Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stars Losing Streak Stretches to 3 as San Diego Tops Texas 3-1

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Stars head coach Derek Laxdal's word may describe the current state of the team best: "in a funk." After a pair of wins to enter the Christmas break, the Stars have just two goals in three games against middling competition, resulting in three losses and a drop to sixth place in the division.

"We're not going to score four or five goals a night," said Laxdal. "We have to learn how to grind out a 1-0 game. The league tightens up second half. Right now our guys aren't dealing with it well, and we have to get better."

Texas got through the first period scoreless and gained the upper hand when Brendan Ranford put them up 1-0 int he second. The advantage didn't last long as Chris Wagner scored 27 seconds later to tie things at one all.

A few minutes later, Matej Stransky took a slashing penalty 200 feet from his own net and Remi Elie earned a cross-checking minor on the ensuing penalty kill. With a 5-on-3 power play loaded up, Stefan Noesen earned the game-winning goal.

"We had control of the game at 1-0 and took an undisciplined penalty with Stransky and another on the penalty kill with Elie and that got them back in the game. That's going to come back to bite you."

Even as they loaded up the San Diego power play seven times, the Stars had chances of their own but came up empty repeatedly.

"[Special teams] were the difference in the game," said defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. "They capitalized. We had opportunities to and didn't."

The Gulls would add another on the power play to start the third, which would set the final score. Maxime Lagace got the start, stopping 20 of 23 shots against him. Kevin Boyle was sterling for the Gulls again, stopping 37 of 38 tonight for a total of 59 of 60 overall in the pair of games.

Boyle's performance was in stark contrast to what Texas has gotten in net this season. He gave the Gulls a huge chance to win despite 38 shots against.

Coach Laxdal had a few things to say as well about the cohesiveness of his systems, noting that several players have been going rogue on systems. Laxdal noted, "The only way to get that out of them is not playing them on the power play, but they're good players who have to play there."

Texas has until Frida to tune up for a matchup with defending champions Cleveland.

Tonight's lines:
Ully-Morin-DeFazio
Ranford-Dickinson-Stransky
Smith-Dowling-Elie
Herbert-McMurtry-Fyten

Honka-Bystrom
Ebert-Stevenson
Bodnarchuk-Mangene

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman, Werek, (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Anselmini, Van Brabant (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,569.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - December 31 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Diego Gulls

Texas Stars
15-12-1-1, 32 pts, 0.552
#5 Pacific Division
v.San Diego Gulls
12-11-2-1, 27 pts, 0.519
#6 Pacific Division
December 31st at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

It's time for a bounce back. Everyone from the Stars was extremely clear that the effort on Thursday night was not there. The Stars need a strong start, which they did not get on Thursday. Just two minutes into the game, they were already down 1-0 on a goal that would turn out to be the game winner.

Further, a victory in tonight's game for the Gulls would vault them ahead of the Stars in the standings by a few thousandths.

Dustin Stevenson should return to the lineup. Potentially Austin Fyten could be in. Coach Laxdal held him out on Thursday as he was nursing his previous injury.

Stars injury/call up report:
Backman, Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Fyten (questionable)

Gulls Web Resources:
Website: sandiegogulls.com
Twitter: @SDGullsAHL
Twitter: @619sports (PBP)
Twitter: @danarelAHL

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Texas Stars Shutout at Home in Front of Season-High Crowd

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Playing against a club with a seven-game losing streak coming into the game, it felt like Texas should have had the upper hand in the game. With a season-high crowd of 6,538 on hand, the Stars got buried early by two goals and fell by a score of 4-0. The desperation of the Gulls overcame the Stars, who were shutout for the first time this season.

"Obviously not what we wanted with the great crowd here," said forward Brandon DeFazio. "We feel like we let everybody down."

Coach Laxdal continued, "It's easy to say that their work ethic was much stronger than ours in most areas of the game. I'm not saying the effort wasn't there but our effort wasn't direct enough."

A rifle of a shot from the left point opened the scoring. Andrew Welinski beat Bow high just two minutes into the contest for the 1-0 lead. The Stars had an excellent chance on the power play just a few minutes later. The arena goal horn and the official's goal light went off, but the refs called Gemel Smith's effort off. It was the correct call with a hard bounce off the inside of the post never crossing the goal line.

San Diego built strength off their early successful penalty kills, two in the first. Coming off the second, the penalized player, Texas native Stefan Noesen, left the box and joined the play as it developed up the ice. After some zone time, Noesen notched the second goal of the night on a rebound in tight.

"I didn't think we handled the penalty kill well. They pressure hard in the zone. We saw it in the playoffs, and they haven't changed it."

Texas pressed hard in the second but came up with just a few posts to show for it. DeFazio assessed, "If we had gotten one at 2-0, maybe the crowd gets into it."

San Diego scored two more in the final frame to set the score at 4-0. Samuels-Thomas had a penalty shot goal, the first penalty shot in a Texas game this season.

Landon Bow stopped 22 of 26 shots. San Diego's Kevin Boyle got his first AHL win and first AHL shutout in the same night with a 22 save effort.

Tonight's lines:
Ranford-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Herbert
DeFazio-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-McMurtry-Mangene

Honka-Bystrom
Faust-Anselmini
Bodnarchuk-Ebert

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman, Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Stevenson, Fyten (scratch)

Dustin Stevenson should return Saturday. He has been out dealing with a family issue.

Tonight's attendance was 6,538.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Diego - December 29 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Diego Gulls

Texas Stars
15-11-1-1, 32 pts, 0.571
#5 Pacific Division
v.San Diego Gulls
11-11-2-1, 25 pts, 0.500
#6 Pacific Division
December 29th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Luckily, Texas will have a little bit more breathing room with Jason Dickinson having returned to the lineup yesterday. The Stars iced just 17 skaters on Tuesday against San Antonio. Despite that, they played close with the Rampage until the end. With Dickinson in the lineup (14 pts in 19 GP), that's an excellent 18th skater to gain.

