Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stars Tricked By Aeros in Halloween Matinee, 4-2

Texas has to be happy to be on the other side of a seven game in ten day stretch. However, surely they would have liked to see it end without a two game losing streak to their in-state rival from Houston.

Houston opened the scoring in the game on a pointshot from Kris Fredheim, his first of the year, just five minutes into the game. Texas had three power play opportunities in the first period but did not score on any of them.

The Stars got into a bit of a rough spot in the second period when both Aaron Gagnon and Matt Stephenson got called for minor penalties on the same play. Houston was then granted a two minute long 5-on-3 power play. Texas technically killed the penalty by not allowing a goal during the two minutes. However, former Star Warren Peters put one home just three seconds after the penalty expired.

Before the end of the second period, Texas would get one back with Francis Wathier putting it home. Wathier was on the ice with a retooled line due to the lack of success by the Rallo-Gagnon-Wathier line. Gagnon cycled out with Travis Morin replacing him on the unit.

Mathieu Tousignant scored in tight for the Stars to start the 3rd period. Assists on the tally came from linemates Ondrej Roman and Colton Sceviour. With the game tied, Texas got on the power play with Cody Almond in the box for hooking. As the penalty expired, Warren Peters and Carson McMillan broke out on a 2-on-1. McMillan finished off Peters' nice passing play and broke the tie to make it 3-2. Nate Prosser added his second goal in as many nights against the Stars to make the final 4-2.

Texas will now have 4 days off which will surely include work on the Stars sputtering power play, which is 2 for 22 over the last five games. Although the Stars had a clean sheet on the penalty kill tonight, two of the Aeros goals were scored just coming off of penalties, one for and one against.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Backman

Benn-Fortunus
Spang-Stephenson
Lukowich-Tr. Ludwig

Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Larsen (scratched)
Krahn, Chupp (illness)
Sawada, McCulloch (undisclosed injury)
Blindenbacher (concussion-like symptoms)

Travis Morin and Aaron Gagnon traded lines for a bit during the game to try to generate some offensive spark. It worked as the Rallo-Morin-Wathier line scored the Stars' first goal.

Tonight's attendance was 3,353.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Houston - October 31 2010

Goalie Joel Paprocki Added on Emergency Basis

The Texas Stars signed Joel Paprocki today to what will surely be a short contract. Brent Krahn appears to have come down with something short term and Texas needed a backup for today's game in Houston.

So who is Joel Paprocki? Well, a search of the usual hockey sites turns up nothing. But a generic Google search points to PointStreak, the point tracking website for the local Chaparral Ice amateur adult league. Joel Paprocki has played in the local league since at least 2004, bouncing between the AA and A levels. Here is a link to his stats page.

I have definitely played with players who have been on Paprocki's team. This sort of thing is not without precedent though. It happens, obviously most commonly with goaltenders, in emergency situations. Amateur league players love to talk about that one guy they knew that rode the pine for the pro team when the regular guy got the flu. Now everyone in Austin will have just such a story to tell.

Gameday Preview: Stars at Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
6-3-0-0, 12 pts
#4 West Division
atHouston Aeros
3-5-1-0, 5 pts
#8 West Division
October 31st at 4:05 PM
Toyota Center, Houston, TX

As per usual, a limited gameday preview for the back-to-backs against the same team. Texas versus Houston face off in the Toyota Center for today's Halloween matinee match. After facing each other last night, Texas has to hope that they can bring energy to the table and end their nasty seven games in ten days streak on a positive note before taking a few days off. Houston will be playing their last game of a three-in-three.

Texas had a keen mastery over the Aeros last year going 8-3-0-1 in the season series. With the back-to-back nature of the games, I would expect Brent Krahn to go for the Stars. Texas announced that Joel Paprocki has been signed as a backup to Richard Bachman with Brent Krahn out sick. Matt Hackett should get the start for the Aeros. Hackett is 2-3-0 in 5 games of work. An inflated 3.36 GAA is mostly due to 5 and 8 goal shellackings at the hands of Oklahoma City and San Antonio, respectively.

Today's game is on 1530 AM with some NFL game surely taking the main stage on 104.9 FM.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, McCulloch (injury)
Krahn, Chupp (sick)

Website: aeros.com
Blog (unofficial): The Third Intermission
Twitter: @Houston_Aeros

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stars Fall Flat Against Aeros, Lose 3-1

After winning their last three in a row, including two on the road, Texas had a bit of a let down tonight against a struggling Aeros team that just kept hanging around in the game.

Houston never trailed in the game and got things off to an early start in the first. A paunchy rebound right up the guts from goaltender Richard Bachman left Marco Scandella all alone at the blue line where he did a nice wind-up and laid one in there for a 1-0 Aeros lead. Texas would then face a 5-on-3 in their advantage for an extended 67 seconds, in which they came out flat and could not generate the proper chances. Overall, Texas was 0 for 6 on the power play tonight officially. "In these kinds of games, you need your power play to go," said Coach Gulutzan. "When you're not at a high energy level, you need your power play to click for you."

Five minutes after the first goal, pugilist and occasional goal-scorer Carson McMillan put one home on a cram play. Texas would get one back in the period just coming off the power play. Fabian Brunnstrom shot low from below the right wing circle and beat Khudobin on a trickler five hole. The only other scoring in the game came in the third period when Nate Prosser bombed one form the point and beat Bachman for the 3-1 lead.

Texas simply lacked energy for much of the game. The Stars are coming to the end of a seven game in ten day schedule that has surely exhausted the team. After tomorrow's game in Houston, the Stars will have a break until Friday at Oklahoma City.

The play of Fabian Brunnstrom is coming along in the AHL. Brunnstrom, who earned the night's third star, had the Stars' only goal and was everywhere in the second half of the third period after being elbowed in the face by Aeros captain, Jon DiSalvatore. The right winger hounded the puck and showed why he was so highly sought after by NHL clubs when coming to North America. The Stars have to hope that he will continue to develop that game as the season progresses.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Backman

Spang-Stephenson
Tr. Ludwig-Fortunus
Lukowich-Larsen

Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Chupp (scratched)
Sawada, McCulloch (undisclosed injury)
Blindenbacher (concussion-like symptoms)

Tonight's attendance was 5,616.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Houston - October 30 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
6-2-0-0, 12 pts
#4 West Division
v.Houston Aeros
2-5-1-0, 5 pts
#8 West Division
October 30th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars, fresh off a two game roadie, return home to face the Houston Aeros at Cedar Park Center tonight. At this point, Houston and Texas could not look more different on the record sheet. Texas is riding a three game winning streak with Ws over Peoria, Rockford, and Chicago. Houston, meanwhile, won their first two games against Oklahoma City and have gone on a six game losing streak.

Houston fans are frustrated with a lack of offensive output by the Aeros. Leading scorers for the Aeros are JM Daoust (2-3-5) and Cody Almond (1-4-5). Houston has averaged only 2 goals per game in their first eight games and has not had the defense to make that stand up. Former Star Warren Peters has yet to tally a point with Houston and is minus-5 on the season with 4 PIMs.

Houston has yet to allow a power play goal on the road this season. Goalies for the Aeros are a little bit the same and a little bit different. A season ending injury to Minnesota backup Josh Harding made it look like Anton Khudobin would get the call, but the Wild signed Jose Theodore, giving Khudobin another year in the AHL.

