Monday, January 29, 2018

North Division Wins AHL All Star Challenge

(credit: Lindsay Mogle/AHL)
The Pacific division squared off against the North division in the final game of the AHL All Star challenge round robin style tournament. Until that game, the Pacific went a perfect 3-0-0-0. C.J. Smith of the Rochester Americans scored the lone goal in the contest and won MVP of the night. 

With a recent injury to Curtis McKenzie, the Texas Stars did not send a player to the All Star festivities.

According to AHL president Dave Andrews, this was the last year we would have seen any of the Texas Stars suit up for the Pacific division as the league appears headed for some realignment with the Stars likely headed to the Central division along with the San Antonio Rampage.

State of the League: Texas, San Antonio Leaving Pacific Division Next Year

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
As part of All-Star weekend, AHL president Dave Andrews gave his State of the League address this morning. It's always an interesting chat, and this morning's edition was no exception. The league does not broadcast the address, so Patrick Williams, the AHL's answer to Bob McKenzie, was there to assist. Here are some of the notable bits.

This one isn't really unexpected. With a new team in Colorado, the league would have 9 clubs in the Pacific. Texas and San Antonio likely move to the Central in this scenario.

Here are a few more

With NHL All-Star Break Over, Dallas Recalls Honka, Heatherington and Dickinson

(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)
The Dallas Stars have recalled three players this afternoon following the All-Star Break. Dillon Heatherington, Julius Honka and Jason Dickinson were assigned before the break to get a few extra games in while the NHL was on hiatus. They will all head right back to Dallas now.

In a corresponding move, Texas has recalled Shane Hanna from Idaho.

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

Dickinson, 22, has appeared in nine games with Dallas this season registering six 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 four games with Dallas this season and has accumulated a +2 plus/minus rating and 26 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut on Jan. 18 at Columbus. He has also registered 13 points (3-10=13) in 41 games played for Texas this season along with a +2 plus/minus rating and 35 penalty minutes.

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.

Honka, 22, has played in 24 games for Dallas this season recording three points (1-2=3) and a +2 plus/minus rating. He has also appeared in ten games for Texas totaling two assists (0-2=2) and 15 shots on net.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Jyvaskyla, Finland was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Texas Stars Not Sending Anyone to AHL All-Star Game; Curtis McKenzie Injured

McKenzie screened the goalie as Regner scored the first Texas goal last night.
(Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars confirmed this morning that there will not be a representative from the team at the AHL All-Star Game in Utica this weekend. After Curtis McKenzie was injured late in the second period last night, he was pulled from the event. Given the late timing of the injury in reference to the All-Star festivities, there was no time to select a replacement.

This weekend's All-Star game would have been the first of McKenzie's career.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Texas Stars Bounce Back with 4-3 Win Over Stockton Heat

 Gurianov beats Gillies in the second. (Credit: Derek Sparta/Texas Stars)
After a rough game on Friday, the Texas Stars bounced back with a solid sixty minute effort, beating the Stockton Heat 4-3 and regaining second place in the division as the club hits the All-Star Break. For a second night in a row, Texas played to a capacity crowd of 6,863.

"It was better effort by our group," said Texas head coach Derek Laxdal. "Our guys were challenged and they rose to the occassion. I was happy with the effort and the way they responded."

While no one was "driving the bus" last night for the Stars, according to Laxdal, tonight he praised the team for every player looking to take a driving role in the night's success.

"Everyone pitched in and no one was sitting at the back of the bus tonight. Everyone was trying to get into that driver's seat."

It was a back and forth game as one team would claw ahead only to see the score tied up shortly thereafter.

"That's a playoff style game there," noted Colin Markison, who scored to tie the game in the second just 16 seconds after a Stockton goal. "There were a lot of emotions, ups and downs. We did well to stay to our game plan."

That game plan got knocked off course slightly to start the game as Spencer Foo continued his excellent weekend against the Stars on the power play. Texas answered back on a power play goal of their own late in the period. Curtis McKenzie put traffic in front, clearing the way for Brent Regner's fourth goal of the year and the 1-1 tie after twenty. Markison added that was the plan, "Our game plan was to just get traffic in front of [Stockton goalie Jon Gillies]."

Stockton jumped out to another lead early in the second, but Markison was on the receiving end of a great pass from Tommy Thompson, which he roofed for the tie. Laxdal praised the winger, who had two assists tonight, "[Thompson's] done exactly what he needs to do to stay in the lineup. He's got good speed and he's physical."

Thompson's second assist came on the go-ahead goal by Denis Gurianov. It appeared as though Gillies had the puck covered off Gurianov's shot, but as the Heat goalie pulled the puck into his pads, he slid it under them instead and into his own net.

Brett Pollock washed away that bad taste though with his fourth of the year, all scored against Texas this weekend.

All night, the officiating was suspect as two first year referees struggled to control the game on both sides. More matching minors or 'send a message' minors should have been assessed to keep things tame. Luckily, no one was hurt as a result of these transgressions.