The Stars have played the Gulls already this season, dropping that contest 5-4 in southern California. The Gulls sit just below Texas in the standings, but the margin is not close. Texas is four games above .500, which is where San Diego finds itself. The Gulls were five games above .500 very recently but have dropped seven straight (0-5-1-1) to fall precipitously in the standings. It's the first time the Stars have played San Diego at home since the Gulls eliminated Texas in the playoffs last year.

For Texas, will the reign of Landon Bow continue? With a day between each game this week and five days off before the first game next week, it's reasonable to say that Bow would be in the net each game. While not stellar on a league-wide basis, Bow's stats are the best of any goalie the Stars have had this season.

Stars injury/call up report:
Backman, Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Stevenson, Bystrom (questionable)

Gulls Web Resources:
Website: sandiegogulls.com
Twitter: @SDGullsAHL
Twitter: @619sports (PBP)
Twitter: @danarelAHL

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jason Dickinson Reassigned to Texas Stars

The beleaguered Texas lineup will get some assistance ahead of tomorrow's game against San Diego with Jason Dickinson returning to the AHL team this afternoon. Dickinson played in just one game during his third recall and has two games total on the season in Dallas.

Philippe Desrosiers Assigned to Idaho

The Texas Stars have assigned Philippe Desrosiers to the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL.

Desrosiers probably did not spend much of the break in Austin, of course. He was likely back with family in Canada. Idaho plays tonight in Rapid City.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Late Power Play Goal Pushes Rampage Over Depleted Texas Stars 2-1

A depleted Stars' roster fell to the San Antonio Rampage this evening at the AT&T Center. The club lost Jason Dickinson to recall and clearly had a few injuries or other issues on defense that forced Matt Mangene to move back to the blue line. The Stars shuffled things around through the game as they only had 17 skaters in the lineup.

San Antonio opened the scoring as Jim O'Brien scored a quick one three minutes into the game. Texas answered on the power play in the third, but a goal by San Antonio just two minutes later would be the ultimate winner. The Rampage winner came on the power play, just 14 seconds away from the expiration of the minor.

Landon Bow stopped 23 of 25 and took the loss. Texas was on a four-game win streak against the Rampage dating back to the start of the season. The Stars now head home to play a pair against San Diego.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Fyten-Smith-Herbert
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-McMurtry

Honka-Anselmini
Bodnarchuk-Faust
Mangene-Ebert

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dickinson (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Stevenson, Bystrom, Desrosiers (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,095.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - December 27 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
15-10-1-1, 32 pts, 0.593
#5 Pacific Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
12-15-2-0, 26 pts, 0.448
#8 Pacific Division
December 27th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Having won the first two in the set, Texas faces San Antonio again for the third game in the Alamo City. With several days off, the Stars will hope to get a number of players back to health. Werek has been mentioned several times by Coach Laxdal as a player who could come back soon. Backman and Ully have been practicing as well.

With the spacing of games this week, I wouldn't be surprised to see Landon Bow start all of them. I know he probably won't, but it still wouldn't surprise me if he did.

Note that Joe Faust has been added back on a PTO after being released on Friday. He played in Allen that night and scored the team's first goal, starting a comeback that earned Idaho a 3-2 shootout win.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson (call up)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Fyten, Werek, Ully (injury)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Idaho Steelheads Playing Strong Team Game at Christmas Break

Philippe Desrosiers (Credit: Christina Shapiro)
Before hitting the Christmas break, Idaho (16-10-3) made a trip to the Lone Star state last weekend. Despite only playing each other on a few occasions, the Steelheads and the Allen Americans have developed a nasty rivalry borne of jealousy and hardened in the playoffs.

Idaho, being the Dallas Stars' affiliate in the ECHL, gets more attention than any other visitor to the Allen Event Center from both the local fans and the NHL team's front office and hockey ops. The games this past week were no exception as Scott White, Jim Nill, J.J. McQueen, Mike Valley, Jeff Reese and Les Jackson all made appearances for the games. Having the visitor get the fan adoration in your own building is a good ingredient for healthy hate.

Idaho meanwhile has some hate of its own as the Americans bumped the Steelheads from the playoff race last season in Game 7 overtime. Allen went on to crush league-favorite Missouri en route to their second Kelly Cup.

This past week's rematch was heated at times but never devolved into pugilence.

Here are a few quick evals on the weekend.
  • Philippe Desrosiers started the first game on Thursday. Idaho did not play well in front of him, and the team allowed six goals, all against Desrosiers. The Steelheads certainly weren't helping the effort but Desrosiers was not solid. With Jeff Reese and Mike Valley in the building, Desrosiers had a lengthy chat with Reese after the game. He was recalled the next day to Texas, and Brandon Komm started the second game.
  • Neil Graham: "We won't the game on him by any means. It's a team win or a team loss. My message postgame was that we are all accountable for that performance. We will make adjustments structurally. Often it's the small details that get away from you in a game like that."
    Neil Graham: "For Phil, it's been an up and down year. It's really important for those young goalies to remember one game at a time. You can't control who starts. All you can do is make saves when you get your starts."
  • Komm had an excellent outing for the Steelheads the second night. After Allen jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Komm stopped all the rest thereafter. Joe Faust, fresh off two games in the AHL, scored the opening goal for Idaho.
  • Neil Graham: "If Faust is on the roster, he'll be in. He's been very solid for us all year. He's earned every bit of it and he's really taken advantage of the opportunity."
  • Komm's third period was a fantastic effort, for which he should have earned a star of the game. 
  • Neil Graham: "Once the second goal went in, I had a feeling that would be it. He's a competitor and you could see that pushback."
I really liked the overall game that the Idaho Steelheads played on Friday. They didn't get overwhelmed and they had their goaltender lockdown a game to keep them in it. That sounds like the type of performance that Texas could have used early on in the season to keep them in many of their games where they found themselves behind the eight-ball after two.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Pair of Transactions Send Texas to Break

(Credit: Christina Shapiro)
Philippe Desrosiers was assigned to the Texas Stars today after a 6-0 loss in Allen.  Texas has two healthy goaltenders at the moment and doesn't play until the 27th. It's an interesting move and anything I say here about it without talking to the team would be pure speculation.