Khudobin is 0-3 with a 2.31 GAA and .929 SV%. Josh Tordjman, the free agent signee from San Antonio, has been relegated to the ECHL. Matt Hackett backs up Khudobin and has a 3.36 GAA, .894 SV%, and 2-3 record. Hackett started last night in San Antonio and allowed five goals.

Hopefully Texas can take advantage of an opponent who is struggling to tune up some of their special teams. As I have been mentioning, Coach Gulutzan really wants the Stars to execute better on the power play. Texas is dead middle on PP at 16.2%. Additionally, their penalty kill ranks toward the bottom of the league at just 75%. This is definitely a point for improvement for these Texas Stars.

The Stars will be sporting their pink jerseys to support breast cancer awareness this evening as well.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, McCulloch (injury)

Website: aeros.com
Blog (unofficial): The Third Intermission
Twitter: @Houston_Aeros

Friday, October 29, 2010

Larsen Reassigned To Texas

With Stephane Robidas back from suspension, the Dallas Stars, as expected, reassigned Philip Larsen to Texas. Here's the release:
The Dallas Stars announced on Friday that the club has assigned defenseman Philip Larsen to the Texas Stars, Dallas’ primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Larsen, 20, skated for Dallas Thursday night recording one assist. He has played in six games for the Texas Stars so far this season, collecting two assists. Last season he appeared in two games for Dallas and tallied one assist. Larsen spent the majority of 2009-10 with Vastra Frolunda HC of the Swedish Elite League where he dressed in 42 games, posting 10 points (1g, 9a) and 20 penalty minutes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Texas Wins Seesaw Battle With Chicago 4-3

For much of tonight's game, you could have simply replayed last night's game against Rockford. Every time Texas scored, Chicago had the answer. Luckily for Texas, just like last night the Stars came out on top. Except tonight only 60 minutes were required to get the win.

Texas and Chicago skated to a scoreless first period with Chicago leading on shots 13-8. The second period, however, was a seesaw battle of goals with the Stars never trailing.

Mathieu Tousignant, last night's shootout hero, broke open the scoring in the second period for Texas on a one-timer from Ondrej Roman. The goal from the high slot was Tousignant's first goal of the year. His goal was countered by a power play tally from Andre Deveaux to make it a 1-1 game.

Tristan King got his second goal in as many games at the 8:29 mark of the second. The fourth line got its 3rd goal in 3 games as well. Assists on the goal came from Gazdic and Backman. Again, Chicago answered with a power play goal, this time from Darren Haydar. Texas was tied at 2-2 at the 11 minute mark.

Texas collected a power play tally of their own next. Maxime Fortunus collected his first goal of the year down low on a rebound. Two more assists were doled out to fourth line guys, Luke Gazdic and Sean Backman again. You know what's coming next though. Riley Holzapfel scored off a nice passing play with Sifers, the former Aero. Texas got out of the frenetic second period with the score at 3-3.

To open the third period, Fabian Brunnstrom scored off a turnover by the Chicago defenseman Valabik. The unassisted tally was Brunnstrom's first of the year, which should help the much-touted forward continue to develop his scoring touch. Thanks to some sparkling saves by Richard Bachman on late Chicago power play opportunities, Texas emerged from Allstate Arena with the win. Bachman had 40 saves on 43 Chicago shots.

Again, special teams play could have been better. Texas could have made it a less-close game. The power play was 1/3 on the night, which is a more then decent clip. However, the penalty kill allowed 2 goals in 5 Chicago opportunities.

Also of note is the play of the fourth line. Tristan King collected a goal and an assist in the game to make 4 points on the year. King is the 3rd leading scorer on the team behind Morin and McCulloch. Luke Gazdic assisted on two goals, including a power play tally. This is a fourth line that can grit it out and score. That is a key for success on the season. If Texas can roll four lines that can all score, that will help to mop up any defensive issues in the early season.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Backman

Spang-Stephenson
Benn-Fortunus
Monast-Tr. Ludwig

Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Larsen (callup)
Lukowich, Chupp (scratched)
Sawada, McCulloch (undisclosed injury)
Blindenbacher (concussion-like symptoms)

Tonight's attendance was 3,718.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Chicago - October 28 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
5-2-0-0, 10 pts
#4 West Division
atChicago Wolves
4-3-1-0, 9 pts
#6 West Division
October 28th at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Some of you may recall the last time Texas visited Rosemont and took on the Chicago Wolves. It was Game 7 of the West Division Finals and Texas and Chicago were tied at five in the overtime period. Then this happened:



That was last year, but boy wasn't it fun to watch again? Both Chicago and Texas are different teams than last year, but that doesn't mean bad memories don't remain for the Wolves.

Texas fans will recognize many of those on the Wolves roster, including leading scorers Darren Haydar (2-5-7), Jason Krog (1-6-7), and Spencer Machacek (2-4-6). You'll notice that those goal scoring numbers are a little low. Chicago has not been lighting the lamp at the same clip as last year, averaging only 2.38 goals for per game. This is almost a full goal per game off from their mark of 3.30 last year. Texas meanwhile is at 2.86 for (#15 in the league) and 2.29 against (#5 in the league).

The power D pair for Chicago in last year's playoffs was the combination of the wily veteran Chris Chelios and the young gun Ivan Vishnevskiy. Neither laces his skates in Rosemont anymore this season. Chelios ended his long career after the end of the AHL season last year and accepted a job with the Detroit Red Wings. Ivan Vishnevskiy was traded to Chicago and now plays in Rockford. The current offensive leader for the Wolves on defense is Jamie Sifers, who Stars fans will recognize from the Aeros last year.

Chicago has a bit of situation in net right now. Ondrej Pavelec is currently on a conditioning assignment with the Wolves after collapsing to the ice and suffering a concussion in an NHL game with the Thrashers. Pavelec got the start last night against the Barons and took the loss, allowing 3 goals. Peter Mannino has been recalled to Atlanta and Drew MacIntyre still remains in Chicago with an 0-2-0 record and a 4.83 GAA. The story of the year so far for Chicago has been the play of rookie Edward Pasquale. Pasquale is 4-1-0 with a 2.13 GAA and .923 SV%. The 4th round draft pick by Atlanta played his junior hockey in the OHL with the Saginaw Spirit.

Meanwhile for Texas, Coach Gulutzan would surely love to get his special teams clicking. Last night's special teams performance (PP: 0/4; PK: 1/3) surely left something to be desired but great goaltending and timely goal-scoring kept Texas in the game. In those tight games, Gulutzan points to special teams as the difference maker. The Wolves are second to last in home penalty killing percentage (68.8%), so Texas is prime to take advantage. Games with teams like Chicago are tight games that will need that extra push.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, McCulloch, Blindenbacher (injured)
Larsen (call up)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Blog (official): UnMic'd with Jason Shaver
Message Board: Wolves Forum
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Texas Outlasts Rockford in SO, 4-3

Texas played a close one with Rockford but never trailed in the game and earned the win ultimately.

Texas opened up the scoring with another goal from the fourth line. Tristan King got his first professional goal thanks to some forechecking pressure by Luke Gazdic and Cody Chupp. Chupp collected a turnover and sent it to Tristan King who wristed it home. Rockford evened it up on the power play with a goal from Brandon Pirri at the 9:01 mark. The goal was off one of only four shots in the first period by Rockford. Texas closed out strong with a goal from Aaron Gagnon on the right half-wall after some sustained pressure in the Rockford zone. Texas outshot Rockford 14-4 in the opening frame and led 2-1.

