Monday, February 19, 2018

Texas Stars Drop Tight Contest Against Iowa 2-1

(Credit: Iowa Wild)
The Texas Stars picked up four of six points on the weekend but couldn't come back in tonight's contest against Iowa to make it a clean weekend sweep. Michael Paliotta opened the scoring with his first as a Star but Iowa tallied a goal in each period thereafter to eke out a 2-1 win in Des Moines.

Landon Bow drew in for his first start of the weekend and stopped 25 of 27 shots against him. Overall, shots in the game were spread very evenly across the teams and periods with 27 for both sides and 18 combined shots in each period. Iowa's game winning goal came in the final frame on the power play with Greg Rallo in the box for hooking. Texas could not convert on their pair of opportunities, both coming in the last 10 minutes when they were down by a goal. Viktor Loov picked up a rare penalty in the game as well with an unsportsmanlike call for "disputing decision". That is likely what most unsprostamnlike calls are, but it is rare to see that in the game sheet.

The loss dropped Texas to fourth place but only by a thousandth of a point. The Stars return home for a pair against Milwaukee this weekend.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Kelleher, Hanna, Scarlett, Hansson (scratch)
McKenzie (injured)

Today's attendance was 3,212.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - February 19 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
27-18-5-2, 61 pts, 0.587
#3 Pacific Division
atIowa Wild
25-16-7-3, 60 pts, 0.588
#4 Central Division
February 19th at 7:00 PM
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA

A rare Monday game comes into focus tonight as the Stars finish off a 3-in-3 weekend, all on the road, with a chance to sweep the trip and further cement their place in the playoff race. A win keeps them in 3rd, but a loss will drop them to 4th. Yesterday's loss for the Wild dipped them all the way to 4th place in the Central, technically a tie for 3rd with Chicago. However, it's extremely clear that the entire Western Conference is highly competitive this season.

(Credit: Iowa Wild)
Landon Bow has to figure in today as Mike McKenna has started the last two games, both wins. As always, Texas should expect a second night response from the Wild. Iowa has only lost in regulation back-to-back twice this season: to open the year against Milwaukee and two weeks ago in California. This will be the last game of the season in Iowa for Texas, and the season series will complete in two weeks at home on March 7th.

Stars injury/call up report:
McKenzie (injury)

Wild Web Resources:
Website: iowawild.com
Blog (Official): I Wild Blog
Twitter: @IAWild

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gurianov's Three-Point Night Pushes Texas Past Iowa 6-3

(Credit: Iowa Wild)
Denis Gurianov talled a goal and two assists while Mike McKenna followed up last night's shutout with another strong performance to cap a 6-3 Texas Stars win. The Stars had goals 4 different ways with a power play marker by Brian Flynn, a shorty from Sheldon Dries, an empty netter from Tommy Thompson and even-strength goals from Greg Rallo, Gavin Bayreuther and Gurianov.

The Stars earned the win on the back of a three-goal second period. Coming into the second down 2-1, the Stars emerged up 4-2, getting it started with Flynn scoring on a penalty to Kurtis Gabriel.

Texas was perfect on the penalty kill, stopping all six chances by the Wild. That included a 4-minute minor to Austin Fyten for high-sticking in the second and 5-on-3 that lasted 117 seconds.

Mike McKenna stopped 22 of 25 shots against to earn his second win of the weekend.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Hansson, Paliotta (scratch)
McKenzie (injured)

Today's attendance was 7,004.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - February 18 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
26-18-5-2, 59 pts, 0.578
#3 Pacific Division
atIowa Wild
25-15-7-3, 60 pts, 0.600
#2 Central Division
February 18th at 3:00 PM
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA

The Stars continue their 3-in-3 weekend with a pair of matinee games in Des Moines. The clubs have only battled once so far this season, a 5-4 overtime victory for Texas on December 5th. Since that contest, Iowa has been strong. The Wild have achieved a 14-7-3-3 record since December 5th and come into today's game on a three-game winning streak. Texas is 12-9-5-1 in the same span.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
A big part of their play in the new year has been Niklas Svedberg. The former Bruins farmhand has won seven of his last eight contests coming into this weekend. The Wild and Svedberg will be well-rested coming into this weekend as they have not played since last Monday, a home game against San Antonio. Texas, of course, is coming in from Milwaukee yesterday. At least with the day game in Wisconsin, the Stars had a chance to sleep in a proper bed instead of on a bus.

The Stars had a fantastic game yesterday with Mike McKenna notching his 27th career AHL shutout. Texas needed every one of those saves as Sheldon Dries was the only player to break through for a 1-0 victory. Can Landon Bow follow that up today against an Iowa offense that is ranked 9th in the league at 3.20 goals per game. The Wild and Stars are actually in nearly the same spot in the goals against column with 3.04 and 3.12 goals against per game, respectively.

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

Wild Web Resources:
Website: iowawild.com
Blog (Official): I Wild Blog
Twitter: @IAWild

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mike McKenna's Shutout Helps Stars Gut Out 1-0 Win Over Admirals

Colin Markison protects the puck against Alexandre Carrier.
(credit: Jeff Hanisch/Milwaukee Admirals)
The Texas Stars got back in the win column against the Milwaukee Admirals, winning 1-0 in a low-scoring goaltender duel on Saturday. Sheldon Dries scored the lone goal in the opening minutes of the game, and the rest was heroics from Mike McKenna and Anders Lindback in their respective nets.

Dries broke his double digit game scoring drought and picked up his 10th goal of the season in impressively strange fashion. To open the scoring two minutes into the game, he batted the puck out of the air after it bounced off the end boards to beat former Star  Lindback.

Mike McKenna had a 27 save shutout in what was probably his best game of the season, and the Stars needed every bit of it. Both goalies traded big saves for the rest of the first period.