During one of those rare matching minors, Gavin Bayreuther snuck down low and roofed a shot past Gillies for the 4-3 lead. That would stand as the final score.

Late in the second, Texas lost Curtis McKenzie as he appeared to collide with one of his own teammates and was clipped. He went down immediately and did not return. He is out with a lower body injury and will not travel to Utica for the All-Star Game.

Texas defended its lead in the third, including just over two minutes of 6-on-5. Mike McKenna finished with 26 saves on 29 shots. Jon Gillies was challenged fewer times in net but pierced more, taking the loss with 18 saves on 22 shots.

Texas is off until next Friday for the All-Star Break.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, Rallo, McNeill, Mangene, Hansson (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,863, a sellout.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Stockton - January 27 2018

Former Texas Star Luke Gazdic Happy to See He Still Has Fans in Cedar Park

Luke Gazdic gets acquainted with Landon Bow
(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Last night was Luke Gazdic's first time back in Cedar Park since he left the Texas Stars in the 2012-13 season. The winger's rookie year was Texas's inaugural year in the league, and he quickly became a fan favorite. It was an emotional return, for sure.

"I tried not to put anything out," he said after the game, a 6-2 win for Stockton. "I tried not to tweet anything or write anything because you never know with this stuff. I wasn't sure if I was going to play."

Stockton is sitting a few good veterans each night as they face similar veteran issues to Texas. Gazdic was very pleased to be in, even if it was a bit disorienting. "I almost did the Texas loop and had to realize I had to keep skating to the other end!"

He was also overjoyed to to see some fans in the stands.

"In warmups, I saw a couple of the diehards that have been here since day one. I was so glad to come out, and there were still signs and jerseys and pictures. I'm going to go sign some autographs right now, so it's nice after four years that I'm still cared for and respected."

If he can get into the lineup tonight, he's hoping to make a mark against his former club, "Hopefully tomorrow I can get a goal or a scrap. Get on the board somehow!"

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Stockton Heat

   Texas Stars                            Stockton Heat
  23-16-4-2, 52 pts, .578     v.     20-14-2-3, 45 pts, .577
#3 Pacific Division                    #4 Pacific Division

January 27th at 7:00 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Alright, let's forget last night even happened. The Stars certainly will be looking to do that and the fans couldn't get much excitement out of the game last night either. It started well enough but the third period collapse saw a 6-2 final for Stockton.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Assignments for the All-Star Break (Dickinson, Heatherington, Honka) were not factors last night, and if Dickinson and Heatherington play tonight, it will be their third game in as many nights.

Last night, Coach Laxdal noted postgame, "We thought it was going to be an easy game, and it was an easy game for the Stockton Heat." It points to his earlier lament that everyone is good in the division. Two games won or lost could take you from top to bottom or vice versa.

The Stars will look to reset tonight and send themselves into the All-Star Break with a win. If they fall to Stockton this evening, they will swap spots with the Heat heading into the break.

Stars injury/call up report:

Heat Web Resources
Twitter: @AHLHeat

Friday, January 26, 2018

Former Stars Draft Pick Brett Pollock Burns Texas With Hat Trick in 6-2 Loss to Stockton

Brett Pollock celebrates his third goal of the game
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars fell to the Stockton Heat 6-2 on Friday evening after allowing four goals in the third period. Brett Pollock, a 2014 2nd round pick of the Dallas Stars, recorded a hat trick to bring his career AHL goal totals to four. Landon Bow had one of his more forgettable games of the season, stopping only 24 of 29 chances on goal.

Stars coach Derek Laxdal lamented his team's effort after the game saying, "We didn't have anybody going tonight. That was on us a little bit, but it was mostly on [Stockton]. They played a containment game and took away our time and space in the neutral zone. We thought it was going to be an easy game, and it was an easy game for the Stockton Heat."

The Stars got off to a promising start when they forced a neutral zone turnover within the first five minutes of the game. Samuel Laberge fired a screaming wrist shot through the high slot to put Texas up by one on their second shot. Justin Dowling, who finished with two assists in the game, had a helper along with Julius Honka on the goal.

Laberge weighed in on the goal: "We were trying to keep our game simple. It shot a hard shot and it went right through the hole. It was a simple play."

With just over two minutes to go in the first period, Heat winger Spencer Foo evened the game up. He avoided a couple of back checkers and froze Bow with a slick shot fake, then went behind him with a soft wrister for his first of two goals in the game. Coming off his two goal game-winning performance on Tuesday evening, Brian Flynn answered on the very next shift with a point blank goal that was set up across the ice from Dowling.

Five minutes into the second period, Bow made the save on a hard shot from the point but couldn't put a fork in the rebound. Pollock came in hot and crashed hard to the net score the first of his three goals in the game.

Laxdal wasn't pleased with the first two periods. "The game was won and lost in the first period. We've got to compete for 60 minutes in our building. We didn't have any zone time and ended up with 20 shots. We've got to work 5-on-5 and we didn't have a lot of compete or battle on pucks. [Stockton] set the tone with their work ethic, and we didn't match it. Even when the game was 2 to 2, they were the better team."