Rockford evened things up in the second on both shots and goals. Taffe scored his third of the year on the power play in the second to even the goals at two a piece. Rockford outshot Texas 11-6 in the frame but Texas was still ahead overall 20-15.

Texas and Rockford would match each other further in the third period. Maxime Fortunus got the Stars the lead coming off of a power play on a shot from the point. Fabian Brunnstrom assisted for his first points in Texas this year. Only 73 seconds later, the IceHogs would get it back with Kyle Beach getting his 2nd of the year and 4th in 5 games against the Stars. Texas would skate to a tie at the end of regulation and a scoreless OT period. Rockford evened up the shots on the night to 31 a piece.

The shootout showed how even matched the teams were on the night as well. After 4 goals in the first four rounds, it took until the 9th round for Mathieu Tousignant to score the game winner.

Texas could have made this a much less close game with better special teams play. Rockford was 2 for 3 on the power play and Texas was 0 for 4. If either of those stats change one in Texas's favor, OT and the shootout is avoided. This is especially important to consider with tonight's game being the 2nd in a 3-in-3. Texas goalie Brent Krahn is now 7-0 in Rockford as a Texas Stars including last year's regular season and playoffs.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Chupp

Spang-Stephenson
Benn-Fortunus
Monast-Tr. Ludwig

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Larsen (callup)
Lukowich, Backman (scratched)
Sawada, McCulloch (undisclosed injury)
Blindenbacher (concussion-like symptoms)

Tonight's attendance was 2,096.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford - October 27 2010

Dallas Calls Up Philip Larsen, Texas Recalls Monast

Philip Larsen in Tuesday's game against Peoria. (Photo credit: Brian Hackert)
The Texas Stars will be down one on defense tonight in Rockford as Dallas has recalled Philip Larsen. Larsen's callup was necessary after Stephane Robidas was suspended by the league for getting a second game misconduct in the same category within 41 games.

This makes Texas's situation interesting. With Philip Larsen out and Severin Blindenbacher still on the mend from his minor car accident, does this mean Jordie Benn will play tonight for the Stars?

UPDATE: Texas has recalled Guillaume Monast from Idaho as well. Monast is 0-1-1 with 6 PIMS in 4 games with Idaho.

Gameday Preview: Stars at Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
4-2-0-0, 8 pts
#5 West Division
atRockford IceHogs
4-3-0-0, 8 pts
#6 West Division
October 27th at 6:35 PM
Rockford MetroCentre, Rockford, IL

Texas and Rockford meet this evening for the first time this season. Texas last visited the MetroCentre last April for Game 4 of the openign round of the West Division Playoffs. Texas swept the IceHogs in four games, with Brent Krahn starting all four and performing superbly. Texas never trailed in the series. Surely, that is not forgotten by the returning members of the IceHogs squad.

The IceHogs are led on offense by Brian Connelly (0-7-7) who is in his third year with Rockford. Other leading scorers include Rob Kilnkhammer (3-3-6) and Ryan Potulny (2-3-5). Other IceHogs of note include former Star Ivan Vishnevskiy, who is 1-4-5 but has a minus-3 rating on the young season. Rockford's top four scorers from last year have all found different addresses for the new season and not all of them are in the system anymore. Mark Cullen (Rochester), Bracken Kearns (San Antonio) and Kyle Greentree (Hershey) left town while Jack Skille now plies his trade in Chicago.

Corey Crawford is now backing up former Dallas Star Marty Turco for the Blackhawks. This leaves Hannu Toivonen and newcomer Alec Richards to man the crease for Rockford. Toivonen is 1-2-0 with a bloated 4.39 GAA and .831 SV%. Toivonen is 2-1-1 against Texas with all of his ice aginst the Stars coming during his time with the Rivermen. Alec Richards has been the more steady hand with a 3-1 record, 2.94 GAA and .888 SV%.

Rookie Kyle Hagel leads all players in major penalties (5) in the AHL. Rockford has the second worst penalty killing percentage in the AHL at 68.8%.

Brent Krahn will start for Texas tonight.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, McCulloch (injury)

Website: icehogs.com
Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Texas, Bachman Shut Out High-Powered Peoria, 3-0

Tomas Vincour, Matt Stephenson, and Dan Spang share some kind words with Peoria between plays. (Photo credit: Brian Hackert)

Texas really needed a win against Peoria. After two tough losses in the early going against Peoria, the last home game Texas has against Peoria this year needed to send them off on their road trip in a good way. Richard Bachman and a re-tooled power play unit gave them that win.

Texas played a solid game from start to finish this evening. Just 23 seconds into the game, Mathieu Tousignant threw down with Stefan Della Rovere. That energized the crowd and the Texas bench. Texas would draw first blood shortly thereafter on the power play. With Evans in the box for slashing, Dan Spang's point shot found the back of the net. It was Spang's first goal of the year. Francis Wathier dropped the mitts with Peoria captain Dean Arsene two minutes later to keep the energy up and leveled Arsene with a hit to the jaw.

Texas kept their balanced attack going with another goal in each of the remaining periods. Cody Chupp collected his first professional goal by walking into the Peoria zone and beating Ben Bishop on the shortside. Luke Gazdic and Tristan King assisted. And with time winding down in the game, Travis Morin tipped a point shot by Trevor Ludwig to make it a 3-0 game.

Richard Bachman was the number one star of the game and deservedly so. "You didn't see the huge highlight reel saves [from Bachman]," said Coach Gulutzan, "but he made the big saves when we needed them." It was Bachman's first start for the season and he was aided by knowing about the start a few days in advance. He had a 38 shot shutout but it is not his first AHL shutout, as he earned one against Hamilton in Ontario last year. Bachman was quick to deflect praise to his defense corps, "The guys were great in front of me: blocking shots, clearing rebounds, picking up sticks and letting me see shots. I think that was key to our success tonight."

Texas does not play Peoria again until January 15th and the Rivermen will not return to the Cedar Park Center again this regular season. "I think we've learned a lot playing [Peoria] in three games," commented Gulutzan. "I think that's good early, but I think psychologically getting that win was good."

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Chupp

Spang-Stephenson
Larsen-Lukowich
Fortunus-Tr. Ludwig

Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Backman (scratched)
Sawada, McCulloch (undisclosed injury)
Blindenbacher (concussion symptoms suffered in minor car accident)

Tonight's attendance was 5,013.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Peoria - October 26 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
3-2-0-0, 6 pts
#7 West Division
v.Peoria Rivermen
7-2-0-0, 14 pts
#1 West Division
October 26th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

This seems familiar and for the Texas Stars, it's for all the wrong reasons. Texas faces Peoria for the 3rd time in the first 6 games of the season tonight in Cedar Park. Peoria is pacing the league with their 14 points, but finally did manage to lose to someone on this Texas road trip, falling to San Antonio on Sunday by a final of 4-1. Peoria goaltender Ben Bishop started for the Rivermen on Sunday, holds the league lead in wins with five on the season.

Peoria's skaters are among the tops in the league with Graham Mink (4-8-12) and Nicholas Drazenovic (6-3-9) both in the top 10 of scoring for the league. Texas, meanwhile, does not appear on any of the individual leaderboards on the season in the AHL. However, that is more Texas's way. The Stars did not have a huge standout skater last year until Jamie Benn came down from Dallas in the post season. Texas's character is to get it done with a team effort. Texas managed to slow down the game on Saturday against Peoria and keep the game manageable against the high-powered offense, but Peoria still came out on top.