The recent Stars acquisition and former Admiral Tyler Kelleher served time in the penalty box on a too many men penalty and a slashing minor in the second period. Both teams had three power play chances heading into the second intermission without cashing in.

McKenna had to step up on a shot from the slot to keep the the Stars ahead and preserve his shutout bid in the last two minutes of the middle frame. The Admirals edged the Stars in shots up to that point 19-17.

The game-tying goal continued to elude the Admirals as McKenna frustrated their forwards, particularly on the penalty kill. He even managed to freeze a puck that was put on net when he was without his stick. The numbers ought to improve a bit for the Stars 27th ranked penalty kill after they were successful on five consecutive kills in the game.

Lindback was just as good as McKenna down the stretch. With two minutes left in the final period, he made a big save on Roope Hintz from the slot. His lone blemish of the day, if you could call it that, was the goal from Dries which was enough to put the Admirals away.

The Stars continue their swing through the Central division with the first of a back-to-back set against the Iowa Wild on Sunday. The puck drops at 3:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, Paliotta (scratch)
McKenzie (injured)

Today's attendance was 5,911.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Milwaukee - February 17 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Milwaukee Admirals

           Texas Stars                        Milwaukee Admirals
    25-18-5-2, 56 pts, .570      at      25-20-4-1, 55 pts, .550
  #3 Pacific Division                       #5 Central Division

February 18th at 1:00 PM
UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Milwaukee, WI

(Credit: Milwaukee Admirals)
The Texas Stars are looking to get their act together after losing a pair of games to the Tucson Roadrunners last weekend. They will have to do so in a matinee game against a Milwaukee Admirals team that only trails them by one point, and yet is a couple of spots down in the standings in their division.

The Admirals have been anchored in net this year by former Star Anders Lindback (.906 SP). The Stars will also get reacquainted with forward Mark McNeill, who was sent to Milwaukee in a transaction that netted them Andrew O'Brien and Tyler Kelleher. Going 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games, the Admirals possess solid special teams and sit just outside the top 10 with an 18.7 power play percentage. Milwaukee will be without their leading scorer Bobby Butler as he is on the U.S. men's Olympic roster.

The acquisition of O'Brien and Kelleher from the Admirals has yet to yield anything of note, but it will be interesting to see how they play against their former team. Dillon Heatherington will be back in the mix on the blue line, but Jason Dickinson had to re-join the parent club with Antoine Roussel on the mend. As Stars fans have seen without both Dickinson and Curtis McKenzie in the lineup, scoring will be difficult to come by. It would greatly behoove the Stars for Landon Bow to have a stronger showing in net than he did in his last game against the Roadrunners when he was chased from the game.

We've also partnered with Daniel Lavender at Admiral's Roundtable once again to get some super in-depth answers to our questions about the Ads. Here are his responses to some burning questions.

Q. What’s been the story of the season so far?

A. The Milwaukee Admirals of 2017-18 have been a story of continuous ups-and-downs. Even in recent memory they went from a four-game winning streak to a six-game losing streak to a four-game winning streak and a shootout loss. It's an unstable feeling for the most part but I think a reflection of a really young defense that has been made to sink or swim without a true veteran anchor back there. What's good though is that Anders Lindbäck has been nearly lights out all season long and that this is an Admirals group that has yet to really play to its full potential. I believe they are starting to inch closer to that and they are learning to do so while Bobby Butler, their top scorer, competes in the Olympics.

Q. How has Mark McNeill fit in so far for the team?

A. He has quickly been put into the mix on the right wing alongside Mark Zengerle and Harry Zolnierczyk. He's the same big, versatile, and skilled forward that I remember when seeing him routinely with the Rockford IceHogs in the Chicago Blackhawks pipeline. I think him not having played that much prior to getting shipped our way might have had its slight rust knocking off period but he's getting better with more playing time.

Q. Milwaukee was on a losing streak but now has points in the last five. What changed?

A. I would say that when you're on the sort of losing streak that the Admirals were on you either eventually admit defeat and stay that course or see so many of the problems and "shoot self in foot" moments that you learn from them and grow. The Admirals young defense and often times scrambly nature with transition hockey can lend itself to trouble. The Admirals are tied for the league lead with 11 shorthanded goals conceded... but bizarrely also lead the Western Conference by having scored 9 shorthanded goals. It's a slight run and gun style that I think is starting to get beaten out and replaced by a far more simplified and direct game that is all about going hard to the net. I often feel less is more. That's the style that the Admirals need to stick to in order to play their best hockey.

Q. For the first time in a long time, Milwaukee looks to be relying on veteran goaltending without a new hot prospect taking a huge chunk of games. How has (former Texas Star) Anders Lindback handled the load?

A. Lindbäck has been the MVP of this year's team and second place in that discussion isn't even remotely close. He has been such a workhorse all season. He's played the most games (37), logged the most minutes (2220:47), has faced the most shots (1174), and made the most saves (1064) of any goaltender in the AHL this season and is second to only Alex Nedeljkovic of the Charlotte Checkers in wins - and that can very well change soon enough with a single win separating them. It is almost surreal that Lindbäck started last season without even an AHL guarantee and ended up seeing a professional try-out contract with the Ontario Reign cut after four-games followed by a trip back to Sweden with Rögle BK. Lindbäck has been brilliant all season and I think has done himself a world of good in getting back in the good graces of an NHL radar. I think he might have matured late and revived his NHL aspirations this season through the Admirals.

Q. Love to hear a little bit about the season that Bobby Butler has had and his selection to the US Men’s Olympic roster.

A. It's been awesome to see Bobby Butler get the chance to represent Team USA. He told former University of New Hampshire teammate and current Admirals captain Trevor Smith this off-season at a golf event that this was his goal. He signed specifically to an AHL contract with the Admirals. There were no guarantees that a guy like Butler was making Team USA based on any kind of past reputation alone. And he has gone about his work day in and day out to be one of the Admirals most consistent players. It's so great for him and his family that he made it. No one can ever take these moments from him.