In addition, Joe Faust was released and sent back to Idaho. The Steelheads are playing in the Metroplex tonight.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Late Heroics Cap 5-4 Texas Stars Win Over Rampage

(Credit: Darren Abate/San Antonio Rampage)
I was in Allen covering the Steelheads' game, so I didn't have eyes on everything in this game. Here's the high-level report.

Caleb Herbert notched three points in just his fifth AHL game of the season, but it took some late-game heroics from a veteran to put Texas on a win streak heading into the Christmas break.

Herbert tipped a shot from Julius Honka and scored a clean one in the second to make it 3-2 Texas. He assisted on Gemel Smith's goal a few minutes later to make it 4-2. In the third period, San Antonio clawed back to even at four. Matej Stransky found twine with just 12 seconds left to set the final score at 5-4.

Landon Bow got the start and stopped 33 of 37 shots against him. Texas chased starter Spencer Martin but Jeremy Smith took the loss, as he allowed the final goal.

These two teams rematch after the Christmas break in San Antonio next Tuesday.

Here's the release:
The San Antonio Rampage knotted the game with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, but it was Matej Stransky who scored the key goal with 12 seconds left to give the Texas Stars a 5-4 road win on Thursday night in front of 4,176 in attendance at AT&T Center.

Stransky’s game-winner gave the Stars (15-10-1-1) a two-game sweep of their rivals in the home-and-home series. The Rampage (12-15-2-0) suffered their fifth loss in the last six games. Caleb Herbert finished with a three-point game for the Stars (2-1=3). Justin Dowling tallied an assist to take over sole possession of third place in Stars history in points (192) and assists (124).

The Stars will visit the Rampage again on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CST after the American Hockey League’s holiday break.

Rocco Grimaldi tapped in a rebound goal at the left post to tie the game at 4-4 with 2:42 to play in the game. In the closing seconds, Travis Morin slipped a puck into the goal crease that Stransky was able to bang home in a crowd of players for his tenth of the season.

The scoring began just over a minute into the game when Herbert deflected a Julius Honka shot from the point for his first goal in a Texas sweater. The Rampage responded with back-to-back goals from Jim O’Brien at 3:54 and Mike Sislo on the power play at 8:09.

Trailing 2-1 entering the second, the Stars answered back with three goals of their own to take a 4-2 lead. Dowling’s milestone assist two minutes in set up Morin in the slot for a power play goal and his team-leading 11th of the season overall. Herbert snapped a wrist shot off a Texas faceoff win past San Antonio’s Spencer Martin at 3:59, and Gemel Smith finished off a two-on-one rush from the right circle at 11:05 with Herbert adding the assist.

Landon Bow earned his fourth career AHL win in just his sixth appearance this season for the Stars with 33 saves. Martin was chased from the game after Smith’s goal and finished 11 of 15. Jeremy Smith came on in relief to stop eight of the nine shots he faced.

Texas finished 1-for-4 on the power play. San Antonio went 1-for-6.

The Stars have won four straight games against the Rampage this season.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Herbert
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-McMurtry-Mangene

Honka-Bodnarchuk
Stevenson-Ebert
Bystrom-Faust

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman (mid-body injury)
Fyten, Werek, Ully (injury)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Anselmini (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,176.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - December 22 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Texas Stars Tighten Up with 2-1 Win Over Rampage

Brandon DeFazio had two assist in the game. (Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
A bounce back performance was certainly what Texas needed after the 9-1 outing against Milwaukee on Saturday. Divisional rival San Antonio obliged as the Stars exorcised some demons in the 2-1 win.

"We challenged our group to get better defensively and I think we answered the bell," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "Closing out the home stand with a win was good for us, especially after the losses against Milwaukee."

The defense activated tonight with Nick Ebert scoring his third of the season. Strong defensive zone pressure was also part of the equation that put Texas back in the win column.

Ebert noted, "We came out with a good effort and it's a good step back to where we need to be. We were a lot better for Bow tonight. Our coverage was tight with no breakdowns and that was an issue last week."

Texas was all over the Rampage early in the game, despite it not being obvious on the shot count. It was evident on the scoreboard quickly though. A centering pass from Brandon DeFazio to a trailing Ebert beat Jeremy Smith for the 1-0 score.

"I jumped in the play tonight a lot more than I have in the last couple games. It was more open for me. That's a part of my game I have to be sure to establish early in the game."

Texas continued the upbeat pace through the first period as some of the callups started to show their mettle in the game. Joe Faust had several excellent offensive chances in the first period and could get another look tomorrow night, according to Laxdal.

Caleb Herbert started the game on a line with Gemel Smith and Jason Dickinson, availing himself well of the opportunity and earning another shot with the pair tomorrow himself.

Laxdal commented, "He did what we wanted him to do. I think he was a little nervous, and I think he'll be a better player tomorrow night."

The Rampage got a goal that really shouldn't have been late in the second period. A streaking J.T. Compher put a bad angle shot on Bow from the right wing goal line, beating him high on the far side. Bow went for a blocker stop but should have opted for the glove.

Texas would orchestrate a great chance of their own, as San Antonio took successive minors to land the Stars on an extended 5-on-3 to end the frame. With patience, Brandon DeFazio set up Gemel Smith with a cross-crease pass. Smith slammed the puck home on the backdoor before goalie Jeremy Smith could seal the pipe with his pad.