Coach Gulutzan points to the Texas power play as a point of difficulty in the loss. The man-advantage, which went 0 for 5 on the game, has to get better for Texas to win. The home power play has been hot on the season, going 4/20 overall, but not against Peoria (1/8 on the season).

After all of these early games against the Rivermen, Texas will not face them against until January 15th in Peoria. Tonight's game will be the last game for Peoria in Cedar Park on the season already. The remaining games in the series (Jan 15, Feb 23, Apr 6) will all be in Peoria.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada (injury)

Website: rivermen.net
Blog (unofficial): Cleve's World
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen

Monday, October 25, 2010

Texas Stars Report: Penalty Shots and "Kicking Motions"

The Texas Stars continued their home stand this week with only two games. Texas has played the fewest games in the AHL up to this point in the season, a "favor" that will be repaid later in the season by the scheduler. February will be one of the worst months for the Stars with 14 games in 28 days.

This week's two games were a mixed bag. Texas showed resiliency in a come from behind win, but also fell to the best team in the league in a shutout performance.

Read more at Defending Big D - Texas Stars Report: Penalty Shots and "Kicking Motions"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Peoria, Jake Allen Pitch a Shutout, Blank Texas 2-0

Peoria, it turns out, can win it anyway they please. After Texas's high scoring game against the Rivermen last Sunday, the Stars surely expected offensive fireworks once again from Peoria. However, Peoria locked it down and the defense earn them their second straight shutout, seventh straight win and fifth straight road win.

Texas got victimized early and late in the game with goals being scored three and half minutes into the game and with the same time left in the game. Peoria's first goal by Drazenovic was a tip that beat Krahn.

The Stars had a lot of quality chances and actually outshot the Rivermen on the night 36-19, but couldn't come up with a tally. The closest Texas came was a power play goal in the second period that was waved off due to a "kicking motion". Francis Wathier was originally credited with the goal, which was called as a goal on the ice. Further review reveal that there was a "kicking motion" by Wathier and the goal was called off. The referee's never said conclusively that the puck was kicked in, according to Coach Gulutzan, who shared words with the referees at the end of the second and beginning of the third. The call was that there was a kicking motion, but there was no definitive video that showed the puck ended up in the net as a result of the kick. "No one can conclusive say it was kicked," said Gulutzan. "No one can conclusively say it was hit with the stick. [Only] Francis Wathier can tell you."

Peoria added another in the third period off the stick of Phil McRae. Texas would get a power play at the end of the game on a Dave Scatchard boarding penalty, but couldn't make anything of the 6-on-4 advantage they gained by pulling Brent Krahn.

Coach Gulutzan felt that the team showed "good energy" and really had all that they needed to win the game. "Our power play has to be better," added Gulutzan. "I think that's the difference in the game." Texas was 0 for 5 on the power play on the night. Texas will try again on Tuesday, as Peoria will stay in town for another in their long Texas road trip.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Brunnstrom-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Roman-Tousignant
Gazdic-King-Chupp

Spang-Stephenson
Larsen-Lukowich
Fortunus-Tr. Ludwig

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Blindenbacher, McCulloch, Backman (scratched)
Sawada (undisclosed injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,438.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Peoria - October 23 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
3-1-0-0, 6 pts
#4 West Division
v.Peoria Rivermen
6-1-0-0, 12 pts
#1 West Division
October 23rd at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Peoria is not a team that anyone wants to face right now. After losing their first game in Manitoba, the Rivermen have rattled off six straight victories. Peoria owns the best record in the West Division and has gained it against mostly divisional opponents, cutting down Milwaukee, Rockford, Texas, San Antonio, and Houston in the past two weeks.

The Rivermen will be coming in on the second game of a three in three that will see them play each of the three Texas teams on successive days. Ben Bishop started Friday night in Houston and earned a 36 save shutout performance. Bishop has a straight on 2.00 GAA in 6 games with a .944 SV%. If the Stars face him, he is a tough goalie to beat right now. Backup Jake Allen has only started one game so far this season, a win against Houston.

After getting beat up by the Rivermen through 2 and a half periods on Sunday, Texas will do well to start the physicality early. It worked int he second half of the third and that's how you keep a high-flying offensive team down: play physically.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada (injury)

Website: rivermen.net
Blog (unofficial): Cleve's World
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen

Stars Get Late Goals to Beat Monsters, 3-2

Texas played a grinding first two periods without offense but did not disappoint the weekend crowd here in Cedar Park as they exploded for 3 goals in the third period.

Although there were no goals in the first period, there were several premium quality chances. Texas goaltender Brent Krahn calmly deflected all 12 Monsters shots in the period, including 3 in rapid succession late in the period. The second period was much of the same. Texas looked good in the period, even getting two shorthanded shots.

Lake Erie would score the game's first goal. Zach Cohen's shot bounced off the netminder to Mark Olver who had a wide open net on the left side. He buried it for a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Sean Backman would pot his first professional goal on a backhander rebound of Luke Gazdic's cram attempt. Tousignant also assisted.

However, with the goal still being announced in the building, Greg Mauldin would retake the lead for the Monsters. However, a Monster covered the puck in the crease on a frenetic play for Lake Erie and the Stars were awarded a penalty shot.

Coach Gulutzan asked who wanted it and Colton Sceviour piped up, "I'll take it." Sceviour, who was "shaking" out there with the game-tying goal looming in front of him, and decided to just go to his signature move. Asked after the game to describe his signature move, Sceviour commented, "If I tell it to you, all the goalies will know what it is." The signature move got the Stars the tying goal, a roofer on the backhand.

With the game poised to go to overtime, Texas Stars winger Francis Wathier willed a puck into the net on a wrap-around cram play with 40.9 seconds left remaining in the game. The Monsters' Mercier cracked his stick in half over his knee in frustration after the play. Lake Erie would call a timeout but couldn't put together a play to take it to overtime.

Francis Wathier pointed to the success of the Stars' third and fourth lines as key in the game. Sean Backman, who is on the fourth line with Gazdic and Tousignant, scored his first professional goal. "They don't play a ton of ice, but they made it count tonight," said Wathier. "It pumped us up; I was pumped"

Tonight's lines:
McCulloch-Morin-Vincour
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
Sceviour-Roman-Brunnstrom
Gazdic-Tousignant-Backman

Larsen-Lukowich
Fortunus-Tr. Ludwig
Spang-Stephenson

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Blindenbacher, Chupp, King (scratched)
Sawada (undisclosed injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,014.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Lake Erie - October 22 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
2-1-0-0, 4 pts
#6 West Division
v.Lake Erie Monsters
2-3-0-1, 5 pts
#6 North Division
October 22nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche) come to town for the first time this year. For the Monsters, it is their 7th game of the year. For the Stars, this will only be their 4th tilt of the new season. Texas has lain dormant on the weekdays for much of the past two weeks, which will certainly have a payback in the second half of the season.

For the Monsters, this will be their 5th game in the past 7 days, a grueling schedule. In their West Division swing, they have gone 0-3-0-1 against Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Texas hopes to help the Monsters continue that streak against the West tonight.

These Monsters are not the same team that we saw last year. Leading scorer from the last 3 season, T.J. Hensick, is now with the Peoria Rivermen and franchise leader in wins, Tyler Weiman, is now with Manitoba.

These new look Monsters are led between the pipes by a tandem at this point, John Grahame and Jason Bacashihua. Each has one win and two losses to their name and 69 saves in three games. Bacashihua is a former Dallas Stars first round draft pick, going 26th overall in 2001. He never reached the NHL with the Stars but played 38 games with the St. Louis Blues from 2005-07.