Q. Texas isn’t getting much exposure to the Central Division this season, but more will be coming next year. What’s been going on in the Central this year? The numbers show Milwaukee is doing alright by percentages, but clubs like Manitoba are just blowing it away.

A. This is the tightest playoff race that I can remember across the entire Western Conference. In the Central Division you certainly have one team that is rocketing off to the moon (Manitoba Moose) and one that is boring its way to the depths of hell (Cleveland Monsters) but the race from second to sixth place is something that can vary through points percentage dramatically in a week's worth of games. It's that why I think the Admirals are really playing in catch-up mode after such rough goes of form across December and January. They'll be fortunate to make the most out of all the home games they have in-hand as opposed to the rest of the division. This year's Central Division has been a woodchipper. It really has. And I think the Admirals will be fortunate to fight their way into this year's 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs but I worry for the Pacific Division team that awaits the Central Division's top draw come the Western Conference Finals. I won't be shocked one bit if the Calder Cup stays within the Central Division for another season.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson (call-up)
McKenzie (injured)

Admirals Web Resources:
Website: milwaukeeadmirals.com
Online Media: Admirals Roundtable (@adsroundtable)
Twitter: @mkeadmirals

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dallas Recalls Forward Jason Dickinson

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Jason Dickinson is racking up the air miles this season as he has been recalled to the NHL once again. The forward has been recalled ahead of tonight's game against St. Louis.

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 13 games with Dallas this season registering 12 shots and ten penalty minutes. In 33 games played with Texas this season, he has produced 22 points (16-6=22) and his 16 goals are second on the team.

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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Texas Coaches Derek Laxdal, Karl Taylor Receive Contract Extensions

Coach Laxdal (foreground) and Coach Taylor (Credit: Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars announced this morning that Derek Laxdal and Karl Taylor have both received contract extensions for the coming season. Head coach Laxdal and assistant coach Taylor are in their fourth season with Texas, making them the longest serving coaching staff in team history. Next season will be their fifth.

The pair has compiled a 139-102-27-10 record in four seasons to this point. However, the club has yet to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs and did not qualify last season for only the second time in team history.

Dallas, for its part, is extremely happy with the pipeline that Texas has provided in terms of player development. Eight different players currently in Dallas spent at least one season with Laxdal and Taylor in the AHL. Players like Jason Dickinson and Dillon Heatherington are knocking on the door of adding their names to that list. And surely, Denis Gurianov will also be in that conversation soon enough.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars Assistant General Manager and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White announced today the club has extended the contracts of their coaching staff in the American Hockey League (AHL). Head coach Derek Laxdal and assistant coach Karl Taylor will both return next season to lead Texas, Dallas' top development affiliate in the AHL.

Both coaches are currently in their fourth season with Texas and together have compiled a career record of 139-102-27-10 (.567 pct.) during their tenure. Texas has also qualified for the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs twice in its first three seasons under Laxdal and Taylor. The club is currently in a playoff spot this season, sitting third in the Pacific Division with a 25-18-5-2 record through 50 games played.

“Derek and Karl have done a tremendous job of preparing and developing our group during their time in Texas,” said White. “They give our Texas team a great chance to win each and every night, as well as helping us in Dallas by providing players that can contribute at the NHL level.”

Eight of the players currently on the Dallas roster spent at least a season playing under Laxdal and Taylor including Remi Elie, Radek Faksa, Julius Honka, Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Brett Ritchie, Devin Shore, and Gemel Smith.

Laxdal was named the fourth head coach in Texas Stars history on July 3, 2014. He joined the Stars organization after concluding a four-year stretch (2010-2014) as head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings, highlighted by winning the 2014 Memorial Cup as Canadian Hockey League champions. During his final campaign in Edmonton, Laxdal guided his team to a 50-19-3 record and in his four seasons coaching the Oil Kings, Laxdal achieved three 50-win seasons and finished with an overall record of 182-83-23 (.671 pct.).

Taylor was named the assistant coach of the Texas Stars after completing a successful run with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. In his only season as an assistant with the Winterhawks, Taylor helped guide the team to a 54-13-5 record and finished second overall in the WHL. Joining the Stars organization marked a return to the American Hockey League for Taylor, who also served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Wolves in 2011-12.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Texas Stars Assign F Samuel Laberge to Idaho

(Credit: Texas Stars)
With Dickinson back in Texas, the Stars have assigned Samuel Laberge to Idaho. The rookie forward has appeared in 43 games for Texas, far more than I think I expected at the start of the season. He should do well in Idaho and perhaps be back sooner rather than later.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Tuesday the team has reassigned forward Samuel Laberge to their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Laberge, 20, is currently in his rookie season with the Stars and has appeared in 43 games for Texas with 12 points (4-8=12). The 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of Chateauguay, Qubec was signed to an AHL contract over the summer after competing for the last four seasons with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.

Free Gear vs. Freedom: Equipment Deals Vary Greatly Across NHL, AHL

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Today's piece is contributed by ProStockHockey.

It must be great to be a pro athlete, right? Fame, travel, the finest hotels and the best gear for free.

Not just free — the equipment guys pay you to use their gear.

After all, LeBron James is going to be wearing Nike for the rest of his life, to the tune of, reportedly, more than $1 billion. Twenty-time Grand Slam tennis champ Roger Federer gets $10 million a year from Nike and another $2 million per year from his racket company, Wilson.

Ah, but pro hockey isn’t pro basketball. Or tennis. Heck, it isn’t even golf.

Let’s Make a Deal
You’d think the players would get any piece of equipment they want, and companies would pay for the privilege of giving it to them.

Well, yes, they do. In golf. And it’s not just pros. College players, promising juniors, even decent amateurs of any age can score free clubs and attendant paraphernalia.