The wheels came off in the third period when the Stars allowed four successive goals in just about any way you can draw up. The teams traded penalties and had two minutes of 4-on-4. Pollock netted his second goal, crashing the net again when Bow struggled with the rebound.

The Stars had a chance to make up for it with a power play a few minutes later, but they gave up their sixth shorthanded goal of the year to Foo to put them in a two goal hole.

"We have to talk about it," said Laberge. "They're coming in our building and outworking us--we can't accept that. We have to work harder. We were out-skilled and out-worked."

Finally, with seven minutes to go, Pollock buried the Stars for good on an even strength goal that took the wind out of the capacity crowd. Heat defenseman sent most of the home with an empty net goal to throw the dirt on.

"It was competitive one way for one team and it wasn't the Texas Stars tonight. Plain and simple," said Laxdal.

The Stars wrap up their two game set against the Stockton Heat on Saturday, January 27th. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, Rallo, McNeill, Thompson, Paliotta (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,863.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Stockton - January 26 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Stockton Heat

   Texas Stars                            Stockton Heat
  23-15-4-2, 52 pts, .591     v.     19-14-2-3, 43 pts, .566
#2 Pacific Division                    #4 Pacific Division

January 26th at 7:30 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

(credit: Texas Stars)
Update: Jason Dickinson, Dillon Heatherington and Julius Honka will join the Texas Stars for the weekend set against the Stockton Heat. Shane Hanna will head to the Steelheads in a corresponding move.

Andrew Mangiapane and Marek Hrivik have been recalled to the Stockton Heat during the NHL All Star break.

The Texas Stars have a prime opportunity to continue to cement themselves in playoff position with the first game of a back-to-back set against the divisional opponent Stockton Heat. They are coming off a dramatic overtime win against the San Jose Barracuda on Tuesday in which Brian Flynn scored twice late to steal the victory.

Stockton winger Luke Gazdic will make his first return to the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park since he last wore a Texas Stars jersey. The 2007 6th round draft pick of the Dallas Stars played several seasons with Texas and donned the "A" in his final season with the club in 2012-2013.

The Heat continue to be without their two top scorers, Andrew Mangiapane (35 points) and Marek Hrivik (29 points, due to call ups. The Stars have a chance to bury them even further in the standings as the Heat are slumping with a 3-6-0-1 record in their last 10 games.

Meanwhile, the Stars are putting a special run together. They really had no business winning against the Barracuda on Tuesday and dispatched the Manitoba Moose handily in the two games before.

Their center depth has withstood some testing lately. Jason Dickinson remains with the parent club, and Sheldon Dries is dealing with a nagging injury. Travis Morin continues to lead the league with 36 assists, and Stars captain Curtis McKenzie continues to prove that he belongs at the upcoming AHL All Star game with a team-leading 21 goals. Goaltenders Landon Bow and Mike McKenna figure to split the games in net.

Defenseman Dillon Heatherington will head back down to Cedar Park from Dallas while the parent club is on All Star break to play in the weekend set.

The puck drops at 7:30 PM CST.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
Dries (injured, day-to-day)

Heat Web Resources
Twitter: @AHLHeat

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Small Changes Lead to Big Success for Landon Bow

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Writing again for the American Hockey League On The Beat feature...
Undrafted free agent goalie Landon Bow is making his mark in Texas. The rookie is halfway through his first season and currently leads the league in wins among first year players.

Texas added Bow on an AHL contract last season, after he spent most of the year in the ECHL and seriously impressed those who watched him there. He did enough to earn an NHL contract from the Dallas Stars this season and was pitted against Philippe Desrosiers for the backup role behind veteran Mike McKenna.

But now, halfway through the season, Bow has emerged as the starter for Texas.

Texas Stars goalie coach Jim Bedard noted the biggest contributing factor to Bow’s success has been “his ability to embrace small changes we made in his game to make him more efficient.”
Read the rest at

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Brian Flynn's Two Late Goals Give Stars 3-2 Win Over Barracuda

Brian Flynn finds the slot late in the game
(credit: Texas Stars/Andy Nietupski)
The Texas Stars have strung together their third straight win as they dispatched the San Jose Barracuda 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday evening. The Stars did not lead the contest until scoring the final, OT goal. Brian Flynn’s name was called several times in the game, including the game-tying and game-winning goals. The Stars were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play with goals from Flynn and Roope Hintz. Landon Bow manned the pipes and played well, stopping 31 shots out of 33.

“To come back with a day of heavy travel and play tonight, it’s a tough game and you worry about the energy,” said head coach Derek Laxdal. “We had to engage in more battles mentally and physically, and our guys persevered.”

The win helped Texas keep pace with the stacked Pacific division.

“If you lose two in a row, you can be at the bottom. If you win two in a row, you can move up in the division. It’s a sprint to the finish, and every divisional game is huge.”