The third period saw a strong push from San Antonio, including a 5-on-3 for 25 seconds.

"We went back to the chalkboard [on the PK]," said Ebert. "We had to tighten up. The kill on the third on the 5-on-3 was awesome for us and we really needed it."

San Antonio went with their big line of Compher, A.J. Greer and Jim O'Brien for much of the final two minutes with the 6-on-5 advantage. The Rampage were unable to establish a strong offensive zone presence, despite the advantage, and would not score.

The Stars will travel to San Antonio for the rematch tomorrow night.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Herbert
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-McMurtry-Mangene

Honka-Bodnarchuk
Faust-Ebert
Bystrom-Anselmini

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek, Ully (injury)
Stevenson (suspension)
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Fyten, Desrosiers (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was .

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - December 21 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
13-10-1-1, 28 pts, 0.560
#5 Pacific Division
v.San Antonio Rampage
12-13-2-0, 26 pts, 0.481
#8 Pacific Division
December 20th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars will look to bounce back from an embarrassing outing on Satuday, which saw them defeated by eight goals at home.

San Antonio is last place in the division but only by a game. It could provide a chance for the Stars to get back to winning ways. Over the past few weeks, the Rampage have been getting more players back to health. However, they seem to be stuck at the level of .500 hockey, consistently one or two games below even since early November.

Texas will be fielding a ragged squad. Denis Gurianov headed to Canada for the World Juniors on Sunday. Mattias Backman practiced last weekend but did not play. Ethan Werek and Cole Ully also appear to still be out with injury. Add to this the fact that Dustin Stevenson is suspended for a game after receiving an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of regulation on Saturday.

As a result, Texas signed D Joe Faust to a PTO on Monday. If all the above holds, Texas will have just one healthy scratch for tonight's game.

As an organization, Dallas still continues to struggle with goaltending and now AHL level has claimed another victim. Landon Bow, who had been flying high in his first two games, is now at a 3.67 GAA and .903 SV%. It's anyone's guess what Texas decides to do for starting tenders this week. Neither Lagace nor Bow distinguished himself last weekend. Maybe Desrosiers gets a shot?

Stars injury/call up report:
Gurianov (World Juniors)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek, Ully (injury)
Stevenson (suspended for instigator in final five minutes)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Texas Stars Add D Joe Faust from Idaho Steelheads

Joe Faust (Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
According to the ECHL transaction wire, the Texas Stars have added defenseman Joe Faust to their lineup today. Faust is in his second pro season and currently leads all Steelheads defensemen in scoring with 17 points in 27 games. He also sports a team-best plus-7 rating. Faust spent all of 2014-15 with the AHL's Albany Devils and split his 15-16 campaign between the Devils and the ECHL's Adirondack Thunder.

This may have something to do with the instigator penalty that Dustin Stevenson took in the final five minutes of the Saturday night game. That's an automatic one-game suspension. Matt Mangene won't be available to drop back on D since the Stars need him up front with the loss of Denis Gurianov to the World Juniors.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Texas Stars Suffer Second Worst Margin of Defeat, 9-1 to Milwaukee

Take your pick on verbs: walloped, crushed, humiliated, etc. Texas got into the Christmas spirit, gifting nine goals to the Milwaukee Admirals this evening in Cedar Park. While not the worst performance in terms of goals against, it is the second-worst margin of defeat that the Stars' have ever suffered. Texas was beaten 10-1 in 2011.

Maxime Lagace got the start, but was quickly pulled for Landon Bow. Travis Morin scored the only Texas goal.

Here's the Admirals' summary of all nine goals...


Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Gurianov
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-Fyten-Mangene

Honka-Bodnarchuk
Bystrom-Ebert
Stevenson-Anselmini

Lagace
Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek, Ully (injury)
McMurtry, Herbert, Desrosiers (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,781.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - December 17 2016

Denis Gurianov Ready for Chance with Russia at World Juniors

Denis Gurianov (Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Every December, there's something extra in Santa's bag for all the hockey fans of the world. Starting the day after Christmas, the annual World Junior Championship will kickoff in Toronto and Montreal. This season, the Texas Stars will again have a participant with Denis Gurianov leaving the team Sunday to hit training camp and ultimately play for the Russian national team.

"I am happy to play at the World Juniors," said Gurianov. "It's every players dream to play in the World Juniors for their country."

Gurianov is not the first player to take the mid-season sojourn to the tournament. In 2015 and 2016, Julius Honka went to the tourney to play for Finland, winning gold in Helsinki in 2016.

"The national team games are really high end games," noted Honka. "They are the best players in the world your age. It's a little different than the regular season games. It's really good experience for whomever plays there."

While losing a top-9 forward for several weeks will certainly hurt the Stars' lineup, head coach Derek Laxdal is confident that the experiences Gurianov will have in the tournament will outweigh any loss in the lineup.

"Anytime you can play for your country and be a part of that tournament, it's quite a privilege and there's a lot of honor in it. It's not going to be easy, but I think it's going to be a great character builder for him."

It is a tournament, so the games are packed in tight. The Russian team will open against Canada on Boxing Day and play four games in six days. If they advance, several more will be added to the slate all culminating in a potential championship game on January 5th. Russia has medalled in the tournament for six years straight.

"They're going to come back and be a bit tired. It's a heavy tournament in a short amount of time, a lot of hockey. He'll need a break to get back but he'll come back confident and more mature."

Laxdal has been extremely pleased with where Gurianov is in his development. The tournament is a stepping stone to his continued growth in the second half of the season. The team would like to see him shoot the puck more instead of passing and develop the small skills around the net to attack the defense and put pucks in good areas to get shots off the net. Overall, Laxdal praises Gurianov as "very responsible" in the defensive zone and compliments his play at 5-on-5 and overall speed in the game.