Other sports? Not so fast.

Baseball players don’t get free bats. Top sluggers might get a discount, and teams will pay for their players’ bats, but that’s it. Of course, it’s not like the free advertising of using a wooden bat on television is going to help the manufacturers — virtually nobody except the pros use them.

Hockey, at least for most players at the NHL level, is a lot like baseball. Players can use any equipment they want, and it is either provided by the manufacturer or the team, but few players are getting paid to play a certain stick, skate or glove.

To the Winners Go the Spoils
The best — and often best-compensated — players are most likely hauling in some sponsorship cash to go with their free gear.

According to Forbes.com, the NHL’s highest-paid player is the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, whose $13.8 million salary is augmented by $2.2 million in endorsements — which includes deals with Chevrolet, Upper Deck, Frameworth Hallmark and Canadian Tire, in addition to his equipment partner, Bauer.

Forbes estimated that only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin earn more off the ice than Toews.

Crosby makes nearly $5 million in endorsements. Ovechkin, who returned to his first NHL equipment partner, CCM, this season after a six-year deal with Bauer expired, is at $4.5 million.

It’s hard to pin down the exact value of gear sponsorship deals in the NHL, but in 2015 Crosby signed a six-year deal with Adidas reportedly worth more than $1 million per year — and at the time, Adidas owned CCM — still Crosby’s stick and skate brand of choice.

While that’s not NBA sneaker contract money, neither is it chump change. However, Crosby is among the greatest ever to play the game. Some money trickles down, but some of the zeroes don’t.

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
How It Works for the Rank and File
As recently as a few years ago, it was common for second- and third-line players in solid NHL markets to get in the low to mid four figures for a one-year stick deal. If you happened to be on the roster in Toronto, you might get a little more, or the checks would travel farther down the bench. On the other hand, if you were in Atlanta …

One stick manufacturer waded into the market in a big way in the early 2010s, pushing gear deals into the mid five-figure range — by one account, typically giving one third of the value in gear, two thirds in cash.

While that gambit may have changed the market, that market is still competitive. According to GearGeek.com, which tracks NHL equipment use, the league’s players use:
  • Dozens of stick varieties from seven manufacturers
  • Gloves from eight manufacturers
  • Skates from six manufacturers
  • Pants from five manufacturers
  • Helmets from four manufacturers
In the first three categories above, equipment companies CCM and Bauer rank 1-2 in terms of popularity. In the other two categories, the order is reversed. Warrior is No. 3 for sticks, gloves, pants and helmets, while True ranks third for skates.

Freedom of choice is one thing NHL players enjoy compared to their American Hockey League counterparts.

Join Together With the Brand

The AHL, founded in 1936 and today the NHL’s minor league development arm, signed a five-year extension in 2016 of a multiyear deal with CCM as its exclusive supplier of sticks, gloves, pants, helmets and jerseys.

That partnership was established in 2005, and, in terms of reach into a player’s locker, may be unparalleled in pro sports. Considering that more than 88 percent of current NHL players did time in the AHL, it’s no surprise that CCM is so widely used by NHL players.

Indeed, it’s interesting to note that the one piece of equipment that CCM doesn’t supply exclusively to the AHL — skates — is the CCM item chosen least often by NHL players. According to Gear Geek, just 19.5 percent of current NHL players use CCM skates.

But, while familiarity and brand loyalty seem to be paying off for CCM, it goes only so far. Some players seem eager to try out new products once they reach the NHL. Consider that CCM has no better than a 42 percent share of the NHL market in any equipment segment, hitting that number in pants and helmet usage.

Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online hockey shop offering authentic pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and hasn’t put it down yet.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dallas Stars Assign Jason Dickinson, Dillon Heatherington to Texas

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars have returned Jason Dickinson and Dillon Heatherington to the Texas Stars this morning. Dickinson and his 16 goals on the season help to fill a void with Curtis McKenzie out of the lineup for the coming road trip and into the foreseeable future. Dillon Heatherington will surely slide right back into the lineup but may not have his usual defensive partner with him. Brent Regner was boarded hard late in Saturday's game. The play resulted in a game misconduct to Laurent Dauphin. Texas does have all week for recovery with their next game coming Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee.

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

Dickinson, 22, has appeared in 13 games with Dallas this season registering 12 shots and ten penalty minutes. In 33 games played with Texas this season, he has produced 22 points (16-6=22) and his 16 goals are second on the team.

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.

Heatherington, 22, has appeared in five games with Dallas this season recording one assist (0-1=1), a +3 plus/minus rating and 26 penalty minutes. He has also registered 13 points (3-10=13) in 41 games played for Texas this season.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of Calgary, Alta. was acquired by Dallas from Columbus in exchange for Lauri Korpikoski on March 1, 2017. He was originally selected by Columbus in the second round (50th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Texas Stars Earn OT Point, Tucson Takes Two in 2-1 Contest

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars earned a point but gave up two to the visiting Tucson Roadrunners with an overtime loss at home Saturday night. The Stars led most of the way thanks to an early 5-on-3 goal from Justin Dowling, but a deflection in the third tied things up, and overtime was unkind to Texas.

"I thought we came out hard with a lot of energy," said Dowling. "Sometimes it's hard to come out with energy when you have a week off. It's easier when you're back to back. It was a great response."

The game had a playoff feel to it as two teams in the top four of the division played a tight one.

"We got up 1-0, and the game was managed well," said head coach Derek Laxdal."They didn't look as fast as they did last night. We were physical and on our toes. It was a pretty tight game with a playoff atmosphere."

The power play was both a bright spot and a miss in the same night. The Stars earned a 5-on-3 in the first period as Tyler Gaudet and Daniel Maggio both earned slashing minors on the same play. Justin Dowling completed a play from Brian Flynn and Travis Morin for his 7th of the season.