In a precursor of things to come, Flynn had two point blank chances in the first two periods but couldn’t get them to go. Early signs pointed to the Stars having something to build on with the play. Flynn elaborated after the game: “[Morin’s] been going down to [McKenzie] all year and [McKenzie’s] been scoring, and teams are kind of cheating on that. So we saved it and fortunately it worked.”

Denis Gurianov, who later assisted on Hintz’s goal, almost notched an early helper with a centering feed to Tommy Thompson. Texas Stars head coach called tonight’s game Gurianov’s best of the year.

The Stars outshot the Barracuda 13-10 in the first period, but AHL All Star netminder Antoine Bibeau withstood the early testing.

The Barracuda generated a great look early in the second period and capitalized with a goal from forward Alexander True. Jon Martin made an excellent play, protecting the puck along the boards and finding True’s stick in the slot with a precision pass.

On the penalty kill, Hintz, Brent Regner, and Curtis McKenzie had an odd-man rush that produced at least two good chances. Bibeau was simply the best player on the ice for much of the game. Laxdal agreed, saying “Both goalies were outstanding tonight. It kept the game close and gave it a playoff feel. Bibeau was an excellent free agent find for them.”

The Stars finally got something to go after chipping away at Bibeau with a power play goal from Hintz. Just as the final second of the San Jose penalty was ticking away, Gurianov centered the puck to Hintz, who was breaking towards the net to finish the play.

A few minutes later, Barracuda defenseman Paul Martin had a shot from the point that somehow stayed out as it hit the crossbar. Marcus Sorensen regained the lead for San Jose as he was left relatively unchecked skating into the slot.

Late in the third period with time running out for a comeback, Matt Mangene drew a tripping penalty for the Stars with 1:26 left in the game. Texas immediately pulled Bow to go 6-on-4. Flynn was able to get his tip-in play to click when he took the pass from Travis Morin, who still leads the AHL in assists. Flynn talked about the cohesion with Morin: “Me and [Morin] talked about it after our couple of power plays in the second [period]. I thought I was open.”

The Stars were dominated in regulation on the face-off dot but won three straight when it mattered most in overtime. Flynn’s knack for getting to the front of the net in the game paid dividends again as he beat everyone up ice and scored another tip-in to win the game for the Stars. Flynn described the play: “It’s a play that [Dowling] and I talked about before we went out. Forwards tend to cheat a little bit. I thought maybe I could beat him, and [Dowling] laid a good pass in there.”

The Texas Stars will faceoff against the Stockton Heat on Friday at 7:30 PM CST in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
Rallo, McNeill (scratch)
Dries (injury, day-to-day)

Sheldon Dries is out with an upper body injury, hoping to return Friday.

Tonight's attendance was 4,580.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Jose - January 23 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Jose Barracuda

         Texas Stars                        San Jose Barracuda
  22-15-4-2, 50 pts, .581      v.     19-16-0-2, 40 pts, .541
#2 Pacific Division                    #6 Pacific Division

January 23rd at 7:30 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

(credit: Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars have experienced an offensive Renaissance of sorts over the past couple of games and just might be trending in the right direction. They beat the league-leading Manitoba Moose thoroughly in a weekend pair that saw the Stars outscore them by four goals in both games. Finally at home after a long road trip and with sole possession of second place in the Pacific division, the Stars will face the San Jose Barracuda to give them an opportunity to continue their push up the standings.

Jason Dickinson, who had two goals in the Manitoba game last Saturday, has been called up to the Dallas Stars as Martin Hanzal has struggled to stay healthy. Texas can absorb the temporary loss if they can keep clicking on offense. Stars captain Curtis McKenzie is on an absolute tear with five points from last weekend (3 goals, 2 assists). Travis Morin picked up two more assists to add to his league leading total (35). Landon Bow recorded his first career AHL shutout during Friday's game and figures to get the start in net.

The Barracuda rise and fall with the play of AHL All Star goaltender Antoine Bibeau. He's posted a .922 SP in his 21 stars and will likely play. Rookie forward Rudolfs Balcers leads the team in points (25), though San Jose is a team that doesn't pack much firepower. The Stars' woeful penalty kill (28th ranked) can perhaps see some improvement against the 26th ranked Barracuda power play. Unless Bibeau shuts it all down, look for the Stars to carry some positive momentum into this game.

The puck drops at 7:30 CST.

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

San Jose Barracuda Web Coverage
Twitter: @sjbarracuda

Monday, January 22, 2018

Jason Dickinson Recalled to Dallas

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Jason Dickinson has been recalled to the Dallas Stars this afternoon. The forward is certainly racking up the miles this season between the NHL and AHL.

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 seven games with Dallas this season, registering four shots and six penalty minutes. In 31 games played with Texas this season, he has produced 21 points (16-5=21) and his 16 goals rank 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.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Texas Stars Surge into 2nd Place, Toppling Manitoba 5-1

Mike McKenna smothers a puck (Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Texas got contributions all over the lineup as the visitors roughed up the best team in the league, Manitoba, by a 5-1 score. The Stars defeated the Moose in back-to-back games, both by a four goal margin. The win pushes Texas into second place in the Pacific Division.