For the Stars, they regain a key piece of the puzzle in Aaron Gagnon. Gagnon played in Dallas's game with Tampa Bay on Monday night and was reassigned when Jamie Benn was cleared to play last night against the Panthers.

With Texas facing back-to-back games this weekend, we might see one start from each of the starting golatenders. Krahn has started all three of Texas games this season and was chased in his most recent appearance against Peoria.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada (undisclosed injury)

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cancel Your Vacation, Stars Day Game Moves To Evening

The Texas Stars game against the Chicago Wolves on November 10th has been rescheduled to the evening. Originally, the game was scheduled to be the first ever home weekday day game for the Stars. The game will now be played at 7:30 PM. The Stars will play a day game later in the season against the Syracuse Crunch on March 7th at the Cedar Park Center.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Texas Stars Report on Defending Big D: Familiar Foes

The Texas Stars celebrated this week with the raising of the Western Conference Championship banner to the rafters in the Cedar Park Center. Only 15 of those who helping claim the championship were on the ice in Stars jerseys that night. Three of them were on the ice for the San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes), including goalie Matt Climie.

Texas split this week's contests and lost a key piece from last year's campaign to call up. The Stars launched an all-out media blitz this week to bring people in for this weekend's games, specifically Saturday. Texas pulled in 6,300 for Saturday's game and only 3,400 for Sunday's afternoon game...

Read the rest here...

Gagnon Assigned to Texas

Just a quick hit, but Aaron Gagnon has been reassigned to the Texas Stars. I think the quick assignment is a little bit of Benn being healthy and a little bit of needing to make sure the Stars don't incur waivers on him again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Peoria's Four Goal Second Period Downs Texas, 5-2

It was a tale of two Texas Stars teams tonight in Cedar Park. The Stars of the first and third period could not overcome the mistakes of the second period Stars and fell overall 5-2 this afternoon.

Texas got off to a quick start after hooking and delay of game calls to the Rivermen. With an 83 second 5-on-3 in front of them, Texas made good with Travis Morin's third goal of year, scored on the rebound from below the right wing circle. Francis Wathier and Philip Larsen assisted. Texas made it 2-0 off the stick of hot hand Scott McCulloch. A dump-in by Severin Blindenbacher took an odd bounce off the glass and McCulloch was Johnny on the spot to beat Ben Bishop stick side high. Dave Scatchard scored on a rebound off Krahn to make the score 2-1, which is how the period would end.

The air came out of the building in the second though as Texas allowed 4 more unanswered goals. Drazenovic scored in the same spot as McCulloch to even the score at 2 just 104 seconds into the second period. Scatchard and Drazenovic would each score once more in the period to make the score 4-2 and end Brent Krahn's night. Richard Bachman came in after the 4th goal was scored. Bachman allowed only one with 4 minutes left in the 2nd. "We got away from what had worked in the first," said goal-scorer Travis Morin. "We had some chances in the third, but we came up short."

The game's score would not change in the third, but Texas did look better. They outshot the Rivermen in the period 15-10 and got chippy. The line of Cody Chupp, Luke Gazdic, and Mathieu Tousignant saw a lot of time in the third. Even captain Brad Lukowich got into the action, jawing with Ryan Reaves and taking matching roughing minors. Lukowich and Reaves kept talking their entire time in the penalty box, setting up what is sure to be a contentious rematch on Saturday night in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:
McCulloch-Morin-Vincour
Sceviour-Rallo-Brunnstrom
Backman-Roman-Wathier
Gazdic-Tousignant-Chupp

Larsen-Lukowich
Blindenbacher-Ludwig
Fortunus-Spang

Krahn
Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Stephenson, King (scratched)
Sawada (injured)

Tonight's attendance was 3,400.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Peoria - October 17 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
2-0-0-0, 4 pts
#4 West Division
v.Peoria Rivermen
4-1-0-0, 8 pts
#1 West Division
October 17th at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
Texas and Peoria are familiar foes from last season but these Peoria Rivermen have some very new faces that have helped give them a 4-1 record so far on the season. After losing to Manitoba to open the season, the Rivermen have been teared through the West Division with wins over Rockford, Milwaukee, San Antonio and Houston. They have scored 21 goals in just 5 games and allowed only 12. This is not last year's Rivermen.

Leading the charge are two wily veterans, Graham Mink and T.J. Hensick. Mink, a right winger who played with the Rochester Americans last year, has rattled off 4 goals and 7 assists in five games. Hensick (3-4-7) and Nathan Oystrick (2-5-7) are tied at 7 points in five games as well.

In net for the Rivermen is the monsterous Ben Bishop, coming in at 6 foot 7 inches. Bishop is stating his 4th year with the Rivermen and is joined in net by rookie Jake Allen. Allen was the second round draft pick of the Blue in 2008 and spent the last 4 season in the QMJHL. Last year he split time between Drummondville and Montreal, racking up a 28-14-0 record. Allen started last night, so I would expect Bishop in net this afternoon.

Texas will have a different look than last night. The recall of Aaron Gagnon and assignment of Fabian Brunnstrom has an as-yet-undetermined effect on offense. I feel like Brunnstrom is not going to be as responsible of a two-way player to start out. Gagnon certainly learned those skills when that was his role in Grand Rapids two years ago. However, many media types in Dallas have stated that they expect Brunnstrom to be here all year. Coach Gulutzan's system will certainly make him a more responsible defensive player and hopefully nurse along his scoring touch as well.

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

Website: rivermen.net
Blog (unofficial): Cleve's World
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen

Dallas Recalls Gagnon, Assigns Brunnstrom

Fabian Brunnstrom cleared waivers today and has been assigned to the Texas Stars. Aaron Gagnon has also been recalled for the Stars Florida road trip. Jamie Benn is still on the mend from suffering 'concussion-like' symptoms and Dallas likely wants some extra bodies for the trip. Gagnon's first game action could come Monday at Tampa Bay.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stars Win Home Opener in OT, 5-4

Between two Texas based teams, the home opener for the Stars was an old West shootout with 9 goals scored in the game and a more than 60 minutes required to determine the final winner.

San Antonio got the scoring started early with a power play tally three minutes into the game. A homerun pass from Tim Stapleton in his own defensive zone allowed Picard a clear shot at the net. Matt Climie, who started in net for the Rampage, assisted on the tally.

Texas's Scott McCulloch would even the score on a good back and forth play with Travis Morin. Tomas Vincour assisted on the goal to gain his first professional point. McCulloch would show up on the scoresheet again shortly thereafter for elbowing and then an ensuing fighting major.

San Antonio would score the next two goals off the sticks Viktor Tikhonov and former Star Mathieu Beaudoin to make it 3-1 early in the 3rd. Tikhonov's goal was a power play tally and Beaudoin's was a slow dribbler that made it across the goal line.

Texas roared back in the 3rd, however. Francis Wathier scored his first goal of the season on a controversial tip. Wathier batted the puck out of the air and in behind Climie. The signal was a goal but the Rampage protests, none more vehemently than goalie Climie. The paly was ruled a good goal and surely frustrated the San Antonio keeper. Just a few minutes later, also on the power play, Aaron Gagnon would score on the power play from a bad angle shot rebound down below the right wing circle. With the score at 3-3, San Antonio took their team timeout.

With Tristan King in the box for holding, Texas allowed another power play goal on the night and the score was set at 4-3. Just 61 seconds later, Ondrej Roman picked up his first professional goal from the left wing circle and made the score 4-4, forcing overtime.

