Monday, January 21, 2019

Texas Stars Can't Snap Road Skid, Fall to Tucson 6-3

The Texas Stars lost their fourth straight game on Monday in a 5-3 defeat to the Tucson Roadrunners. All four losses have come on the road, and that makes seven straight in their current skid away from Cedar Park.

The calvary came for the Stars in the form of a conditioning assignment to help them break the cycle. The assignment netted them Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov, and Connor Carrick, giving them the means to ice perhaps the deepest lineup they’ve had since opening night. There was an expected scoring boost, but the results were just as vexing as the previous road losses.

MLK Day should generally connote a day of remembrance. It was anything but for Landon Bow. He finished with fourteen saves on only nineteen shots. Although he was the victim of a few too many odd-man rushes, one or two saves here or there would’ve made all the difference.

The start for Texas was positive as promising young blue liner Gavin Bayreuther scored just after three minutes into the first period. The early tally bucked the recent annoying road trend of the Stars having to chase the game from behind.

The Stars struck twice in the second period, but the Roadrunners gave an answer each time and tallied three goals of their own. The first goal they gave up came when the Roadrunners earned over a minute of 5-on-3 play nearly three minutes into the period. AHL All Star defenseman, and Tucson’s leading scorer, Kyle Capobianco blistered a one timer for the first of his two goals in the game.

The Stars responded to the tying goal about five minutes later when Nick Caamano set up Gurianov on a 2-on-1 rush. However, Tucson forward Michael Bunting clapped back in less than three minutes when he went short side on the rush. Bow did a poor job of sealing the post and should’ve made the save.

Michael Mersch got a stick on Ben Gleason’s offering from the point on the power play to restore the Texas lead near the fourteen minute marker. Just as before, the Roadrunners responded when they needed to, and Lane Pederson put back a rebound generated by Bunting within another three minute block to knot it up at three.

Things really went off the rails for the Stars in the third period. Tucson winger Hudson Fasching went bar down after forcing a neutral zone turnover that led to a breakaway less than two minutes into the final frame.

Capobianco’s second goal came on a 3-on-2 rush halfway through the period. The Stars took two ill-timed penalties during that part of the game, when they should’ve been pushing for some offense. Instead, they were left with no choice but to pull Bow with about four minutes left, leading to a goal from David Ullstrom.

The Stars stay in the desert and will play the Roadrunners again on Wednesday. The puck drops at 8:05 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Payne, Calderone, Hanna, Laberge (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 3,776.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Tucson - January 21 2019

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Tucson Roadrunners

Texas Stars
21-14-3-2, 47 pts
#4 Central Division
atTucson Roadrunners
21-11-3-1, 46 pts
#2 Pacific Division
January 21st at 5:05 PM
Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, AZ

[Ed. Note: D Nolan Gluchowski was reassigned to Idaho yesterday evening.]

The Texas Stars need to get off the schneid in a hurry if they are going to make anything of this recent gut-punch of a road trip. They'll have their chance on Monday evening in Tucson against their second round opponent from last season's playoffs, the Roadrunners. 

The Stars have lost three straight, but it's not as if they're getting dominated. They're actually playing the right way in a lot of situations and outshooting their opponents by a sizable margin. It sounds so simple, but their main troubles stem from an inability to find the back of the net right now. 

(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
It's a safe bet that inserting three NHL-caliber players into the lineup will help matters. Forwards Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz, along with defenseman Connor Carrick, have been assigned to Texas for a conditioning stint while the Dallas Stars are on All Star break. The reprieve could not have come any sooner for Texas. Time will tell if both Gurianov and Hintz are called back up, but Carrick will be a lock for a cup of coffee in the AHL. 

Sitting in second place in the Pacific division, the Roadrunners are paced by their AHL All Star defenseman Kyle Capobianco, who leads the team with 29 points. Interestingly, the Roadrunners are winning their games in the strangest ways. Their power play is near the bottom of the league (24th), their penalty kill is average (15th), and both of their goaltenders have a save percentage below .900. 

Perhaps the boost to the Stars lineup will yield dividends, and the puck luck will run out for the Roadrunners for the moment. The puck drops at 5:05 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Fedun (call up)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Joel L'Esperance Named to AHL All-Star Squad

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Amid so many games, one great bit of news for the Texas Stars was Joel L'Esperance being named to the AHL All-Star roster as a replacement for Brandon Pirri. Honestly, L'Esperance probably should have been on the roster to begin with, having the second-most goals in the league as a rookie. Nevermind that though. The AHL always has dropouts from the game due to recall to the NHL, so L'Esperance's name was sure to be called.

Here's the release:
The American Hockey League announced today several changes to the playing rosters for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, to be held January 27-28 in Springfield, Mass.

Texas Stars forward Joel L’Esperance, Manitoba Moose forward Logan Shaw, and Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Troy Grosenick have been added to the Central Division roster. Charlotte Checkers forward Andrew Poturalski has also been added to the Atlantic Division roster for next week’s event.

In addition, Charlotte’s Janne Kuokkanen, Manitoba’s Mason Appleton, Rockford’s Collin Delia and Chicago’s Brandon Pirri will be unavailable for the event.

L’Esperance ranks first among AHL rookies and second overall with 22 goals for the Stars this season. Shaw has 26 points in 32 AHL games this season, including 21 points in 25 games with the Moose. Grosenick ranks third in the league with a .921 save percentage and eighth with a 2.46 goals-against average in 22 appearances for the Admirals. Poturalski is currently tied for third in the AHL in scoring with 42 points (17g, 25a) in 42 games for the Checkers.