On the weekend, Texas tenders were pierce just a single time. Mike McKenna got the start tonight and stopped 38 of 39 shots against him. Thirty of those 39 came in the first two periods.

Manitoba scored in the first period tonight but not before Jason Dickinson and Colin Markison each notched a goal. Dickinson's goal came just 17 seconds into the contest. Travis Morin's assist on Markison's tally extended his AHL assists lead to At no point during the weekend did Texas trail the Moose.

A scoreless second period gave way to an offensive outburst in the third period. Curtis McKenzie scored his AHL-leading 21st of the season on the power play early. Greg Rallo collected his first goal of the season atthe 13 minute mark. Jason Dickinson finished up the scoring, draining it into an empty net with three minutes to go.

The Stars return home to face San Jose on Tuesday.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Heatherington (callup)
Paliotta, Dries, Dowling, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 5,245.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - January 20 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

      Texas Stars                           Manitoba Moose
  21-15-4-2, 48 pts, .571      at     26-9-3-2, 57 pts, .713
#4 Pacific Division                    #1 Central Division

January 20th at 7:00 PM CST
Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB

To say last night was the Stars' best game of the year wouldn't be tough. Facing a club that had just 8 regulation losses coming into the contest, Texas not only won the game but completely blanked the Moose at home 4-0. Manitoba had yet to be held without a goal on the season until that point.

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Now comes the push back. The Moose are 26-9-5 for a reason and they know how to come back in the second game of a back-to-back. They have just two stretches of more than one loss, both three game skids and both with some loser points in the mix. Back to back losses against Grand Rapids and Iowa last weekend were the first time they'd dropped two in regulation. The last time they lost to the same team on consecutive nights was in October, before they went on an insane 20-2-2 stretch through November and December.

Last night was also a good display of the mercurial talent of a rookie in the AHL. Roope Hintz had a pair of goals and looked good all night just a few weeks after making a few rough mistakes that ended up in the back of his net at home. You take the good with the bad with rookies and hope the former outweighs the latter.

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

Moose Web Resources
Twitter: @ManitobaMoose

Friday, January 19, 2018

Landon Bow Records His First AHL Career Shutout in Stars 4-0 Win Over Moose

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)
Unaccustomed to losing in a dominant season, the Manitoba Moose were beaten by the Texas Stars in sound fashion 4-0 on Friday evening. Landon Bow had a night to remember with his first career AHL shutout on 27 saves against a team that had yet to be held scoreless in the season.

Curtis McKenzie had a three point night with two goals and an assist. Roope Hintz also had two goals, and Andrew Bodnarchuk and Brent Regner pitched in with two helpers each. The Stars were tested three times against Manitoba's second ranked power play and didn't crack, thanks to Bow.

The Stars had the AHL top-ranked team on their heels from the jump with two goals in the first period. Both were assisted by Andrew Bodnarchuk. Roope Hintz opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season after several minutes of territorial play. Curtis McKenzie followed suit with a goal on a breakaway, beating Eric Comrie just over his glove hand.

There were a couple of moments in the first period that could have had the Stars running away with the game early. Hintz almost netted his second goal, but hit a crossbar. Travis Morin did score right after the Stars' first power play expired on a shot that banked in off the post. However, after a discussion, the referees concluded that there was goaltender interference, and the goal was disallowed.

With 18 seconds left in the second period, Hintz was rewarded with his second goal of the game when he batted a puck out of the air past Comrie, completely shocking the Moose crowd. Moose winger Chase De Leo, who was stone-walled by Landon Bow on a breakaway early in the period, lost his cool and dropped the gloves with Bodnarchuk out of frustration.

On their fifth power play of the game, McKenzie scored his second goal of the game in the third period. Travis Morin, who leads the AHL in assists, picked up his 34th. The Moose had quality chances late to get on the board, but Bow was better.

The Stars play game two of their weekend set against the Moose on Saturday evening. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, Dries, Rallo, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 3,983.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Manitoba - January 19 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Manitoba Moose

      Texas Stars                           Manitoba Moose
  20-15-4-2, 46 pts, .561      at     26-8-3-2, 57 pts, .731
#4 Pacific Division                    #1 Central Division

January 19th at 7:00 PM CST
Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB

(credit: Manitoba Moose)

The Texas Stars pick up their road trip again as they head to Winnipeg to take on the Manitoba Moose. Scoring has been hard to come by for the Stars in the past two games, though their goaltending has held together nicely. The sledding has been tough overall for the past 10 games (2-4-3-1), and the competition couldn't be stiffer for them to try to put together some kind of positive streak. 

One positive that has yet to materialize in improved play is the overall health of the team. They will only be without Dillon Heatherington (call-up) and will likely have to rely on secondary scoring to make a dent in this game. Look for players like Brian Flynn (23 points), Denis Gurianov (15 points), or Roope Hintz (20 points) to potentially contribute. All things being equal, and coming off considerable rest, Landon Bow is the starter in net.

