing puck in the slot past Cleveland starter Anton Forsberg at 4:59 for his 20th of the season. Brandon DeFazio forced a turnover in the Monsters zone and buried a power-play goal with eight minutes to play, and Caleb Herbert snuck a wraparound attempt in the net with 2:17 left in the frame to score in his second straight game.

The Monsters responded in period two beginning with Marc-Andre Bergeron's power-play goal at 7:24. With six minutes to play in the second, Sonny Milano made it a 3-2 score during a delayed penalty call against Texas after banking a puck off the back of Peters.

In the third, Cleveland forced the game back to even on a breakaway goal by Jordan Maletta at 7:28. After Craig's tally, Milano and Zac Dalpe added empty-net goals for the Monsters to seal the win.

Peters finished 34 of 38 in net for the Stars. Forsberg stopped 19 of 22.

Texas was 1-for-3 on the power play while Cleveland was 1-for-2.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Elie (call up)
Smith (injury)
McMurtry, Hache, Bystrom, Lagace, Stevenson (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 14,317.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Cleveland - March 18 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Gavin Bayreuther Scores In First Pro Game, Texas Beats Cleveland 4-0

Justin Peters stopped everything he saw tonight for his second straight shutout. The Stars didn't need his perfect performance this evening though as they pierced Anton Forsberg for four goals on the evening. Texas's newest player, Gavin Bayreuther, made his mark with his first professional goal. Playing on the power play in his first pro game, he scored off the passing feed of the Stars' longest tenured player, Travis Morin.

The Stars were perfect on the PK, and Bayreuther's PPG made Texas 1/4 of the PP.

Here's the release:
Rookie Gavin Bayreuther scored in his first career game, Justin Dowling tallied a milestone goal and Justin Peters stopped 24 shots in net to record his first shutout for the Texas Stars in a 4-0, St. Patrick's Day win over the Cleveland Monsters in front of 10,215 in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena.

Caleb Herbert also scored for Texas, and the Stars snapped a four-game winless skid in the win (0-2-0-2). Cole Ully and Julius Honka each registered a pair of assists for the Stars.

Texas (28-29-1-4) and Cleveland (27-27-3-4) wrap up their season series Saturday at 6 p.m. CST.

After a scoreless first period, Herbert provided all the offense Peters would need on a quick wrist shot from the right circle at 10:15 to beat Cleveland's Anton Forsberg and open up the 1-0 score. Five minutes later, Dowling deflected Nick Ebert's point shot for his eighth of the season, and the 71st of his Texas career, to pass Matt Fraser for fourth in team history.

Carrying their 2-0 lead into the third, Austin Fyten found the back of the net for Texas midway through the frame off a faceoff for his first goal since Dec. 3 against Manitoba. With 5:08 to play in the game, and Texas on the power play, Bayreuther snapped home his first career goal off Travis Morin's crossing feed from the right circle to cap the scoring for Texas.

Peters' shutout came in his return to Cleveland after suffering a Calder Cup Final loss to the Monsters last year as a member of the Hershey Bears. The Stars' veteran netminder has given just five goals over his last four games.

Forsberg finished with 27 saves in the loss.

Texas finished 1-for-4 on the power play. Cleveland finished 0-for-3.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Elie (call up)
Smith (injury)
McMurtry, Hache, Bystrom, Lagace, Stevenson (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 10,215.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Cleveland - March 17 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wolves Best Texas in Shootout, 1-0

Justin Peters and Jordan Binnington both pitched shutouts, but someone had to take the loss as Texas came up short in the shootout. Kenny Agostino and Ty Rattie scored for the Wolves in the shootout. The Stars outshot the Wolves 30-26, went 0-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 1/1 on the penalty kill.

Here's the release:
Justin Peters stopped 25 shots in net to corral one of the AHL's top offensive teams but Jordan Binnington was better in a 1-0, shootout win for the Chicago Wolves over the Texas Stars on Wednesday night at Allstate Arena.

Peters and Binnington traded saves all night long and combined to stop 55 shots through 65 minutes of play. Kenny Agostino and Ty Rattie each scored in the shootout for the Wolves (37-17-5-3), who extended their point streak to 11 games in the win. It was the second straight game for Texas (27-29-1-4) that resulted in a shootout loss.

The Stars continue their three-game road trip on Friday when they visit the defending champion Cleveland Monsters at 6 p.m. CST.

With the loss, the Stars lose their first season series to the Wolves since the 2012-13 campaign when they lost three of four games. Despite the loss, Peters has given up just four goals over his last three contests in net.

Binnington finished with 30 saves in the win for the Wolves.

Texas was 0-for-4 on the power play. Chicago was 0-for-1.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Elie (call up)
Smith (injury)
McMurtry, Hache, Bayreuther, Stevenson (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 3,935.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Chicago - March 15 2017

Landon Bow Recalled to Texas Stars

(Credit: Andy Nieutpski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars have recalled goalie Landon Bow to Texas. Aside from injury, this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The Texas Stars have little to play for at this point aside from a near-flawless run the rest of the way. Bow was solid in his time in the AHL, but he still went 7-7.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Wednesday the team has recalled rookie goaltender Landon Bow from their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Bow, 21, returns to the Stars on his second AHL call-up this season. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound netminder was 15-5-2 in 22 games with Idaho this season. His 2.25 goals against average and .929 save percentage both ranked second overall in the ECHL.

The Saint Albert, Alberta native has appeared in 16 AHL games with Texas this season. The undrafted Bow (BOH) was originally signed an AHL contract with Texas over the summer, and then signed an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Dallas Stars on March 10, 2017.