Thirty-three seconds into the period, Maxime Goncharov pulled down a hard-charging Aaron Gagnon to take a holding penalty. Texas went on the always dangerous 4-on-3 power play. With three forwards on the ice, Texas maintained control passing from Morin, Spang, and Rallo int he umbrella. Scott McCulloch got his second goal of the night when Morin finally shot the puck in and McCulloch followed up to force the puck in. The OT winner gives the Stars a 2-0 record in home openers, both won in overtime.

Texas head coach Glen Gulutzan was happy with with win but said, "We certainly have some things to tidy up in our game." With a lot of young players, Coach feels its important not to be drawn into a "north-south" game as they were in the second period. "Tonight was a good character win," shared GWG-scorer Scott McCulloch. Texas will try to keep its streak alive tomorrow night against the Peoria Rivermen, who are 4-1 and playing the last game of a 3-in-3.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
McCulloch-Morin-Vincour
Tousignant-Roman-Sceviour
Backman-King

Larsen-Lukowich
Blindenbacher-Ludwig
Fortunus-Stephenson
Spang

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Sawada, Chupp, Gazdic (scratched)

Tonight's attendance was 6,302.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - October 16 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
1-0-0-0, 2 pts
#3 West Division
v.San Antonio Rampage
1-2-0-0, 2 pts
#6 West Division
October 16th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars open their home schedule against a familiar foe this evening in Cedar Park. The San Antonio Rampage, who the Stars opened the season against on the road, will come visit on the night that the Stars raise the Western Conference Championship banner.

In the time since San Antonio and Texas last tangled, only the Rampage have played a game, losing to the Peoria Rivermen last night by a mark of 6-2. Al Montoya was the starting tender and stayed in for all 3 periods despite allowing 6 goals on only 20 shots. San Antonio peppered Rivermen goalie Ben Bishop with 44 shots on the night but still came away with the loss. The Rampage allowed 3 PP goals on 7 opportunities for Peoria and scored just once in nine of their own opportunities.

The big item on the docket for the Texas Stars tonight will certainly be the raising of the Western Conference Championship banner. The Stars' former cohorts Stafford, Beaudoin and Climie will certainly be energized to return to the Cedar Park Center to prove themselves, especially after the tough 3-0 loss they endured at the hands of the Stars last weekend.

Make sure you're in your seat early tonight to see the banner raising and the new Texas Stars intro video for 2010-11.

Stars injury/call up report:
None.

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play guy for SA)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Texas Stars "On The Ice" Report on ESPN Austin: Brent Krahn

The first "On The Ice" report for 2010-11 brought Brent Krahn to the airwaves of "The Bottom Line" to talk about last year's playoffs, this year's team, and living in Austin.



P.S. - I guarantee this audio will work!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Texas Stars Report: Starting The Western Championship Defense

Once again this season I'll be writing the Texas Stars Report for the guys up in Dallas at Defending Big D. Each Monday I'll post on their site and provide the first paragraph here and a link to the article. Feel free to comment over there and join in the conversation. They love to hear from us in Austin about how players are developing.
Good morning once again, Dallas! While the Dallas Stars have been reveling the glory of a two game road winning streak, the Texas Stars got their season started on the road this weekend as well. There have been a lot of changes for the Stars after their run to the Calder Cup Finals last year. There are still some names you'll recognize though, and I'll be here every Monday morning to talk about the past week in Austin.
Continue reading this article at Defending Big D...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Texas Scores 3 In Last Five Minutes To Beat Rampage 3-0

Your 2010-11 Texas Stars got things off on the right foot this afternoon with a 3-0 win in San Antonio.

The game took almost a full 60 minutes to decide though, with 14 power play chances between the two teams resulting in no power play goals, or goals of any kind for 54 minutes. Tentativeness on the power play is often a symptom of the early season, with both teams working to get their systems in place and not wanting to make mistakes that will cost them.

Scott McCulloch broke the scoreless tie with 5:09 remaining in the game with an assist from Ondrej Roman (That's ON-DRAY), which would prove to be the game winner. Travis Morin tallied two more in the game, one an empty netter, to make the final 3-0. Morin finished the night plus-3 with two goals on three shots.

Brent Krahn finished with 27 saves on 27 shots for his first shutout of the year. Matt Climie, the former Star, finished with 38 saves on 40 shots and the loss. Former Stars Mathieu Beaudoin and Garrett Stafford, who both started the game, were both minus-2 with a minor penalty.

Texas now has a long layoff before their home opener on Saturday.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo
McCulloch-Morin-Sceviour
Tousignant-King-Backman
Roman-Sawada

Spang, Blindenbacher, Fortunus, Tr. Ludwig, Stephenson, Larsen, Lukowich

Krahn

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Benn, Vincour, Chupp, Korostin, Gazdic (scratched)

Brad Lukowich came out of the tunnel as the captain of this Texas Stars squad. Texas dressed 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Each returning player for the Stars wore the same number as last year except for Matt Stephenson who moved from #20 to #25, which was formerly taken by Warren Peters who is now with the Aeros.

The top two lines for the Stars were copy-paste from various different times last year. The Wathier-Gagnon-Rallo line started the season as the top line last year as well. Line combinations courtesy of Mark Stepneski at ESPNdallas.com.

Tonight's attendance was 3,441.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - October 10 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
0-0-0-0, 0 pts
#-- West Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
1-0-0-0, 2 pts
#1 West Division
October 10th at 3:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

The Texas Stars open up their second season in Cedar Park on the road again. The short trip down I-35 will take Texas to face off against the San Antonio Stars Rampage. San Antonio started their season Friday night at home against the Chicago Wolves. The Rampage got offensive and put 6 goals in behind Drew MacIntyre.

As others have already noted, the Texas Stars got raided over the summer by various deep-pocketed teams willing to shell out to lure away veteran talent. To that end, the San Antonio Rampage will have some familiar names on their roster. In the Chicago game, the former Texas Stars got off to a good start. Matt Climie got the start in net and stopped 26 of 29 shots. Garrett Stafford scored the first goal of the night and ended 1-2-3 with a plus-2 rating. Mathieu Beaudoin also scored for the Rampage going 2-2-4 with a plus-four rating. San Antonio also picked up Nolan Yonkman, a defenseman most recently of the Milwaukee Admirals, and Tim Stapleton from the Wolves. Prognosticators across the league have picked the Rampage to be an improved team this year and the Stars will do well to heed such warnings.

Meanwhile, Texas did not see any flashy free agent pickups in the off-season. Texas's new talent mostly came through acquisitions by the big club aging up into the AHL. Tomas Vincour, Ondrej Roman, Phillip Larsen and Richard Bachman are all property of the Dallas Stars who have now been moved up to gain experience at the AHL level. With the cupborad raiding that was done by various teams around the league, veteran defensive slots will be filled by younger defenseman. The Stars will be looking for the leadership of veterans such as Fortunus and Lukowich to guide the team on the blue line.

Stars injury/call up report:
None.

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play guy for SA)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stars Release Opening Day Roster

The Texas Stars have released their opening day roster as the AHL opens its historic 75th season this weekend. Texas plays first on Sunday at San Antonio.

What should we take from this roster? First of all, the Stars will be strong again in net. Matt Climie and Brent Krahn had a 1/1a situation going on at the beginning of last year and I think Bachman is good enough to hang in there and push Krahn to be the best keeper he can be.