The Moose are tearing through the AHL this season and are a virtual lock for the playoffs. They've cooled off a bit as of late (5-3-2 in last 10), but they remain one of two teams to still have single digits in the loss column. They have plenty of offensive firepower, sporting three players with 35 points in Buddy Robinson, Jack Roslovic, and rookie Mason Appleton. Just behind them with 31 points is center iceman Nic Petan. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson, who has spent considerable time in the NHL, is having an outstanding season with a .942 SV% and is only allowing 1.94 goals per game. They will be a load to deal with.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST. 

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

Moose Web Resources
Twitter: @ManitobaMoose

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stars Can't Complete Comeback, Lose 3-2 in Shootout to Reign

(credit: Ontario Reign)

The Texas Stars were down twice in the third period but clawed back both times to force a shootout. In the end, they lost to the Ontario Reign 3-2. Former Star Jack Campbell started in goal for the Reign and finished with 29 saves on 31 shots.

As usual, the Ontario Reign played a physical brand of hockey that often crossed the line beyond competitive play. The Stars were able to benefit with three first period power plays, but to no avail. Phillipe Maillet put the Reign up 1-0 with a quick goal off of a won face-off draw that beat Landon Bow cleanly. Bow had a solid outing and finished with 36 saves on 39 shots. The Reign outshot the Stars 13-6 in the first period.

Tempers flared in the second period, and Ontario's Austin Wagner was looking for anyone to pick a fight with. He found a willing partner in Colin Markison to draw offsetting fighting majors. Bokondji Imama also scraped with Samuel Laberge later in the period as the game threatened to get really ugly. Things did not pick up offensively for the Stars, and they were outshot by the end of the middle frame 26-15.

The Stars finally got on the board and ended the scoring drought for the Stars going back to last game with a Travis Morin goal. The Stars won a puck battle behind the net and centered to Morin who was waiting in front of the net. The Reign had a quick answer. They pinned the Stars in their own zone and got a back door goal to go from Mike Amadio.

With 1:02 left in the game, Justin Dowling scored his sixth goal of the season to tie the game when the Stars went 6-on-5. He finished the play after the puck rebounded off Campbell twice. The Stars drew a penalty 19 seconds into overtime play to give them a huge chance to put the game away on 4-on-3. They were caught too many times looking for the perfect pass and didn't generate many good looks.

Campbell was perfect for the Reign during the shootout, stopping Morin, Brian Flynn, and Curtis McKenzie. Amadio had the lone goal to give the Reign the victory.

The Stars will pick their current road trip back up on Friday as they travel to Canada to take on the Manitoba Moose. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Fyten, Dries, Rallo, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,570.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Ontario - January 15 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Ontario Reign

   Texas Stars                            Ontario Reign
20-15-4-1, 45 pts, .563      at     18-15-1-1, 38 pts, .543
#5 Pacific Division                    #6 Pacific Division

December 20th at 3:00 PM
Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, CA

(credit: Ontario Reign)

Game three of the current road trip for the Texas Stars will see them take on the Ontario Reign in southern California. Things have been less than ideal for the Stars lately, with a 3-4-3-0 record in their last 10 games to prove it. The Ontario Reign have been slightly better, going 5-4-1-0, but sit just below the Stars in the Pacific division standings. You'd have to think that the Reign can sense a major opportunity to get their season back on track and gain some ground in the standings. In their three games against the Reign this season the Stars have posted a 1-1-1-0 record.

The offense for the Stars lately has been rather bi-polar. They couldn't seem to miss the back of the net on Friday night in Stockton, winning 7-2. They followed that up with a shutout loss the next night to the same team. They'll need more consistency against a big, physical team that would love to leap-frog them in the division. The Stars will once again be without Dillon Heatherington as he is in Dallas providing depth for the parent club. Look for new acquisition Michael Paliotta to continue to be a fixture in the lineup. Jason Dickinson, who had a three point game in their victory over the Stockton Heat, will help ensure his team isn't shutout a second game in a row. Stars captain Curtis McKenzie has been a point per game player for Texas and will be relied upon heavily to finish plays.

The Reign are led in scoring by Mike Amadio (33 points), and is followed by Michael Mersch and Matt Moulson. All three have registered points against the Stars in their three matches this year. Former Texas Star Jack Campbell started both games against Texas in Cedar Park, but rookie Cal Petersen was in net for the game in Ontario. It is unclear who draws the start, but my money would be on Petersen as it appears that they are doing an even split in sharing the net. 

The puck drops at 3:00 PM CST. 

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

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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jon Gillies, Stockton Heat Shut Down Texas Stars 2-0

(Credit: Stockton Heat)
Jon Gillies was the man of the night as Texas dropped a close game to the Stockton Heat in California by a 2-0 score. The only goal that really mattered was Austin Carroll's 2nd goal of the year, scoring just six minutes into the game, which stood up as the winner. The Heat added an empty net goal late, which was of no consequence. Gillies stopped all 28 Texas Stars shots and shut down a recently resurgent Stars power play on four opportunities.

