Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Cleveland Monsters

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

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

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

A huge reason the Stars are playing well of late is their power play, which was stuck in the mud early in the season. Lately they've managed to tow it out of the ditch to bring bring their season power play percentage to about average. They'll have to keep it clicking without Jason Dickinson, as he is still helping the Dallas Stars deal with their various nicks and bruises to forwards on their four game road trip. Greg Rallo and Brent Regner are also nursing injuries of their own and will not draw into the lineup.

Seeing that he has grabbed the number one slot over the past month, this is likely a Landon Bow game. Though they'll be without Dickinson, long time Texas Star and former captain Travis Morin has drawn into the top three in AHL scoring. Look for him to carry the water, along with Curtis McKenzie and Roope Hintz. Recently called up from the Idaho Steelheads, Shane Hanna will likely be a fixture on the blue line until Brent Regner gets healthy.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST. 

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Shane Hanna Recalled from Idaho Steelheads Amid Regner Injury

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas gets back to it on Saturday night against Cleveland.

Tonight's lines:



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

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

Tonight's attendance was 4,448.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Ontario - December 13 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Ontario Reign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dallas Stars Recall Jason Dickinson After Two-Goal Night

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fourth Line, Power Play Combine for 4-2 Texas Win

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars keep finding ways to win in every situation as they topped the visiting Ontario Reign 4-2 on the back of a three-goal third period.

"The mentality is doing whatever we can," said Justin Dowling, who scored the opening goal tonight. "These points at the beginning of the year are huge. All these points before Christmas, at the end, teams that make it or don't, it's as close as one or two points."

Ontario plays a big, heavy game that flies in the face of Texas's speed-based strategy. Tonight, Texas got the best of the Reign.

"They're pretty good in the neutral zone, so it's hard to get our feet going and play with speed when they're almost trapping us. We just have to adjust our game plan a bit."

Strong play from the fourth line and the power play were the differences tonight. The difference in speed vs. size was no better demonstrated than on the game-winning goal. Colin Markison, noted by Coach Laxdal for his speed all season, beared down on a Reign defender to generate a turnover and send the puck to the net for a deflection goal by Samuel Laberge.

"[Markison] plays in the identity of our club," said Laxdal. "He puts a lot of pressure on you with that speed and puts you in a bad spot and he put the young defenseman Walker in a bad spot with that speed there on the third goal."

The power play opened up the evening's scoring on a 5-on-3 early. Dowling, who scored the goal, pointed out that it's sometimes difficult to get a power play so early when "you don't have a feel for the game or too many touches on the puck."

Regardless, a misplay of a clear by Ontario came back on them for the 1-0 Stars lead.

In the second, Michael Mersch scored on the power play to even things up, just a few seconds after a rather light interference penalty call on Andrew Bodnarchuk. Matt Moulson, playing in the AHL for the first time since 2009, had the primary assist.

Immediately off a faceoff early in the third, Ontario took the lead. While the goal could have put Texas back on its heels and pointed to a loss, that has not been in the team's DNA over the last ten games. The Stars roared back with a power play goal off a backhand from Jason Dickinson. On the very next shift, Markison assisted Laberge for the aforementioned forecheck goal, and the momentum had shifted completely. The Reign would have some chances but wouldn't seriously threaten for the rest of the night.

"We're getting good contributions from everybody right now. We're trying to balance our lineup. [Our fourth liners] are doing their job. They're defensively responsible and they're chipping in points as well."

The Reign pulled Jack Campbell perhaps a bit too early, as Texas was gaining possession as he left the ice. Jason Dickinson salted the game away with his second of the night and 13th of the year, an empty netter. Travis Morin picked up the assist, his second of the game and 28th point overall. He is currently 4th in the league in scoring.

Texas will take tomorrow off and go light on Monday as they look to recover from a long road trip and three quick home games. They're in action against Ontario again on Wednesday.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ully, Rallo, McNeill (scratch)
Fyten (lower body)
Elie, Honka (call-up)

Coach Laxdal called tonight's game Gurianov's best of the year without the puck, indicating improvements in his defensive game.