Obviously, Coach Laxdal is rooting for Gurianov to succeed at the tournament personally, but as a Canadian, he's rooting for the Canadian junior team. Gurianov and Laxdal, who played for Canada in the tourney in 1986, have a sidebet on the opening game for Russia versus Canada. Loser buys the winner lunch.

Gurianov will miss at least five games for Texas while at the tournament. Depending on how deep Russia goes, he may also miss games against Cleveland on January 6th and 7th.

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Milwaukee Admirals

Texas Stars
13-9-1-1, 28 pts, 0.583
#5 Pacific Division
v.Milwaukee Admirals
16-5-2-1, 35 pts, 0.729
#1 Central Division
December 17th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Same hockey teams at the (almost) same hockey time. Back-to-back sets for Texas have been a mixed bag with the Stars going 4-4-1 in the second game of the set. It's actually extremely rare that Texas loses the first game of a back-to-back. It hasn't happened since October 21st against the Reign and even that was in OT.

Ethan Werek re-injured himself in last night's game and could be out for tonight. Landon Bow looks ready to go if called on. Lagace and Bow should be your goalies, as Philippe Desrosiers practiced late with injured Cole Ully and others. Mattias Backman practiced today in regular dress and could be a player this evening.

Stars injury/call up report:
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek, Ully (injury)

Admirals Web Resources:
Website: milwaukeeadmirals.com
Team blog: In The Crease
Online media: Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable)
Twitter: @mkeadmirals

Friday, December 16, 2016

Locked-In Goaltending Puts Ads Over Texas Stars 4-3

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Up against the best in the conference, Texas was stymied by great goaltending in the final frame from Milwaukee's Marek Mazanec. Despite the score of three goals against, Mazanec was the difference in the game.

"The goaltender was the difference in the third period," noted Coach Laxdal. "We had three or four grade A looks where he made huge saves."

The Stars kept things tight throughout but did not develop a strong sense of urgency until the third period. By the time they had, Mazanec was locked in.

Justin Dowling summarized, "I think it was maybe he was in our heads a little bit. When we get that many chances, usually they go in the net. That's how it goes some nights."

Off the hop, Texas allowed two quick goals, putting them down 2-0 just five minutes into the game.

"Right off the bat we were watching a bit. We were sleepy. Sometimes when a top team comes in, you get caught watching a bit."

What could have been a long night for the Stars was quickly counteracted by Remi Elie's fourth of the season. It was a sweeping move right-to-left across Mazanec, easily finished into an open net. Justin Dowling stepped up next as the penalty kill continued its scoring ways with a shorthanded marker.

"[Coach Karl Taylor] wants us to pressure more and pick and choose the spots to pressure when pucks are on the wall or backs are facing us. In the NHL, some of the best PKs are where players are flying around and not letting them get set up."

Early in the second, Texas claimed a lead with Brendan Ranford finishing a rebound off a Travis Morin shot. Morin was playing in his 500th career AHL game, a milestone acknowledged before the game.

The aggressive PK was victimized shortly thereafter with Reid Boucher left all alone to beat Landon Bow and tie the game at 3.

Felix Girard pushed the Ads ahead with a wrist shot early in the third. It would be the game winner. Texas waited until the third period to get gritty, in their coach's estimation. It's been a recurring issue for the club. "We were a little cute in the offense zone," he assessed. "Dickinson, Smith, and Gurianov gave us a lot of energy in the third period and got us kickstarted."

But luck and skill combined to deny Texas. Gemel Smith muffed an easy tap-in on a 3-on-1. Marek Mazanec had repeated ten-bell saves, including a stretched-leg effort on Justin Dowling that tricked the goal horn operator at the CPC.

A final 6-on-5 effort would fall short and Texas would fall 4-3. The rematch is tomorrow night.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Gurianov
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Werek-Fyten-McMurtry

Honka-Bodnarchuk
Bystrom-Ebert
Stevenson-Mangene

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Backman (mid-body injury)
Anselmini, Van Brabant, Ully, Herbert, Desrosiers (scratch)

Landon Bow left the game in the third period with the flu. Lagace stopped all three shots he faced in relief.

Tonight's attendance was 3,952.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Milwaukee - December 16 2016

Julius Honka Reassigned to Texas Stars

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Coming off injury, Julius Honka has been reassigned to the Texas Stars following his first NHL callup. He played eight games with Dallas, earning 3 assists, before being injured on December 6th and missing five games.

He should be available tonight for Texas.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has activated defenseman Julius Honka from injured reserve and reassigned him to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Honka, 21, made his NHL debut this season, recording three points (0-3=3) in eight games with Dallas. The defenseman missed five games after suffering an upper body injury on Dec. 6 against Calgary. Honka has also registered 12 points (3-9=12) in 16 AHL contests with Texas this season.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound native of Jyvaskyla, Finland was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Milwaukee Admirals

Texas Stars
13-8-1-1, 28 pts, 0.609
#4 Pacific Division
v.Milwaukee Admirals
15-5-2-1, 33 pts, 0.717
#1 Central Division
December 16th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: Landon Bow will get the start for Texas. Julius Honka has been reassigned from Dallas.

Editor of Admirals Roundtable, Daniel Lavender, joins us again to talk about the Admirals...

HDH: Is Milwaukee back to "Admirals hockey" this season? It certainly seems so from the win loss record and the goals against numbers.

DL: The record looks fantastic but there have been many occasions that the results could have just as easily fell short. The Admirals are getting coined the Cardiac Kids this season for their resilient comeback ability in games. They didn't lose a single game in regulation during the month of November but that also includes seven out of ten games played in that month going to overtime or even further. They play with good pace. They are starting to do a good job working around the net for gritty goals. The lone blip recently is persistent penalty troubles caused by a little over-aggressiveness. The running joke I've had is the Admirals have been either the top team in the league or one-of this season and we've yet to see them playing at their full potential.