On defense, the Stars have gotten decidely younger. We knew that they would. Severin Blindenbacher, Philip Larsen, Dan Spang, and Jordie Benn are the newcomers to this blue line corps. Brad Lukowich has taken 19-year old Philip Larsen under his wing and believes that Larsen is a "scholar of the game" who will learn quickly in the North American game.

At forward, Texas has more offensive firepower at their disposal. Players such as Ondrej Roman, Tomas Vincour (that's VIN-SORE), and Tristan King are expected to add a scoring punch to the Texas squad. Texas also returns a number of stalwarts including Morin, Rallo, Gagnon, Wathier and crowd favorite Luke Gazdic.

UPDATE: To clarify questions about Landon Wilson's absence on this list, Wilson did not report to camp and I do not expect he will play with the Stars this season.

Here is the release and full roster list:
The Texas Stars announced on Friday the Opening Day roster for the 2010-11 American Hockey League regular season.

The 25-man roster is composed of two goalies, eight defensemen and 15 forwards. Texas returns 15 players from the 2010 Western Conference Championship squad. The players range from ages 19 to 34 with an average age of 24.16. Eight players are 22-years old or younger, including two 19-year olds. The roster is made up of six different nationalities. The roster also features 17 NHL draft picks, including ten Dallas Stars draft picks.

Goalies (2) –
Brent Krahn
Richard Bachman

Defense (8) –
Maxime Fortunus
Brad Lukowich
Matt Stephenson
Trevor Ludwig
Severin Blindenbacher
Philip Larsen
Dan Spang
Jordie Benn

Forwards (15) –
Aaron Gagnon
Greg Rallo
Travis Morin
Luke Gazdic
Scott McCulloch
Raymond Sawada
Colton Sceviour
Mathieu Tousignant
Francis Wathier
Sergei Korostin
Tristan King
Ondrej Roman
Tomas Vincour
Sean Backman
Cody Chupp

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Texas Ships Four to ECHL's Steelheads

Texas sends Neal, Tasssone, Tyler Ludwig and Monast to Idaho. Full final roster expected tomorrow or Friday. Press release below.
The Texas Stars announced on Wednesday that the team has assigned forwards Michael Neal and Matt Tassone, as well as defensemen Tyler Ludwig and Guilliuame Monast to the Idaho Steelheads, Texas’ ECHL Affiliate.

Monast and Neal each return to the Idaho Steelheads where they spent their rookie seasons. Neal played in 57 games for the Steelheads, posting 15 points on five goals and ten assists. The 21-year old also skated in six games for the Texas Stars without registering a point. Neal was drafted in the fifth round (#149 overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Monast played in 68 games with the Steelheads, setting up six goals.

Rookies Tyler Ludwig and Matt Tassone will also join the Texas Stars’ ECHL Affiliate. Tyler Ludwig was scoreless in the final seven games of the Texas Stars 2009-10 season after completing a four-year career at Western Michigan University. Tassone turns pro after 187 games in the WHL with Swift Current. Tassone scored 73 goals and set up 46 others for 119 points with the Broncos. He also added 343 penalty minutes in his WHL career. Tassone was drafted by the Dallas Stars in sixth round (#176 overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Texas Cuts Six From Roster

Texas announced cuts of six players this afternoon on the heels of the assignment of several players from Dallas. Dustin Friesen, Cody Lampl, Nino Musitelli, Judd Blackwater, Geoff Irwin and Tomas Sinisalo have been released. Friesen, Irwin and Lampl should go to Idaho, while Musitelli should be in Allen.

Additionally, Tom Wandell was recalled to Dallas today after last night's conditioning game against Houston.

Dallas Stars Make Final Cuts, Send 4 To Texas

As expected, the Dallas Stars assigned Aaron Gagnon, Severin Blindenbacher, Philip Larsen and Tomas Vincour to the Texas Stars today. These represent the last assignments for Dallas and the next round of cuts will now come from Texas as they trim their roster down before this weekend. The four players who were cut today had excellent preseasons and will make significant impact in Cedar Park.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Houston Shuts Out Texas, Wins 5-0

The Stars dropped their last preseason tune-up to the Aeros 5-0 tonight.

Texas had a mostly solid first period with the exception of a 20 second span in the middle of the frame. Texas defenseman Brad Lukowich stepped up on Robbie Earl as he exited the Houston zone. Earl made a move to make him miss and pinned Maxime Fortunus with a 2-on-1 against Earl and Brandon Buck. Earl sent a pass across to Buck coming down the right side and Buck tipped it high to beat Krahn.

Nineteen seconds later, Earl would again assist as his pass from behind the net went off former Star Warren Peters in front of the net and in to make it 2-0. Shots in the period were to Houston's advantage at 11-10.

The Stars would cede two more tallies in the 2nd. While killing a penalty to Brad Lukowich, Max Noreau's slapper from the blue line beat Brent Krahn clean to make it 3-0. The 4th tally of the night for Houston just compounded the Stars bad fortune. A shot threw the crease by Houston's Jamie Fraser ticked off of Tyler Ludwig's skates and past the pads of Krahn. With 6:30 remaining in the period, Bachman replaced Krahn in net, which was not an unexpected move from Coach Gulutzan.

The goalie change was not enough to stop the bleeding as the Stars penalty kill let another past when Jon DiSalvatore got in low against Bachman. It was easy to see the play develop as Jordie Benn missed to assignment and left Bachman all alone to deal with DiSalvatore. That would end the scoring on the night. Texas was outshot 28-21 in the game.

There were, as you can see below, still a lot of tryout, ECHL, and CHL players in the lineup for the Stars. Meanwhile, the Aeros, who did not have the benefit of more than this single preseason game, fielded a squad that is much closer to what they will have to start the regular season. The long and short of it is don't fret this loss or last night's. The preseason games, I think, are something to not get bent out of shape over.

"It's all about learning right now and moving forward to next weekend," said forward Greg Rallo after the game. "It took a couple months last season to get [our defensive system] perfected, and it's going to take a couple months to perfect it again."

Tonight's lines:
Backman-Wandell-Sawada
Rallo-Morin-Blackwater
Irwin-Roman-Sceviour
King-Tousignant-Musitelli

Fortunus-Lukowich
Friesen-Ty. Ludwig
Benn-Monast

Krahn
Bachman

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Beskorowany, Spang, Sinisalo, McCulloch, Lampl, Neal, Tassone, Tr. Ludwig, Stephenson, Chupp, Gazdic, Wathier (scratched)

Tom Wandell will most likely return to Dallas following tonight's game.

No gamesheets for preseason.

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
1-1-0-0, -- pts
#-- West Division
v.Houston Aeros
0-0-0-0, -- pts
#-- West Division
October 3rd at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Texas will play their third and final preseason game today against yet another team that has not had a preseason game prior to the Texas Stars. The Aeros, who were scheduled to play the Rampage last week, had their only other preseason game cancelled due to poor ice conditions at the Sugarland rink where they were set to play.

The Aeros, much like the Stars, will surely have a lot of unfamiliar names on the ice. For the Aeros, there will even be a new body behind the bench. Following last year's disappointing record, the Aeros replaced head coach Kevin Constantine with Mike Yeo, previously of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Yeo has connections to the organization, having won the Turner Cup as the captain of the Aeros in 1999. Darryl Sydor, who played many years with the Dallas organization, is also behind the bench in Houston as an assistant coach.