Late, however, Texas got a chance to go ahead after Laurent Dauphin boarded Brent Regner and gave Texas a golden chance with a five-minute major. The Stars would have to wait for a Tommy Thompson minor to expire to take the power play. Dowling tells the rest, "We need to be sharper when we have a chance to win the game with the power play. I don't think we were sharp then. I think we were waiting to get into overtime to win there. We ended up taking a penalty, and it flips on us in overtime."

Laxdal added, "We bobbled some pucks. The execution was there, but it wasn't great. Their penalty kill did a better job than our power play."

Tracking down a puck behind his goal line, Niklas Hansson took a penalty for holding the stick and gave up the power play. Both teams earned a point as the game shifted to overtime, but Mike Sislo found twine as Tucson's power play began in the extra period.

"That overtime goal. It is what it is. That's a great shot by Sislo. You need a brick wall in there to stop that."

Mike McKenna had a fantastic night and held a clean sheet for most of the game. He was tested heavily in the second period with 13 saves on 13 shots. His glove grab from his stomach midway through the frame was a highlight reel effort.

The Stars have some time off before they head to Milwaukee next weekend for a three-game swing through the Midwest.

Tonight's lines:
Flynn-Hintz-Gurianov
Morin-Dowling-Markison
Laberge-Dries-Mangene
Fyten-Thompson-Rallo

Bayreuther-Hansson
Bodnarchuk-Regner
Scarlett-O’Brien

McKenna

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Kelleher, Hanna, Paliotta (scratch)
Dickinson, Heatherington (call up)
McKenzie (injured)

Tonight's attendance was 6,293.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Tucson - February 10 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners

           Texas Stars                        Tucson Roadrunners
    25-18-4-2, 56 pts, .571      v.      26-14-2-1, 55 pts, .640
  #3 Pacific Division                       #1 Pacific Division

February 10th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Last night's game should be quickly forgotten by all involved on the Texas side of things. Head coach Derek Laxdal called out the Stars' compete level repeatedly, noting that he didn't feel the team showed up until the third period.
(Credit: Texas Stars)
That much was evident to anyone in the building. With eight shots through two periods and a record-tying all-time low of 18 shots in the game total, it wasn't a strong 'compete' night.

The loss dropped the Stars into 3rd place in the Pacific. A loss tonight combined with wins by Stockton, Ontario and San Antonio could drop them all the way to 6th place. Such is life in the tightly packed Pacific, where even the last place team has a .500 record.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
McKenzie (injured)

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

Friday, February 9, 2018

Stars Fail to Compete in 5-2 Loss to Roadrunners

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Tucson Roadrunners dusted the Texas Stars 5-2 on Friday evening. Recent acquisitions Andrew O’Brien and Tyler Kelleher made their debuts but went largely unnoticed. The Stars matched a woeful record in their history--only recording 18 total shots on goal. “The one thing they did was compete, and we didn’t compete,” said Stars coach Derek Laxdal after the game. The last time the Stars recorded such low shot totals was in 2016 against the Iowa Wild.

Stars veteran leader Greg Rallo talked about the statistic: “They’re a hard forechecking team. When we [did] get chances to put pucks on the net we seemed to be missing the net or bobbling pucks. It’s something we have to bear down on tomorrow. We have to put more pucks on the goalie and test him, and make him make saves.”

Tucson dynamo Dylan Strome was plenty noticeable for the Roadrunners, when he was on the ice, recording one assist on a power play goal. In a scary situation, he took a puck to the face with less than a minute to go in the second period but did return to the game in the third. Mike McKenna relieved Landon Bow (18 saves on 22 shots) late in the second period after he gave up back-to-back power play goals.

The Stars got the start they wanted with a goal a couple of shifts into the game. Justin Dowling set Greg Rallo up in front of the net for an easy look that beat rookie Hunter Miska. Though they clicked on the goal, it was one of only two shots on net Texas managed in the first period. “They made it hard on us early,” said Laxdal. “I don’t think we had an answer.”

Time in the offensive zone was hard to come by as the Roadrunners were backchecking and forcing turnovers. The Stars struggled to clear their own zone a few minutes after the Rallo goal, and Dysin Mayo’s shot from the point beat Bow, knotting the game up.

Laxdal commented further on Tucson’s play saying, “The thing for them is they move the puck well. Their D are very agile. Any puck that’s on their tape, it’s up. If you watch their forwards on the back checks, they’re hard through the middle of the ice. One’s pressuring the puck, two are looking for loose pucks. They were the quicker team tonight and they got rewarded for it.”

Though the Stars were being heavily outshot, they were in decent shape with a potential tie headed into first intermission. What was once a routine finish to a lackluster period made a turn for the worst when the Stars gave up a goal with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. Tyler Gaudet crashed the net to put back his own rebound when Bow couldn’t freeze the puck in time.

“They’re a fast team and a hard forechecking team and they stay on you,” said Rallo. “They seemed to bury their chances tonight so that helped them.”

Zone time was still hard to come by in the second period, and it led to the Roadrunners getting three cracks at the power play that yielded two goals from Laurent Dauphin. On the first, he sent a screaming one timer from the right point in past Bow. The next goal came less than a minute later when he scored from in close and chase Bow from the game.

The Stars began the third period with a power play, and right after it expired, Reece Scarlett forced a turnover at the Tucson blue line and got the puck over to Travis Morin on the rush. Morin went five hole on Miska to temporarily inject a little buzz in the building. “We got it to 4-2 and pushed a little bit,” said Laxdal. Ultimately, the Stars were blanked on the power play after four chances.

Rallo weighed in on the struggling power play: “It’s tough. Trying to simplify is what coach is preaching right now. Trying to just get puck to the net like [Tucson] did tonight. A couple of their goals were just shooting pucks to the net from the blue line and that’s something we have to focus on."