HDH: It looks like this squad has some solid vets who are making an impact (Smith, Zolnierczyk, Bass). Is that a correct read? What's the makeup this year?

DL: The veterans that were brought in this season have been tremendous. Trevor Smith is a great on and off ice leader. Harry Zolnierczyk, Adam Pardy [Ed. Note: a former Texas Star], Cody Bass, Mike Liambas, and Adam Payerl all add such a great veteran style leadership to the locker room. I feel that, especially through some of these up down and around cycles within games, has been the driving force to a lot of the success had this season. Nobody ever looks like they are in a panic. Everyone is always calm and under control.

HDH: Goaltending is always a strength in Milwaukee. Is that still the case this season? Should Texas expect to see each goalie once this weekend?

Juuse Saros, currently in Nashville
(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
DL: When Juuse Saros arrived a season ago he did so with the Nashville Predators trading Magnus Hellberg away for a packet of peanuts just to clear a spot for him in the AHL. He had a massive amount of hype surrounding him that I just didn't think he could meet. Not only did he meet expectations a season ago but he has long since surpassed them. Him allowing four goals in his last AHL outing may have been the best sign I've seen from him just to let me know Saros is in fact human. That said, the Predators don't appear to have much of a clue as to who or how they operate the back-up gig to Pekka Rinne this season. Saros isn't here anymore. Marek Mazanec is. This is already the third time this season that they've rotated the two and the idea is to maximize minutes for both. I'm sure Jonas Gunnarsson, our AHL back-up, is a bit lost as to when he gets to do the same but it's the way it has been. I don't know if they will rotate Gunnarsson in but both should be game should they get the call.

HDH: With the penalty numbers, is this a rough and tumble team? For what it's worth, Texas is not and tends to attempt to punish those types of teams with speed. (Mixed results though...)

DL: Oh. Well. That sounds like a whole lot of not good for us then! The catch with all the penalty troubles that the Admirals have been running into isn't out of sheer stupidity or dropping the gloves. With that new (and really dumb) AHL Fighting Rule in place the Admirals are tied with the Grand Rapids Griffins for the least amount of fighting majors in the league this season with only five fights. The Admirals penalties have simply been over-aggressive plays. Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason describes it as the players are putting themselves in a position for the penalties to be called and the referees are calling them. There is a balance between hard-nosed defending and puck pressure and shooting yourself in the foot by going to the penalty box a lot. The Admirals are fourth in the league for being shorthanded the most amount (121 in 23 games). It needs to change regardless of how well the penalty kill has been.

[Ed. note: Sounds a lot like how Texas get their penalties this season, huh?]

HDH: Any other interesting stories?

DL: There's always plenty of good stories around this organization. I feel the recent NHL call ups for Frédérick Gaudreau and Mike Liambas are up there for some of my favorites to see: undrafted guys, ECHL, AHL, earn then NHL deal, and then get to the NHL. It was fantastic to see. Then the rookie defenseman Alex Carrier is another one. He has been playing alongside Pardy since the Admirals acquired him early in the season and the 20-year old just hasn't looked his age one bit. Carrier has 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games and is present and almost first choice defenseman in all situations. He's a good one.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek (injury)

Admirals Web Resources:
Website: milwaukeeadmirals.com
Team blog: In The Crease
Online media: Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable)
Twitter: @mkeadmirals

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Texas Stars Recall Philippe Desrosiers from Idaho

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars have reassigned goalie Philippe Desrosiers from Idaho to Texas this afternoon. The second year pro has not had a sparkling record in the ECHL so far this season. He's 1-1-1 in five games with a 3.63 GAA and .907 SV%. For now, Texas is not assigning anyone back to Idaho, putting Bow, Lagace and Desrosiers all in play for this weekend.

#AHLOTB: Texas Stars Provide Lifeline to Dallas Roster

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Here is my feature story on the Stars and injuries in Dallas for TheAHL.com...
The injury woes of the Dallas Stars this season have been well-documented. The club has already lost 142 man-games to injury on the season.

Those injuries started in training camp, and the hits just kept on coming. Cody Eakin, Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Jiri Hudler and Mattias Janmark would all drop from the lineup for various reasons. Janmark was lost for the season following a knee injury requiring season-ending surgery.

And so, in stepped the Texas Stars. Players on Texas’ opening night roster have now contributed 25 man-games to the NHL side since the start of the season.

“Your AHL team is a lifeline to your NHL team,” notes Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal. “They’re going to go through injuries and sicknesses. They’ll go through peaks and valleys in their play. Any time you can bring up a player to support their play, to get them through a tough stretch or tough travel, it gives them extra energy to get through the season. It’s a grind up there. Any AHL team — that’s why they’re there.”
Read more on TheAHL.com...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Stars' Goalie Landon Bow Stifles Rockford for 2-1 Shootout Win

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars seem to have captured lightning in a bottle with their goaltending this weekend. In what was supposed to be a simple swap to get Philippe Desrosiers more ice time, Landon Bow arrived on the team last week. Now the backup has his first two AHL wins and has stopped 71 of 73 shots against him in his first two AHL games.

"I thought last night [Bow] settled our team down a bit and gave us the confidence to keep playing," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "Tonight he played the full game and it's good to see him pick up where he left off. It wasn't our best game tonight, but we got a goaltending performance that helped us get along."

The Stars scored early in the contest with Gemel Smith swatted a puck out of the air of a centering effort form Denis Gurianov. After that goal, just 2:38 into the contest, the Texas offense was quiet.

"We didn't have a lot of energy tonight, a couple guys with the flu. Not a lot of cohesion, and we were in survival mode tonight. Bow gave us a chance to win it."