Tonight's attendance was 5,857.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Ontario - December 9 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Ontario Reign

Texas Stars
15-9-0-1, 31 pts, 0.620
#3 Pacific Division
v.Ontario Reign
9-9-0-1, 19 pts, 0.500
#5 Pacific Division
December 9th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Texas suits up against Ontario for the first time this season tonight. Texas and the Reign have both been having decent success over the last stint of games. Texas is 7-1 over their last eight while Ontario is 5-3 over the same span. The difference in the records is heavily biased toward how each team started the season. While Texas came out of the gate with three wins, Ontario nearly exited the month of October without a W, a span of six regulation losses to start the year. Since that point, they are 9-3-0-1.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
A quick look at the score lines indicates that Reign hockey is alive and well. Several of the games that helped the club get back on track were shutouts. Several more saw only one goal allowed. Former Texas Star Jack Campbell (5-4-1, 2.23, .930) is the starter in Ontario and looks to the starter tonight. Backup Cal Petersen is a rookie and has looked just as formidable as Campbell early (4-5, 1.99, .926).

Up front, Michael Mersch still leads the way. The former AHL Rookie of the Year leads in both goals and points (7-9=16). Rookie Matt Luff is dangerous on the wing with 4-8=12. Another notable includes recent addition Jordan Subban, brother to P.K. and Malcolm, who was just traded from Vancouver. He has 16 games under his belt in Utica but tonight's could be his first in the Kings org.

Texas is having a fantastic run itself right now and gets to add Curtis McKenzie back to the lineup tonight. Coach Laxdal indicated that would shuffle the lines a bit, putting Brian Flynn back on a line with Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie, Honka (call up)

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Texas Takes Two Points From Low Energy Game With Bakersfield

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The team agreed that it wasn't their best game this season. However, the Texas Stars are finding ways to win those games now, and that's a huge improvement. The tight 3-2 overtime win may have lacked energy, but "a win is a win."

"We're finding ways to win," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "We'll take any win. Was it our best game? No. Did we get the two points? Yes."

Sheldon Dries stood out again this evening. After scoring two on Tuesday, he netted the overtime winner late in the five-minute frame. It wouldn't be exaggeration to call it one of the top three prettiest goals this season.

"I didn't want to turn it over," said Dries. "So I figured if I could do a little spin-o-rama move to keep possession and turn it to the corner that would be fine for the team. I got through though."

Dries turned Kyle Platzer inside out with the move and had a clean chance at Eddie Pasquale. The goalie stopped the first shot but couldn't get the rebound.

It was a sleepy game in many ways until that moment. Penalties going both ways slowed down the progress of the contest. The two clubs finished combined 0/10 on the power play.

"Once you start taking that many penalties you start to zap the energy of the group," said Laxdal. "We took the energy out of our game with four or five minors in the first and second period. They did a really good job on the penalty kill. They had a four minute kill and we didn't generate much on it."

Brad Malone opened the scoring for the Condors, but Jason Dickinson literally helped Texas bounce back. Brent Regner's initial shot deflected up and bounced into the net off Dickinson's shoulder.

Denis Gurianov scored his second goal of the year on a backhand move off the rush in the second. It gave Texas a 2-1 lead.

"It was good to see Denis score a goal off the rush. A backhand is a harder shot to stop than you think. You can't tell when it comes off the stick."

Roope Hintz and Gurianov have been paired together to get speed into the lineup. Hintz is feeling good about the combination, "We need to use our speed and work from that. We can get scoring chances from that. Sometimes we find each other and get some good chances."

The Stars gave up a soft goal early in the third as Iiro Pakarinen slid the puck in on a lazy wraparound. Bow hadn't sealed the post, and it was 2-2.

Texas couldn't make anything out of a late 4-minute power play and took it to OT. Dries performed his aforementioned heroics late in the frame as he was looking to change. In fact, Travis Morin got an assist on the goal but wasn't even on the ice for the goal. He had already changed by the time Dries scored.