Mike McKenna got the start for Texas and did what it would take to win on any other night, allowing a single goal on 23 shots. Brent Regner, who scored twice last night, had four shots for Texas, but no one broke through to the scoresheet otherwise.

The Stars play a day game on MLK Jr Day against Ontario.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Heatherington (call up)
Fyten, Scarlett, Rallo, Hanna, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,359.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Stockton - January 13 2018

Dillon Heatherington Recalled to the Dallas Stars

(credit: Texas Stars)

Texas Stars defenseman Dillon Heatherington was recalled by the parent club Dallas Stars on Saturday. Dallas has been trying to get one of their top blue-liners Marc Methot healthy, and it appears it will take another couple weeks. Heatherington will slot in as the seventh defenseman in Dallas. The recent Texas Stars acquisition of Michael Paliotta from the Toronto Marlies came in a timely fashion to help them maintain their depth on the blue line.

Here is the official release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL), and placed defenseman Marc Methot on Injured Reserve (knee) retroactive to Jan. 4. 
Heatherington, 22, has registered 13 points (3-10=13) in 39 games played for Texas this season. His three goals match a career-high in the AHL, which he accomplished in each of the previous two seasons. This is his third full professional season, and he has appeared in 165 career regular-season AHL games in parts of four seasons with Springfield, Lake Erie/Cleveland and Texas. He was part of the Calder Cup winning Lake Erie Monsters in 2016. 
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.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Jason Dickinson's Three Points Game Leads Stars in 7-2 Win Over Heat

(credit: Texas Stars)

On the second game of their current road trip, the Texas Stars unbottled their offense picked up a much needed 7-2 win over the Stockton Heat--a divisional foe that the Stars are chasing for playoff positioning. The victory moved the Stars past the San Antonio Rampage for fourth place in the Pacific division with the Rampage losing to the Milwaukee Admirals.

Michael Paliotta made his debut on the blue line for the Stars, but the story among the defensemen was Brent Regner finishing with two goals. Jason Dickinson also had a big game with one goal and two assists. Landon Bow finished with 24 saves on 26 shots.

Rookie net-minder Tyler Parsons made his AHL debut in the crease for the Heat and withstood some testing early in the game when the Stars were peppering him with pucks, though it didn't last. The Stars got the screen they needed on the first Regner goal from the point to find the gap in Parsons' net.  It was critical that the Stars get on the board first with the Heat being known for fast starts.

Texas had all of about three minutes to relish the goal. Luke Gazdic capitalized when Regner fell down and scored an unassisted goal to tie the game.

With nothing going on the power play after three attempts into the second period, Jason Dickinson scored at even strength just after the third Stars power play expired. Denis Gurianov, who's struggles this season have been well documented, was the benefactor of a great Dickinson pass that found him next to the net for an easy tip in goal.

In the third period, the Stars continued to blemish Parsons' debut with three consecutive goals before the Heat would score late on the power play. Samuel Laberge scored his third goal of the year. Roope Hintz got in on the scoring action with a power play goal that was set up by Niklas Hansson. Finally, Regner scored his second goal to put the Stars up 6-1 to completely nail the door shut on a Heat comeback.

After Morgan Klimchuk posted power play goal for the Heat, Justin Dowling answered on a set up by Brian Flynn.

The Stars will play against the Heat again on Saturday evening. The puck drops at 8:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mangene, Scarlett, Rallo, Hanna, McNeill (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 2,835.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Stockton - January 12 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Stockton Heat

  Texas Stars                            Stockton Heat
  19-14-4-1, 43 pts, .566      at     17-11-2-3, 39 pts, .591
#5 Pacific Division                    #2 Pacific Division

January 12th at 9:00 PM CST
Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA

(credit: Texas Stars)

Beginning with the first of a weekend pair against the Stockton Heat, the Texas Stars are looking to rebound after their 2-1 overtime loss to the Bakersfield Condors on Wednesday night--a tough start to their six-game road trip. As a matter of fact, everything has been tough for these Stars lately, evidenced by their putrid 2-4-4 record in their last 10 games.

Their are a couple of bright spots to look to for solace. First, the Stars are completely healthy for the first time in a while. Outside of Thursday's acquisition of depth defenseman Michael Paliotta, they will have their full compliment of players available, including the increasingly important third leading scorer Brian Flynn (21 pts).

The other reason for optimism is the timing in which they are playing the Stockton Heat. Though the Heat sit in second place in the Pacific division, they haven't exactly been lighting it up either with a an equally piteous record in their last 10 (3-4-2-1). These games take on another layer of importance with the Stars having a chance to put a dent in the win percentage of a division foe while they try to play catch-up.

To help their cause, the Heat's two high scoring horses, Andrew Mangiapane (33 pts) and Marek Hrivik (29 pts), are currently bolstering the depth of the parent club Calgary Flames. It'll be interesting to see who carries the offensive load for the Heat. Landon Bow likely draws the start after being spelled by Mike McKenna on Wednesday night. In the opposite crease will be John Gillies (.918 SV%).