They tried to apply zone pressure the remainder of the game, and played marginally better the rest of the game. The puck came right back out of the zone on just about any entry, and the Roadrunners played like a bunch of first round draft picks. Laxdal agreed. “[The Roadrunners] dictated the game. They dictated the way they wanted to play. But we didn’t have any answer for it.”

The Stars emptied their net with two minutes to go, and Tucson forward Lane Pederson scored easily sending the Stars home with plenty to think about for tomorrow’s game. Rallo confirmed the team’s message: “Get ready. Tonight is over. We know what they got now. [Tucson is] a fast, hard forechecking team and we have to match it. There’s no questions asked.”

The Stars complete their two game set on Saturday, February 10. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:

Flynn-Hintz-Gurianov
Morin-Dowling-Rallo
Laberge-Dries-Kelleher
Fyten-Thompson-Markison

Bayreuther-Hansson
Bodnarchuk-Regner
Scarlett-O’Brien

Bow
McKenna

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mangene, Hanna, Paliotta (scratch)
Dickinson, Heatherington (call up)
McKenzie (injured)

Tonight's attendance was 4,570.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Tucson - February 9 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners

           Texas Stars                        Tucson Roadrunners
    25-17-4-2, 56 pts, .583      v.      25-14-2-1, 53 pts, .631
  #2 Pacific Division                       #1 Pacific Division

February 9th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

(credit: Texas Stars)
The Tucson Roadrunners are for real. Led by a couple of rookie former number one draft picks, Dylan Strome (41 points) and Nick Merkley (35 points), the AHL club from the Sonoran desert have held a top five record in the league for most of the season. They have sat rather comfortably at the top of the Pacific division for weeks now, all while having played six less games than the Texas Stars.

The Texas Stars have a chance to rectify the situation a bit as they take on Tucson in the first game of a back-to-back set on Friday evening. Signs point to the Stars being without their leading goal scorer and captain, Curtis McKenzie, as he is still nursing the injury that kept him out of the AHL All Star festivities. Strome represented the Roadrunners well at the tournament, which was really no surprise considering the season he is having. The Stars will have their hands full with him this weekend. 

Helped immensely by their top 10 power play unit, the Roadrunners have gone 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games and are maintaining the pace they'll need to keep control of the division. The potential chink in their armor would be their putrid penalty kill, which sits just ahead of the 27th ranked Texas Stars. Heavy puck possession and drawing penalties will be key for the Stars to expose their rivals.

Landon Bow is back in Cedar Park after having a cup of coffee with the Dallas Stars. Look for him to continue his normal rotation with Mike McKenna. In net for Tucson will be Adin Hill (.906 SP) who started for the parent club Arizona Coyotes against the Dallas Stars early in the season. His backup, rookie Hunter Miska (.905 SP), could start a game during the back-to-back. 

The puck drops at 7:30 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
McKenzie (injured)

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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Dallas Stars 2018 Training Camp Heading to Boise, Idaho

CenturyLink Arena (Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
The Dallas Stars announced this morning that they will be holding 2018 training camp in Boise, Idaho, home of the Idaho Steelheads. The Texas Stars and H-E-B Center at Cedar Park had hosted training camp the past three years.

Idaho has been Dallas's ECHL affiliate since _ and is currently riding a 14-year playoff streak. The Steelheads were set to host training camp in 2012, but that plan was scuttled by the NHL lockout. The preseason game with Minnesota that was also set to take place was sold out weeks beforehand. Suffice it to say that Boise is excited about NHL hockey.

Of course, this is a blow to Cedar Park-based fans who want to see the Dallas Stars at H-E-B Center. However, consider that Texas Stars fans can drive up I-35 for three hours to see some NHL action and the same is not quite true in Boise.

I went to Boise this time last year and wrote extensively about the fantastic experience I had there. If you can make the trip, I highly recommend it.

Here's the release:
The Dallas Stars today announced that they will hold their 2018 Training Camp at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, ID, home to the Idaho Steelheads, who serve as the team's development affiliate in the ECHL. This marks the first time that the team will hold their training camp in Idaho and it will run from Sept. 14 - 16.

"The Idaho Steelheads have been a tremendous affiliate of ours for fourteen seasons," said Dallas Stars President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Lites. "In holding our training camp there, we're thrilled to give their fans the chance to appreciate Dallas Stars hockey up close and in person."

The three-day training camp will culminate with a Victory Green vs. White Intrasquad Scrimmage on Sunday, Sept. 16. Steelheads season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the scrimmage, after which tickets will be made available to the general public. Dates to purchase tickets, and further details and ice times will be released for the camp at a later date.

"We couldn't be more excited to welcome the Dallas Stars for training camp and to give our fans an opportunity to see the best of the best on the ice here in Idaho," said Steelheads President Eric Trapp. "We have been trying to bring an NHL event to CenturyLink Arena for years and we are thrilled that everything has come together for this summer. I think the Stars players are going to enjoy our facilities and everything that Boise has to offer, and Steelheads fans will be on hand to see world-class players in practice and game action."

Philippe Desrosiers Returned to Idaho Steelheads

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Following his one-game outing on Saturday, G Philippe Desrosiers has been returned to the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads. The second-round pick availed himself well of the opportunity to start an AHL game. Even without Denis Gurianov's hat trick, Texas would have been in good hands and won thanks to Desrosiers' 1-goal against effort.

It's also a great sign that Desrosiers was able to stick around for a few extra days in Austin to get some practice reps with the Texas Stars and more time with goalie coach Jim Bedard. He didn't do anything wrong to be sent down. Right now it's just a numbers game.

Here's the release:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Wednesday rookie goaltender Phil Desrosiers has been reassigned to the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Desrosiers, 22, is 17-6-2 with Idaho this season with a 2.74 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound netminder made his AHL season debut and stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 5-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage last Saturday.