Aside from the soft goal, Landon Bow had a solid game and his quietness of play continues. He stopped 35 of 37.

Texas plays Ontario tomorrow at home.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ully, Rallo, McKenzie, Fyten (scratch)
Elie, Honka (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 5,296.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Bakersfield - December 8 2017

Texas Stars Post Four Transactions on Busy Friday

Texas had a busy day on the transaction wire. Here's the breakdown.

First, forward Austin Fyten has been recalled from the ECHL. He was injured in the early season and only played one game in Texas. After some conditioning in Idaho, he's back with the AHL club.

Second, as a result of regaining Fyten, Tommy Thompson has been released from his PTO. He will return to Idaho.

Third, Mike McKenna has been reassigned to Texas. He backed up last night for Dallas against St. Louis. Ben Bishop is back to health, so McKenna can return.

Finally, Curtis McKenzie has also been assigned back to the Texas Stars.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dallas Stars Recall Goalie Mike McKenna

(Credit: Texas Stars)
With Ben Bishop out with a sore back, the Dallas Stars have recalled goalie Mike McKenna ahead of tonight's game against St. Louis. McKenna has been recalled once before this season but did not play.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Mike McKenna from Texas.

McKenna, 34, has appeared in 13 games with Texas during the 2017-18 season, earning a 6-5-1 record with an .871 save percentage and a 3.53 goals against average.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of St. Louis, Mo. was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2017. McKenna was originally selected by Nashville in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Texas Stars Come Back Again, Topping Iowa in OT 5-4

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
It takes a lot of pluck to return home strong after a seven-game road trip. Texas showed it was up to the task this evening, earning another come-from-behind win. This time, it came at home against the Iowa Wild in overtime.

"Any time you come off a road trip, that first game back is tough," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "For us to steal two points in our own building when they're sitting here waiting says a lot for us."

The Stars traded goals with the Wild through the early second period but went down 4-2 just past halfway through the game. It wasn't unfamiliar territory of late, and Texas had the recipe for the comeback.

"Everyone's contributing," noted Sheldon Dries, who contributed two goals himself this evening. "[Falling behind] is not a trend you want to stay on, but it's a good sign for our team that we're able to come back to get the win."

Landon Ferraro got the Wild on the board early but Brent Regner tallied his first goal of the season on the power play a few minutes later to tie things up. Travis Morin and Justin Dowling got well-earned assists as their passing opened up a lane for Regner's bar down shot from the point.

Iowa jumped ahead again a few minutes later and picked up a power play to boot. It was an oft-derided faceoff violation, and this one was no exception. Sheldon Dries took it diplomatically, "You deal with those. You're not always going to like them. Any penalty against you, I don't think you're going to like."

Dries also put his displeasure into action as he broke in alone on Steve Michalek for an unassisted shorthanded tally to tie things up.

The Wild responded with two more of their own, a tough goal that came as Texas left perennial threat Pat Cannone all alone out front and a 5-on-3 power play goal. The Stars certainly disagreed with the circumstances of that penalty, but they were determined rather than mopey in their disagreement.

Facing the prospect of a two-goal deficit after forty, Texas closed the gap in the final ten seconds of the second period. Sheldon Dries tipped a Dillon Heatherington shot five hole on Michalek to move the score to 4-3. "I'll take them any way they come," he noted. "But the tip is more my style."

Laxdal continues to heap praise on the rookie Dries, "What I see in him is a prototypical third line center who can move up and down your lineup and play heavy minutes for us."

Texas got chances like Dries's all night, especially in the third. The forward added, "Laxdal is always saying that you've got to stop in front of the net. We had a tendency to drive by. In the [latter half], we were stopping in front more and that created more chances." Brent Regner even got into things, looking like he nearly had a second goal on a drive to the net.