Dallas Assigns Hintz, Gurianov and Carrick at Bye Week

(Credit: Texas Stars)
As the Dallas Stars hit their combined bye week and All-Star Break, they have assigned three players to the Texas Stars. Immediately following last night's game against Winnipeg, Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz were assigned to Texas. Defenseman Connor Carrick, who missed significant time with injury over the last few months, was also assigned on a conditioning loan.

Texas hasn't seen any conditioning assignments for a few seasons. By rule, they must last no longer than 14 days. I would assume Carrick is recalled as soon as the break is over.

Gurianov's assignment also means he will be available for the AHL All-Star Classic.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has reassigned right wing Denis Gurianov and center Roope Hintz to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). Additionally, the club assigned defenseman Connor Carrick to Texas on a conditioning loan.

Gurianov, 21, has skated in 12 NHL games with Dallas this season, logging three points (1-2=3) and an average 11:19 of ice time. He has recorded 31 points (11-20=31) in 29 AHL contests with Texas so far in 2018-19. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Togliatti, Russia was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (12th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Hintz, 22, has recorded five points (2-3=5) in 25 NHL contests with Dallas in 2018-19. In 17 AHL contests with Texas this season, he has 19 points (8-11=19). The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Tampere, Finland was originally selected by Dallas in the second round (49th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Carrick, 24, has skated in 13 NHL games with Dallas this season and has tallied four points (1-3=4). The 5-foot-11, 192-pound native of Orland Park, Ill. was acquired by Dallas via trade on Oct. 1, 2018 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a conditional seventh-round selection in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Early Deficit Dooms Texas Stars Despite 51 Shots on Net

(Credit: Asvitt Photography/Stockton Heat)
In what has become an unfortunate trend on this road trip, Texas fell behind early and could not overcome the deficit, losing by a single goal to a Stockton team that they should have beaten. After hitting 2-0, the Stars and Heat exchanged goals as Texas got within one goal twice.

The story of the contest was the unexpected play of Tyler Parson in net for the Heat. It took 31 shots before Texas pierced the netminder, and the Stars eclipsed 50 shots in the contest overall. For a team that averages four goals against per game, the Heat did not look it tonight. It wasn't a bad game by Texas; it was hot goaltending.

Texas has lost three games for the first time since the first week of November.

Within three minutes late in the first, Stockton made it a 1-2 punch to go up two. Alan Quine and Glenn Gawdin notched their 13th and 9th of the year, respectively.

Colin Markison would make it 2-1 with a jam at the goal line. Dillon Dube got it back in the third period to make it 3-1 but Shane Hanna scored quickly to make it 3-2 off the pass from Sam Laberge. Markison's secondary assist gave him two points on the night.

The Stars could not get a goal to drop on the man advantage in six opportunities and put 51 total shots on Parsons. Stockton would earn an empty net goal to set the final at 4-2. The Stars are next in action on Monday afternoon in Tucson.

Tonight's lines



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Gluchowski, Calderone (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 6,633.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Stockton - January 19 2019

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Stockton Heat

Texas Stars
21-13-3-2, 47 pts
#4 Central Division
atStockton Heat
16-19-4-0, 36 pts
#1 Pacific Division
January 18th at 8:00 PM
Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA

A tough road trip is made tougher by close losses. The Stars had every right to win last night in San Jose as they belted Korenar with 41 shots. Michael Mersch alone had eight shots in the game, but the only goal was Bayreuther's late tally.

After two 2-1 losses to hot teams, the Stars get a chance against a club below .500 to right their trip. The Heat were losers in their last three, taking just a point out of Bakersfield last night on the road. Their last win was a week ago at home against Ontario, a 6-5 OT victory.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Like Texas, Stockton scores a ton. The issue for the Heat is their goals against. Coming into today, they're the worst in the league with 4.13 per game. Jon Gillies had a hot rookie season and has regressed, marking off a 5-12-4 record with an .857 SV% and 4.11 GAA. The goalies as a group have allowed at least four goals in all but two of their last ten games.

This feels like a game that Texas should have well in hand. The Stars would feel much better about the trip if this is a 7-2 victory. Especially with so much scoring prowess in the lineup, despite the departure of Denis Gurianov to Dallas, this club should score at least 4 tonight.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Gurianov, Fedun, Hintz (call up)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Texas Drops Second Straight on Road in 2-1 Loss to San Jose

The Texas Stars dropped their second consecutive road game on Friday in another 2-1 loss--this time to the San Jose Barracuda. The effort was there for the Stars, as they peppered rookie goaltender Josef Korenar with 41 shots, but the results weren’t. This was likely an instance in which head coach Derek Laxdal “didn’t mind their game.”

(credit: San Jose Barracuda)
A couple of bounces didn’t go the Stars way in the first period which led to their undoing. Barracuda forward Matt Fonteyne opened the scoring on the power play four minutes into the contest and made the Stars chase the rest of the way.

Jayden Halbgewachs tipped in a puck that bounced awkwardly off the end wall to push the Barracuda lead to 2-0 with less than three minutes left in the opening frame.

Unfortunately for the Stars, they played a really good opening period but couldn’t catch any breaks. About halfway through the frame, they were sure they scored on a rebound and celebrated on the ice as such. After further review, the officials ruled no goal. The 20-9 shot differential in favor of the Stars tells a different story than the goal totals in the opening frame.

Gavin Bayreuther pulled the Stars within one on his power play goal nearly five minutes into the second period. Erik Condra and Justin Dowling notched the helpers on the tally.

Goaltender Landon Bow turned in another strong outing with 29 saves. He was good enough to win on most nights and was the best player on the ice for the Stars. It was just one of those nights where the effort did not show up on the score sheet while the opposing goaltender stood on his head.

The Stars have a chance to get back on track with their road game on Saturday as they take on the Stockton Heat. The puck drops at 8:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Payne, Gluchowski (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 3,064.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Jose - January 18 2019