Desrosiers (deh-ROH-see-ay) was a second-round pick of Dallas in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Texas Stars Finding Big Second Half Success In Attendance

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars are having a pretty good few weeks in terms of attendance. I expanded on their recent success on Twitter and wanted to make sure nobody on the blog missed out.

You can always be the first to know by following 100 Degree Hockey on Twitter.

(Being an engineer by training, I have a knack for spreadsheets. This is all self-sourced analysis.)






Monday, February 5, 2018

Landon Bow Returns to Texas Stars, Desrosiers Gets Some Extra AHL Time

(Credit: Texas Stars)
On Sunday, the Dallas Stars sent goaltender Landon Bow down to the AHL after his one-game backup stint in the NHL on Saturday night.

For now, Philippe Desrosiers will hang out on the Texas Stars roster, and that seems like a good call. Idaho doesn't play until Wednesday in Colorado. In my opinion, as a reward for his good work this season so far, he should stay until Tuesday's morning skate and then head to Loveland for the Steelheads game.

It will also give goalie coach Jim Bedard more time with Desrosiers.

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

Bow, 22, has appeared in 28 games with Texas this season posting a 15-9-3 record with a 2.81 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. He earned his first career AHL shutout on Jan. 19, stopping all 27 shots that he faced at Manitoba.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound native of St. Albert, Alberta was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent on March 10, 2017.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Denis Gurianov's Hat Trick Caps Superb Night for Texas Stars in 5-1 Win

(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)
It was a tight game for the Texas Stars tonight. Well, at least it was until the third period. Denis Gurianov scored three goals in fifteen minutes to notch his first AHL hat trick and topple the Rampage 5-1 in Cedar Park.

"It was emotional," said Gurianov of the hat trick postgame. "My teammates did a really good job getting passes to me."

Gurianov benefited from a line changeup from Coach Laxdal midway through the contest, sliding Gurianov to a line with Brian Flynn and Roope Hintz, matching speed with speed. It paid off in spades.

"I thought it would be a spark," said Laxdal. "He's really coming along here in the last month. Now he's stringing shifts together and games together. We need him to step up and score goals with [Jason] Dickinson in the NHL and [Curtis] McKenzie hurt."

The variety of Gurianov's goals was also remarkable as he scored on a breakaway, on an established zone one-timer and on a one-timer off the rush. "He can score all sorts of ways," noted Laxdal.

Not to be lost among the offensive accomplishments was the night that Philippe Desroisers had. Just 24 hours ago, he was on a plane to Austin and tonight he netted his first AHL start and win of the season, stopping 23 of 24.

"I was at morning skate [in Boise] and I went home and tried to cook food for pregame. [Coach Graham] called me and said, 'You gotta go'. I said, 'Are you serious?', threw all my food in the fridge, packed up, and I was here at midnight."

It's the exact sort of situation that the Quebec native has been preparing for all season, "I work so hard down there to be ready for this. My only goal all summer was to play another game in the AHL. I'm proud to be here tonight."

Laxdal complimented the performance, "We're trying to get a look at him and to battle for a playoff spot. To put him in and play and win, it's important for his confidence and for the organization."

As mentioned, the game started slow with Texas scoring a power play goal in the first and San Antonio evening things late in the second.

Gurianov's first goal was the breakaway, unassisted. "I got good speed and, on the goal, I went forehand to backhand. I was driving the net, and I shot it and scored. I got lucky a little bit but it was nice."

It would end up being the game-winner, but the Stars weren't done. Gurianov ripped home a one-timer off the pass from Tommy Thompson six minutes later for the 3-1 lead. Austin Fyten dropped in a trickling five hole shot that beat Ville Husso for the 4-1 lead at 12:20, and the air was out of the Rampage bench.

To seal things, Roope Hintz and Gurianov barreled in on Husso in the game's final minutes and Gurianov drove home a pass from the right wing circle for the 5-1 final.

With the win, Texas vaults to second place again in the Pacific. The Stars have a significant break until their next game on February 9th when the Tucson Roadrunners come to town.

Tonight's lines:
Gurianov-Markison-Thompson
Hintz-Fyten-Flynn
Morin-Dowling-Rallo
Laberge-Dries-Mangene

Bayreuther-Hansson
Bodnarchuk-Regner
Hanna-Scarlett

Desrosiers

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Paliotta, O'Brien, Kelleher (scratch)
Bow, Dickinson, Heatherington (call up)
McKenzie (injured)

Tonight's attendance was 6,442.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 3 2018

Texas Stars Acquire D Andrew O'Brien, Send Mark McNeill to Nashville

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Texas has a little bit more of a solve for its veteran issue as they've traded Mark McNeill to the Nashville Predators and acquired a defenseman, Andrew O'Brien, in return. McNeill was acquired as part of the Oduya trade but fell down the depth chart in Texas as other veterans outplayed him in the lineup. The former first rounder heads to Milwaukee in return for a defenseman, Andrew O'Brien. With Dillon Heatherington in Dallas and perhaps not returning for some time, it makes sense to trade from a position of strength to one of weakness.

Tyler Kelleher, a forward, was also acquired in an AHL-only deal.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Andrew O'Brien from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Mark McNeill.

O'Brien, 25, has posted three points (0-3=3) and 27 penalty minutes in 21 games played for Milwaukee of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season. Playing in parts of five seasons with Norfolk, San Diego and Milwaukee, he has appeared in 188 career AHL regular-season games posting 43 points (12-31=43) and 243 penalty minutes. Additionally, he has appeared in three career Calder Cup playoff contests, including two against the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the AHL, in 2016 while with San Diego.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound native of Hamilton, Ont. was originally selected by Anaheim in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. He will report to Texas.

McNeill, 24, has posted six points (5-1=6) in 18 games played for Texas this season. In parts of two seasons with Texas, he recorded 17 points (8-9=17) in 38 regular-season games played. He also made one appearance for Dallas last season, registering one shot on net.