There was no stopping involved on Jason Dickinson's tying goal in the third, however. A streaking Dickinson collected a Dowling pass in the slot and beat Michalek for the 4-4 mark. Dowling and Dickinson were paired up as Laxdal shifted lines in the third to give more speed options to the offense.

"I thought we gained energy in the third period. Once I made the line changes to put speed with speed, we had good looks on every line."

Overtime was quiet to begin as Texas spent a long time with possession, playing keep away in pursuit of a solid shooting lane. When Iowa reclaimed the puck, Jason Dickinson bumped Jason Kloos and it looked like a power play was upcoming for the Wild. However, Dickinson got the interference call and Kloos picked up two for diving.

With that lucky break, Texas found the back of the net straight away. Matt Mangene's initial shot bounced to the skate of Travis Morin, who redirected it to his stick and into the net for the 5-4 victory.

Landon Bow collected the win with 23 saves on 27 shots. He moves to 8-4 on the season.

Texas next plays Bakersfield on Friday at home.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ully, Rallo, Thompson (scratch)
Elie, Honka, McKenzie (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 3,879.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Iowa - December 5 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
13-9-0-1, 27 pts, 0.587
#3 Pacific Division
v.Iowa Wild
11-8-3-0, 25 pts, 0.568
#3 Central Division
December 5th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Coming off a very successful road trip, the Stars host the Iowa Wild, who are also having good success this season in the Central Division. At three above .500, the Wild are 3rd in the division and come to town having just snatched 3 of 4 points from two games with the Rampage down the road. It has been a marked turnaround for the Wild, who entered the month of November at 2-5-2-0 and now sit at 11-8-3. During that stretch, they went 9-3-1.

(Credit: Texas Stars)

In the early season, the Wild were scoring enough but they were also letting in too many. Niklas Svedberg started the first 8 games of the season but gave way to Steve Michalek in early November after Svedberg was recalled to Minnesota. Since that point, Michalek has started more games than Svedberg by nearly a 2:1 margin... and he's winning them too. Michalek is 5-1-1 and Svedberg is 6-7-1. Rookie Adam Vay has one decision, an overtime loss.

Iowa has some reliable elements up front in Pat Cannone (9-7=16 in 22 GP) and Cal O'Reilly (5-9=14 in 21 GP). Rookie Justin Kloos is a player to watch with 4-8=12 in 22 GP. Also, be on the lookout for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The veteran has struggled this year with Minnesota and was assigned to the AHL yesterday for the first time since 2008.

Texas's homestand will take them through the next two weeks and one of the top storylines has to be the emergence of Landon Bow as a legitimate starter in the AHL. The road trip was a huge turning point, and if this team makes the playoffs, this is probably the turning point you look at as saving the season.

The Stars did not do so well against Iowa last season (1-3) but have a fantastic record overall against the club extending back to Aeros days (36-25-6-3).

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie, McKenzie (call up)

Wild Web Resources:
Blog (Official): I Wild Blog
Twitter: @IAWild

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jason Dickinson Reassigned to Texas Stars

Just as quick as he was up, he's back down. Jason Dickinson, who was recalled yesterday, was reassigned back to Texas this afternoon. He did not play in last night's Stars victory over the Avalanche.

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

Dickinson, 22, has appeared in four games with Dallas this season registering two shots and four penalty minutes. In 17 games played with Texas this season, he has produced ten points (9-1=10) and is second on the team with nine goals.

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jason Dickinson Recalled to Dallas Stars

With Martin Hanzal going on injured reserve, the Dallas Stars recalled Jason Dickinson this morning from the Texas Stars.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), and placed center Martin Hanzal on Injured Reserve (hamstring) retroactive to Nov. 28.

Dickinson, 22, has appeared in four games with Dallas this season registering two shots and four penalty minutes. In 17 games played with Texas this season, he has produced ten points (9-1=10) and is second on the team with nine goals.