In his first AHL start, Bow approached the game just as he would any other, "I have to be ready to go no matter what. It doesn't change if I'm supposed to start that night."

It was a good thing he had prepared so well, as Rockford bombed him with 38 shots across 65 minutes. Bow was calm and collected for a team that needed a steadying influence. His most challenging save was surely a 2-on-0 in the second period.

"I was thinking [Labrie] was going to do a drop pass and throw something cheeky in there, but I knew I had to stand my ground, and I couldn't make the first move or I'd get burned."

Rockford did even the score in the second with frequent Star-killer Spencer Abbott's sixth goal of the year. At the end of regulation, despite some later power plays by Texas, the score was still tied up at one.

Overtime was a frenetic affair with extended zone time for both teams that easily could have led to a goal either way. Matt Mangene was trapped on the ice for at least two minutes early in the frame as Rockford refused to yield the puck or the zone. The IceHogs outshot Texas 5-3 in the OT and it went to a shootout.

Brendan Ranford beat Mac Carruth blocker side low and Travis Morin went five hole in the shootout. Bow stopped both of his challengers for the win.

Coach Laxdal believes Bow has "earned another look for us" and that he'll be getting another start in the future here in Texas.

The Stars are idle until next Friday at home against Milwaukee.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Gurianov
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-Fyten-McMurtry

Ebert-Bodnarchuk
Bystrom-Stevenson
Anselmini-Mangene

Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek (injury)
Ully, Herbert (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,864.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - December 10 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
12-8-1-1, 26 pts, 0.591
#5 Pacific Division
v.Rockford IceHogs
7-13-2-2, 18 pts, 0.375
#8 Central Division
December 10th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

A dominant victory from Texas last night leads to what should surely be a chippy contest tonight. The big story for the Texas Stars will be the man in net. Landon Bow is expected to make his first AHL start after stopping 34 of 35 last night in relief.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek (injury)

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

Texas Offense Blasts Rockford As Bow Earns First AHL Win

Stars set season high in goals with 8-4 victory
Landon Bow (Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Texas blasted the visiting Rockford IceHogs tonight, but it was a game that didn't always seem certain for the home side. After opening the game with three first-period goals, the IceHogs jumped back in the game with three straight of their own in just 6 minutes. That yielded a goalie change for the Stars and Landon Bow entered his first career AHL game.

He would leave the game with his first career AHL victory. With the game tied at three, either outcome was his alone. Texas backed him up with four straight goals. In the game, Texas got at least one goal from every line but Brendan Ranford was the only multi-goal scorer. Justin Dowling was plus-4 and his linemate Brandon DeFazio had a goal and two assists. Just four Texas skaters finished the game without a point.

While he didn't get a star of the game, Landon Bow earned the team's postgame cowboy hat for his 34 save effort in relief. Those saves came in just 32 minutes of work.

Texas got goals from Mike McMurtry, Brendan Ranford, Gemel Smith, Matt Mangene, Brandon DeFazio, Remi Elie and Justin Dowling. Smith scored on the PK and Mangene on the PP. It was a complete game performance for Texas if you squint to avoid the 8 save performance from Maxime Lagace. It looks like Bow will get the start tomorrow night as well after his effort tonight.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dowling-Elie
Dickinson-Smith-Gurianov
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Van Brabant-Fyten-McMurtry

Ebert-Bodnarchuk
Bystrom-Stevenson
Anselmini-Mangene

Lagace
Bow

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Werek (injury)
Ully, Herbert (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,572.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Rockford - December 9 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
11-8-1-1, 24 pts, 0.571
#5 Pacific Division
v.Rockford IceHogs
7-12-2-2, 18 pts, 0.391
#8 Central Division
December 9th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: Jason Dickinson has been reassigned.

The idle Texas Stars have been passed up this week by a few teams and find themselves in fifth place in the Pacific, even with a .571 points percentage. In fact, the 6th place Barracuda have a .559 percentage.

Rockford and the Stars have already played once this season in Illinois, a game Texas lost in their only shootout of the season so far. This weekend is the first and only visit the IceHogs will make to Texas. After this weekend, the two teams won't play again until the end of March.

Rockford is in last place in the Central Division, sitting five games below .500. The IceHogs are having a lot of difficulty scoring goals. They rank second to last in the league with just 2.22 per game. They're allowing 3.13 per game at the same time. Their leading goal scorer right now, Spencer Abbott, has only five tallues on the season. Further, the goaltenders on their roster at the moment have a combined 1-5-3 record.

The point of all this is that Texas needs to collect all four points this weekend as they start what is essentially a five-week homestand without a game outside Texas until January 11th.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka, Dickinson (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)

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

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Forward Caleb Herbert Recalled to Texas Stars

(Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
Caleb Herbert was recalled to Texas today. The Stars needed another body with Jason Dickinson in the NHL.

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

Herbert, 25, has recorded eight points (4-4=8) in 13 games this season with Idaho, and has appeared in three games for Texas. The 6-foot, 200-pound forward tallied 14 points (10-4=14) in 15 games last season for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, and also recorded two assists in 26 games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.

The Bloomington Minn. native was a fifth-round pick of the NHL’s Washington Capitals in 2010.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

AHL Announces Return of 3-on-3 All-Star Game

The successful format of last year's All-Star Challenge will return this season. The 3-on-3 round-robin tournament will feature divisional teams that will play each other in 10 minute game.

Ten skaters and two goalies will be selected for each division. Every team will be represented.

Here's the release:
American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today the format for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to be held January 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The event will begin on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET with the traditional AHL All-Star Skills Competition. All-Stars from the Eastern Conference will square off against All-Stars from the Western Conference in seven skills events, including hardest shot, fastest skater and accuracy shooting.

Then on Monday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. ET, the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge will take place. The league’s all-stars will be divided into four teams, representing each of the league’s divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Pacific), and the teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3. Last year’s inaugural All-Star Challenge was won by the Central Division.