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound native of Langley, B.C. was acquired by Dallas along with a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft from Chicago in exchange for defenseman Johnny Oduya.

The Texas Stars also acquired forward Tyler Kelleher from the Milwaukee Admirals in exchange for future considerations.

Kelleher, 23, has appeared in 26 games this season for the Admirals with 12 points (7-5=12). The 5-foot-6, 168-pound native of Longmeadow, Mass. is currently in his rookie AHL season after competing for four years at the University of New Hampshire from 2013-2017.

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

           Texas Stars                         San Antonio Rampage
    24-17-4-2, 54 pts, .574      at      24-17-4-0, 52 pts, .578
#3 Pacific Division                       #2 Pacific Division

February 3rd at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Life in the Pacific Division can be cruel this season. With the loss last night, Texas swapped advantage with the Rampage and dropped to third place in the division. San Antonio, by 4 thousandths, is now in second place. The Stars can regain that advantage tonight.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
It's going to be uphill though, if this season's trend has anything to say about it. The Stars have a 1-4-2-1 record against the Rampage on the season. Their lone victory came November 15th, a 4-3 win at home. 

Texas will take the ice tonight without the services of Landon Bow in net. Mike McKenna started last night and will likely start tonight as well. Bow was recalled for a likely short stint, backing up Kari Lehtonen tonight in Dallas. The Texas Stars recalled Philippe Desrosiers to fill in for Bow.

Some part of me wonders if Coach Laxdal puts Desrosiers in tonight to see what he can do at this level right now. With the single win in eight tries against the Rampage and the added fact that McKenna played last night and had a .857 save percentage, what's the worst that could happen?

Texas is also without Curtis McKenzie, as his seemingly incidental injury has become more severe and looks to be a 3-4 week ordeal.

Stars injury/call up report:
Bow, Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
McKenzie (injury)

Rampage Web Resources
Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With the Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Stars Cede Four Unanswered Goals to Lose to Rampage 4-2 in Penalty Filled Contest

(credit: Texas Stars)
In a game that featured three shorthanded goals, the Texas Stars fell to the San Antonio Rampage 4-2 on Friday night, giving the Stars seven losses to their Pacific division rivals this season. Mike McKenna finished the game with 24 saves on 28 shots for the Stars.

The game seldom seemed to be played at even strength, and the teams traded a whopping three penalties a piece in the first period. Tommy Thompson committed a minor infraction less than a minute into the game to give the Rampage the first man advantage. However, it was the Stars who wrested control as Colin Markison's cross-crease feed was tipped in by Austin Fyten to give the Stars the first of their two shorthanded goals of the game.

Andrew Bodnarchuk's holding penalty gave the Rampage their fourth power play a few minutes into the second period, and the Stars turned it into to an advantage again with another goal. Brian Flynn forced a turnover in the neutral zone and got the puck to trickle in past Ville Husso for the Stars' eighth shorthanded goal of the season. It was the first game of the year the Stars have scored multiple shorthanded goals.

From there, the Rampage scored four unanswered goals to steal the game. McKenna deserved a better fate on a fluke play that was set up by Blais a couple of shifts after the Flynn goal. Blais threw an errant shot off the end wall, and as McKenna came out to challenge, the puck hit him on the back and went in behind him to bring the Rampage within one.

St. Louis Blues first round pick Klim Kostin went down with an injury halfway into the game, and Samuel Laberge was dubiously handed a five minute major for spearing. Though they could've done better to avoid the penalty box, the Stars killed off the first six penalties they committed, but broke later in the third period.

On the fifth power play for the Stars seven minutes into the third period, Rampage winger Trent Vogelhuber evened the game up with a shorthanded goal for San Antonio as McKenna went for a poke check on the play and missed. Halfway through the period, Chris Butler gave the Rampage the lead with a shot that went off the post and in past McKenna. Blais had an assist on the goal for his second point of the night.

The Stars finally tempted fate one too many times, allowing a seventh power play of the game and giving up a goal to Alex Belzile. Husso ended the game with a decent line, stopping 25 of 27 shots.

The Stars complete their home and home set against the Rampage on Saturday evening in Cedar Park. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, McNeill (scratch)
McKenzie (injured)

Tonight's attendance was 12,324.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - February 2 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Antonio Rampage

           Texas Stars                         San Antonio Rampage
    24-16-4-2, 54 pts, .587      at      23-17-4-0, 50 pts, .568
#2 Pacific Division                       #4 Pacific Division

February 2nd at 7:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

(credit: Texas Stars)
Now is the time for the Texas Stars to find their stride and continue to jostle for playoff positioning, and the team knows it as they match up against the San Antonio Rampage on Friday evening. Playing in their first game after the AHL All Star break, they ought to be well-rested seeing as they didn't send any players to the event with All Star selection Curtis McKenzie nursing an injury.


Though they had the reinforcements of current NHL players Jason Dickinson, Julius Honka, and Dillon Heatherington in the last game before the break, the Stars pulled out the victory over the Stockton Heat by relying on secondary scoring. Four different players scored goals for the Stars in that game, and all of them will be critical in this upcoming stretch as Heatherington and Dickinson might not be back for a while, if at all.

The Rampage, 4-4-2-0 in their last 10 games, sense an opportunity of their own to get back into the mix for the top of the Pacific division as they are only four points behind the Stars in the standings. They have dominated the Stars this season with a 7-1-0-0 record. 

Their roster has been a little picked over, with the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues needing a boost, but the Blues did just assign Oskar Sundqvist to the AHL squad. Andrew Agozzino (24 points), Rocco Grimaldi (23 points), and Samuel Blais (1.10 ppg) are the ones that carry the pail for the Rampage, and they will be available.

The puck drops at 7:30 PM CST.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)

Rampage Web Resources
Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With the Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)