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

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stars Sputter to Finish Road Trip With 6-2 Loss Against IceHogs

(credit: Rockford IceHogs)

Attempting to win their sixth straight game, the Texas Stars took to the ice against the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday evening to wrap up their lengthy road trip. Making some real headway in the standings, the Stars had won five of their last six, and eight of their last ten. Saturday's game was their first of four meetings against a Rockford team that started the season strong but has been up and down as of late. The Stars were without their captain, Curtis McKenzie, as he was called up early on Saturday to join the nicked up parent club.

The Stars got the start they were looking for to stay hot on the road, but things got away from them fast in the second period and it was too much to overcome as Rockford kept their foot on the gas in the third. The IceHog's top scorer Vinnie Hinostroza finished with a goal and two assists, and Anthony Louis notched a goal and an assist. The Stars' offense was mostly stagnant and they only received goals from Roope Hintz and Mark McNeill, who drew into the lineup for a second consecutive game.

Landon Bow got the starting nod in net for the Stars, and it was paying off early. Hinostroza had an early one timer from the slot that Bow handled admirably. Gavin Bayreuther gave the IceHogs their first power play about five minutes in with a tripping minor. After a successful kill, the Stars countered with shot attempts in the offensive zone that made Rockford goaltender Jeff Glass sweat. Cole Ully was inserted into the Texas lineup and rewarded his team with a power play opportunity as he was tripped up on a 2-on-1 breakaway.

Hintz was all alone in the slot and had a chance but was thwarted by Glass. He would not be denied a second time. The teams traded two more power plays in the first period, and the Stars were successful on their second kill, but the IceHogs were not. Hintz found twine with a wrist shot that beat Glass for his eighth goal of the year. He has been scoring at a point per game clip in the last eight.

The second period was tough sledding for the road-weary Stars. Hintz was too aggressive in the second period and was called for a hook. The Stars couldn't finish their third consecutive penalty kill, and Anthony Louis beat Bow on the IceHogs' 13th shot of the night. Hinostroza kept rolling for his team and fired a slap shot that Bow got a piece of but had it trickle through his legs. To go along with the assist on the Louis goal, it was Hinostroza's second point of the night to bring his total on the season to 21.

Louis wasn't finished for the IceHogs either. He forced a turnover in the neutral zone and found William Pelletier on the rush who finished the play with his second goal of the year. Just like that, the Stars were down by two with little going their way in the offensive zone, though they were outshooting Rockford 20-18.

The third period wasn't much kinder to the Stars. They committed an early penalty, but drew one themselves on the penalty kill. During 4-on-4 play, Hinostroza created again for his teammates as his centering feed produced two scoring chances for the IceHogs. The second attempt was finished by Darren Raddysh. Brent Regner gave the IceHogs their fifth power play of the night as he was caught for a hold.  Though they killed the penalty, the Stars were eventually buried by a goal from Luc Snuggerud.

McNeill finished his goal late in the third period on a helper from Travis Morin, but it was too little too late. The Stars had to empty their net and paid the price as Rockford scored almost immediately. Texas finished the game going 1-for-6 on the penalty kill, but taking that many penalties isn't a recipe for success on the road. Glass had a fine game against a Stars team that was rolling heading into Saturday and finished with 29 saves on 31 shots.

The Stars will finally feel the comforts of home against the Iowa Wild in Cedar Park on Tuesday, December 5th at 7:30 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dries, Rallo, Thompson (scratch)
Fyten (injury)
Elie, Honka, McKenzie (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was unannounced.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Rockford- December 2 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Rockford IceHogs

      Texas Stars                        Rockford IceHogs
13-8-0-1, 27 pts, .614      at      12-9-1-0, 25 pts, .563
#3 Pacific Division               #3 Central Division

December 2nd at 6:00 PM
BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, IL

(Credit: Rockford IceHogs)
UPDATE: The Dallas Stars have called up Curtis McKenzie to play against the Chicago Blackhawks as Antoine Roussel is dealing with the flu.