Rosters for each team will be composed of 10 skaters and two goaltenders each. All 30 AHL teams will be represented by at least one All-Star player. The coach for each team will be the AHL head coach whose team has the highest points percentage in each division at the end of play on Dec. 31.

Jason Dickinson Earns Second NHL Recall

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars have recalled forward Jason Dickinson to the NHL. It's his second NHL recall. Last year, he scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game late in the season.

Texas has Mattias Backman on injury with several more days to recover. If he does, Mangene can shift to forward and there won't be much impact to Texas. If not, Ethan Werek will jump into the lineup.

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.

Dickinson, 21, has registered 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 games with Texas this season, while he ranks sixth on the team with a +6 plus/minus rating. The forward began the 2016-17 season on injured non-roster list with a hip injury.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Georgetown, Ont. was selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Dickinson has appeared in one career NHL contest, making his debut and scoring his first career NHL goal (1-0=1) on April 7, 2016 against Colorado.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Travis Morin's Pair Can't Overcome Moose in 5-4 Loss

The Manitoba Moose never trailed in today's afternoon game in Winnipeg, as they dropped the visiting Texas Stars 5-4. The game was Texas' final contest of the season in Canada. Two goals from their captain, Travis Morin, could not overcome a resurgent Manitoba offense, which scored two goals in twenty seconds early in the first and never looked back.

Prior to the game, the league suspended Brenden Kichton for his match penalty yesterday against Texas, an illegal check to the head. Gemel Smith, the recipient of that check, played today without incident.

Travis Morin got Texas on the board in the first after those quick Moose goals, but Manitoba finished the frame up 3-1 on a power play goal. Texas evened things up in the second with even strength markers from Matej Stransky and Dustin Stevenson. Brandon Anselmini earned his first AHL point on Stevenson's goal.

Danny DeSalvo notched the go-ahead goal early in the third on an unassisted effort, but Travis Morin potted his second with a power play tally with 4 minutes left in regulation. Apparently set to go to overtime, DeSalvo stepped up against for the Moose. With 83 seconds remaining in the frame, DeSalvo pierced Lagace on the power play for the 5-4 final.

Maxime Lagace got the start and halted 26 of 31. Texas is off until Friday back in Cedar Park against the Rockford IceHogs.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dickinson-Gurianov
Ranford-Morin-Stransky
Dowling-Fyten-McMurtry
Ully-Smith-Elie

Ebert-Bodnarchuk
Mangene-Stevenson
Anselmini-Bystrom

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Van Brabant, Werek (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,573.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - December 4 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

Texas Stars
11-7-1-1, 24 pts, 0.600
#4 Pacific Division
atManitoba Moose
10-8-1-1, 22 pts, 0.550
#3 Central Division
December 4th at 2:00 PM
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB

After a fight and some misconducts along with the 6-1 score yesterday means we are looking at potentially rambunctious game today in Manitoba.

Something interesting to watch will be whether Texas goes back to the well on Maxime Lagace, who will be starting back to back after going on OT on Wednesday.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)

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

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Texas Runs Roughshod Over Manitoba, 6-1

The Texas Stars had the Moose in their crosshairs from the drop of the puck today in Winnipeg.

After a 1-0 first period on a goal by Matt Mangene, Texas mounted a four-goal second period. Brandon DeFazio scored the fastest goal to start a period in franchise history with his 8th of the season just 11 seconds into the frame. Denis Gurianov scored 28 seconds later to make it 3-0. With Austin Fyten's goal at 4:25, Eric Comrie saw his night come to an end.

Ondrej Pavelec would be pierced twice more with Mike McMurtry and Jason Dickinson each collecting their fourth goal of the year. With the score at 6-0, Texas just missed the clean sheet for Maxime Lagace. With 57 seconds left, Julian Melchiori scored a meaningless goal to break up the shutout.

Regardless, the Stars were 2/8 on the power play and perfect on the PK in five chances.

Tonight's lines:
DeFazio-Dickinson-Gurianov
Dowling-Morin-Stransky
Ranford-Fyten-McMurtry
Ully-Smith-Elie

Ebert-Bodnarchuk
Mangene-Stevenson
Anselmini-Bystrom

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)
Van Brabant, Werek (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 10,203.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - December 3 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

Texas Stars
10-7-1-1, 22 pts, 0.579
#4 Pacific Division
atManitoba Moose
10-7-1-1, 22 pts, 0.579
#3 Central Division
December 3rd at 2:00 PM
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB

Texas makes its first and only visit to Canada this season for a pair of afternoon games in Manitoba. The Moose come in with the same record as Texas, ranked 3rd in the Central division. Their play so far has been extremely streaky. They are on a three-game winning streak with a string of road victories in Milwaukee, Chicago and Rockford. They lost 4 of 5 before that and won four in a row before that.

Many of the names on the Moose roster are recognizable still from the Calder Cup year as former IceCaps, including Brenden Kichton, JC Lipon and Patrice Cormier. Another name that is imminently recognizable is Scott Glennie. The former Star put his career back on the map after losing an entire year to injury. In 12 games, Glennie has 2-6=8 with a power play goal and a game winner among them.

In net, the Moose have Eric Comrie with a 6-5-1 record (.920 SV%). Ondrej Pavelec was demoted from the NHL and has a 4-2-1 record (.906). Ken Wiebe at the Winnipeg Sun wrote a great article considering Pavelec's position in the organization.

Texas is coming off a tough loss in Chicago where they seemed to have control of the game until a late power play goal downed them. Playing from behind has been a huge issue for the Stars this season. When you combine it with their penalty trouble, that's where much of the trouble has come in. So, it's cliche but Texas needs to score first and not take penalties.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest.

Stars injury/call up report:
Honka (call up)
Backman (mid-body injury)

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