Despite prior thoughts, Richard Bachman is likely not going to start today's game. Perhaps a split with Krahn. Up to 10 guys who weren't in the lineup last night could swap in for tonight's game so expect some names you may not recognize (yet).

With all of these tryouts, the big thing that Coach Gulutzan feels he needs to see is energy. These players need to provide a "shot in the arm" while looking to the "old guys to provide leadership".

Tom Wandell, a centerman, will also certainly be in the game for Texas. Wandell is in Cedar Park on a conditioning assignment from Dallas following a shoulder injury. Dallas felt it was best to give him a quick stint in Cedar Park instead of pushing him directly into NHL action versus St. Louis last night. Wandell will surely go back to Dallas after today's game.

Stars injury/call up report:
None.

Website: aeros.com
Blog (unofficial): The Third Intermission
Twitter: @Houston_Aeros

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Barons Win The Special Teams Battle, Defeat Texas 4-2

The Stars opened their preseason home schedule with a loss to the fledgling Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons bested the Stars on their home ice and a lot of it was due to special teams. Let's get into the play-by-play.

Texas had a total of four power play opportunities in the first period, but they could not make any of them count. The Barons had two and made one of them hurt for the Stars. With Sean Backman in the box, a bit of a scrum in front left Dave Bonk all alone with the puck in the crease. Tyler Beskorowany had already committed to the initial shot from Vladimir Nikiforov and was sprawled out on the left side of the net. Bonk simply took care of the garbage collection for the 1-0 lead.

The second period was a turn of fortune for the Stars. The Stars outshot the Barons 15-3 in the period and that keyed up their offense. Tousignant scored first for Texas coming down the right side on a two-on-one. He took it himself with a nice wrister and made it 1-1. The lone scrap in the game was between Hartikainen and Tassone with four minutes left in the second period, but neither received fighting majors.

Stars captain for the evening, Francis Wathier, gave the Stars the lead in the waning seconds of the middle frame. With seconds ticking away, Wathier received a beautiful pass through a Barons defender from Colton Sceviour. With a deft forehand to backhand move, Wathier made it 2-1 with 7.2 seconds remaining in the period.

Texas saw their lead disappear early in the third though as, on the power play again, the Barons scored on a shot from the high slot by Egener. The Barons scored again on the PP to make it 4-2. It was another puck sent in on a wrister that just floated into the net. Coach Gulutzan felt that the Barons brought out a lot of physicality in the third that ended up making the difference in the game overall. Shots in the third were 11-6 for the Barons.

Overall, the story of the night was the special teams. Texas was 3 for 6 on the penalty kill tonight but certainly missing some of their more stalwart pieces such as Fortunus, Morin, Lukowich and Rallo. Gulutzan doesn't put heavy stock in the performance of the penalty kill tonight but he says, "we'll look at the video, we'll look at this team, and we'll make some improvements for tomorrow." In addition to the PK performance, the Stars were 0/6 on the PP. Tomorrow's game against Houston will likely not feature a similar lineup as tonight, with up to 10 new players who did not play tonight in the lineup for Texas.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Roman-Sceviour
McCulloch-Tousignant-Sawada
Chupp-Neal-Tassone
Backman-Sinisalo-King

Stephenson-Spang
Benn-Ty. Ludwig
Tr. Ludwig-Monast

Beskorowany
Bachman

No gamesheet for preseason.

Tom Wandell Assigned to Texas for Conditioning

Wandell has been bothered by a shoulder injury this preseason, and Dallas decided he'd be better off taking a conditioning stint in Texas. He's expected to play in tomorrow's game against Houston. Here's the release from Dallas:
The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has assigned center Tom Wandell to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL) for conditioning. He is scheduled to play in Sunday's pre-season game at Cedar Park Center when Texas hosts the Houston Aeros (5:00 pm CT).

Wandell, 23, has not appeared in a Dallas Stars pre-season game this year due to a shoulder injury. He appeared in 50 games for Dallas last season, scoring 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points. Wandell's season was cut shot with a torn ACL injury on Jan. 21 at Vancouver.

Wandell was Dallas' fifth round selection (146th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Oklahoma City Barons

Texas Stars
1-0-0-0, 0 pts
#-- West Division
v.Oklahoma City Barons
0-0-0-0, 0 pts
#-- West Division
October 2nd at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Hockey has arrived back in Central Texas. The Stars will open their home preseason schedule this weekend with two games against West Division opponents, one familiar one not. The Oklahoma City Barons are up first. The Barons are the farm team for the Edmonton Oilers and will compete in the West Division with Texas this year. The Oilers previously used the Springfield Falcons as their farm team (now the Blue Jackets farm team).

The Oilers struggled last year in the NHL and got a great draft pick, Taylor Hall, at #1. However, Hall is of course expected to play in the NHL this year. You can take a look at what the Barons have listed for their roster here. One name that you may recognize, if he dresses tonight, is Alexandre Giroux. Giroux played for the Hershey Bears for the last two years and total 110 points over that time. Others to watch for include top defensive prospects Jeff Petry and Alex Plante.

Texas Stars fans should recognize more of the players that they see on the ice tonight. Thursday's game at the Northwoods Ice Center was designed to figure out which tryout players were up to snuff. With only three contract players on the ice in that game, I'm sure many of you were confused with the names you saw on my postgame report. More veterans should creep into the line-up tonight.

However, at practice this morning, a group of veterans participated in a drill after practice was over. Often when players continue to work after the practice is officially over, it indicates that they may not be in the lineup for that night. Players in the extended work included Fortunus, Wathier, Rallo, Krahn, Bachman, and Lukowich. Coach Gulutzan already knows what he has with these players and has to use the preseason to determine what he has in some of their new linemates.

Tyler Beskorowany was first off the ice among the netminders. He is a massive presence in the net at 6 foot 5 inches. This will be his first full profeessional season, and he is likely to get the lion's share of starts in Idaho. Again, often the first netminder off the ice is the one getting the start. See you at the rink!

Stars injury/call up report:
None.

Many players are still with the big club and will not join Texas until later in the preseason.

Website: okcbarons.com
Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Oil Field Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey

Friday, October 1, 2010

Krahn Clears Waivers, Assigned to Texas

As expected, after clearing waivers this morning, Brent Krahn was assigned to the Texas Stars. ESPN Dallas's Mark Stepneski grabbed this quote from Dallas Stars head coach Marc Crawford about Krahn's performance:
"I know that's the closest [Brent's] ever been to an NHL job, but a lot of times with goaltenders it takes a little bit of time. We believe there are not many seasons where you go through with only two goaltenders and he's a very good option for us."
In short, Brent Krahn is looking to get a quick callup if anything goes awry in Big D.

Texas Cuts 11 From Roster

Following last night's first preseason game, Texas assigned one player to Allen and released 10 others. Both goalies from last night's game are no longer with Texas, leaving the Stars with Beskorowany and Bachman. Brent Krahn could be assigned today as well if he clears waivers at 11 AM. Here's the full list of releases.
Assigned to Allen Americans: (CHL Affiliate)

G - Adrien LeMay*

Released from tryout:

G - Michael Teslak
D - Mike Berube
D - Chris Mifflen
D - Dustin Molle^
D - Jason Fredricks^
F - Kael Mouillierat
F - Colton Yellow Horn*
F - Matt Lowry
F - Alexandre Quesnel*
F - Bobby Bolt*
* - Players signed by Allen (from the Allen Americans blog Don't Stop Living in the Red)
^ - Players signed by Idaho (from IdahoSteelheads.com roster)