No one could've reasonably expected the seven game road trip to go this well, but don't tell the Texas Stars. Outside of the Manitoba Moose, they are hotter than anyone in the AHL and are coming off a 5-4 shootout victory in Grand Rapids, running their current win streak to five. In that game, they had to come back from down two in the third period to send the game to overtime. On Saturday evening, they conclude their long journey away from Cedar Park and current foray through the Central division with a match against the Rockford IceHogs.

Save for the San Antonio Rampage, the IceHogs will make for perhaps the stiffest competition during this stint. They currently sit in third place in the Central division and are led in scoring by point per game player Vinnie Hinostroza. Rockford is coming off a victory of their own on Friday night against the Chicago Wolves, which took overtime. Jeff Glass got the start for them in net and finished with 32 saves on 35 shots. He will likely get the start as J-F Berube was recalled to Chicago yesterday to backup Anton Forsberg in Dallas's game against the Blackhawks tonight.

Mark McNeill finally drew into the lineup against the Griffins and rewarded his team with a goal. It'll be interesting to see if he is able to go against the IceHogs, his former team. Mike McKenna had a decent night against Grand Rapids, but it could've been a strategic move to buy red hot Landon Bow some rest. The smart money would be on Bow to get the start against Rockford to finish out the road trip strong. Contributions from the usual suspects have carried the Stars through this statement making road trip. Look for Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson to come up big and continue to help the Stars climb the standings in the Pacific. 

The puck drops at 6:00 PM CST.

Stars injury/call-up report:
Elie, Honka, McKenzie (call-up)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Texas Stars Make It Five Straight With Come Back Win in Michigan

It took a shootout, but the Stars stretched their season-long winning streak to five games with a 5-4 victory in Grand Rapids this evening. Down 3-1 after the first and 4-2 after the second, Texas scored a power play goal in the third and an extra attacker goal with just six seconds left to take the game past regulation.

Mark McNeill jumped into the lineup and made an impact immediately. The veteran, who had been limited to just six games before tonight, found twine off the assist of Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz to tie things at one. Turner Elson and Tyler Bertuzzi struck before the end of the first to make it a 3-1 deficit at the buzzer.

Justin Dowling and Matt Ford traded goals in the second to keep that two goal deficit in tact. The power play came to life again in the third with Hintz's seventh of the season. Down to the final few minutes, Texas pulled Mike McKenna with approximately 90 seconds left to go 6-on-5. It worked as Jason Dickinson scored his ninth of the season in the dying seconds of regulation.

Overtime was scoreless and Texas was the only team to score in the shootout. Roope Hintz beat Tom McCollum, and Mike McKenna stopped all three Griffins shooters for the victory.

Texas races across the midwest to play Rockford tomorrow night and end their seven-game road trip.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rallo, McKenzie, Dries, Thompson (scratch)
Elie (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 8,770.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Grand Rapids - December 1 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
12-8-0-1, 25 pts, 0.595
#3 Pacific Division
atGrand Rapids Griffins
8-10-0-2, 18 pts, 0.450
#6 Central Division
December 1st at 6:00 PM
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

The Texas Stars are seriously rockin' and rollin' on their road trip. The trip can already be considered a success with a 4-1 record and a four-game win streak. That goes on the line tonight against the Griffins again.

Let's talk about what's going well for the Stars. First of all, the goaltending has significantly improved. Landon Bow has allowed 2 or fewer goals in each of the last four games. The Stars power play is also clicking along nicely on the road with a 17.4% clip. The kill still needs improvement, but it hasn't mattered as much with the Stars scoring more consistently on their own opportunities. Curtis McKenzie has been a huge difference maker on the trip. He's scored two hat tricks and has 20 points on the season, second only behind Travis Morin at 22. Respectively, they are ranked 11th and 7th in overall scoring in the league. McKenzie's six power play goals ties him for second as well.

The Stars have one game left after tonight in their road trip, a quick jaunt to Rockford.

Grand Rapids also took last night off as they prepared for tonight's game. It's very strange to see a Todd Nelson coached team struggle in this league. His time with Oklahoma City showed that he is an excellent coach at this level.

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

Twitter: @GriffinsHockey
Blog: Griffins Hockey on