The puck drops at 9:00 PM CST.

Stars injury/call up report:

Heat Web Resources
Twitter: @AHLHeat

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Stars Trade for Defenseman Michael Paliotta from Marlies

(credit: Hartford Wolf Pack)

The Texas Stars made a trade on Thursday to acquire defenseman Michael Paliotta from the Toronto Marlies to shore up their defenseman depth and perhaps help with their 28th ranked penalty kill. In exchange, the Stars will grant the Marlies future considerations.

Paliotta will be listed on the team roster for Friday night's game against the Stockton Heat, but no release has been given on when he'll be available to play.

Here is the official release via the Texas Stars:
The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Thursday the team has acquired defenseman Michael Paliotta from the Toronto Marlies in exchange for future considerations. 
Paliotta, 24, has appeared in eight games this season for the Marlies. The 6-foot-3, 206-pound defenseman has appeared in 128 AHL games in his career with Toronto, the Lake Erie Monsters and Hartford Wolfpack with 37 points (9-28=37). The Westport, Conn. Native has also appeared in two NHL games in his career, one with the Chicago Blackhawks and one with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  
Paliotta (PAL-ee-oh-tuh) played four years at the University of Vermont from 2011-2015. He is a former third-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (70th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Condors Break Through in Overtime, Top Texas 2-1

(Credit: Bakersfield Condors)
Texas struck early to go ahead but the Condors stormed back in the third period and overtime to win 2-1 tonight in Bakersfield. The game started a six-game road trip for the Stars, who continue on to Stockton for a weekend pair.

Denis Gurianov was the lone goal scorer for the Stars, a backhand tally just five minutes into the contest. Mike McKenna halted all he saw until the third when Josh Currie beat him with a shot that went off the goalie's skate and in. Iiro Pakarinen scored in overtime on a wrister to collect the first overtime win of the season for the Condors.

McKenna stopped 36 of 38 shots against while Laurent Brossoit stopped 22 of 23 Texas shots. The loss keeps Texas in fifth place in the Pacific.

The Stars return to action in Stockton on Friday.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rallo, McNeill, Hanna, Laberge (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 3,039.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Bakersfield - January 10 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Bakersfield Condors

Texas Stars
19-14-3-1, 42 pts, 0.568
#5 Pacific Division
atBakersfield Condors
14-13-6-0, 34 pts, 0.515
#8 Pacific Division
January 10th at 8:30 PM
Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, CA

The Stars get a chance at the rubber match with the Condors tonight. After winning in OT on Friday and laying an egg on Saturday, this contest is a good one to kick off the road trip right and get Texas's mojo back. The Stars have lost seven of their last ten games, earning just under half as many points as were available thanks largely to OT losses.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
While it's not an excuse, you have to comment on the overall strength of the division. The last place team in an 8-team division has a record above 0.500. Texas, which is in 5th place in the Pacific, is currently clipping along at a rate that would have put them in the playoffs in all but one of the four divisions last season.

Things have to improve for Texas in a lot of places to break the pattern. The Stars need to take fewer penalties, especially poorly timed ones. When they do take penalties, they need to kill them off. They have the second worst PK in the league right now, saved by being just 0.2% ahead of the Belleville Senators. The power play must improve as well. The good news there is twofold. First, Brian Flynn is expected to return to the lineup tonight. He's only missed five games, but the Stars have won just one of those games without him. His power play "calming presence," as Laxdal calls it, will surely improve their success rate. Secondly, Texas is better on the road right now than at home with the man-advantage. Part of this might be the fact that Texas was buzzing on the power play last time they went on a road trip and had misses at home, but the Stars will take positives where they can get them.

Stars injury/call up report:
Flynn (injury, probable)

Condors Web Resources:
Blog (Official): Inside the Condors
Twitter: @Condors
Twitter: @CondorsHolty (PBP)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Texas Stars Assign Max French to ECHL Idaho Steelheads

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars have sent Max French to the ECHL this afternoon ahead of their road trip to California and points beyond. The rookie forward played a signle game in Idaho to start the season, taking two penalties and recording seven shots.

This is the best sign yet that Brian Flynn will return to the lineup after a long absence on Wednesday. Flynn last played on December 27th, missing five games.

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

French, 25, has appeared in 25 games this season for Texas and tallied six points (3-3=6). The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward is currently in his rookie season after finishing a four-year career at Bentley University (NCAA). The West Kelowna, British Columbia native scored his first career goal on Nov. 8 in a 6-2 win at San Diego. He was signed to an AHL contract with the Stars over the summer.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Quick Look at How 3-2-1 Points System Would Affect the AHL Today

(Credit: Texas Stars)
I noticed a thread on Twitter this afternoon discussing the NHL's dwindling chances of moving to a 3-2-1 system for awarding points after 60 minutes.*

It gave me the inspiration to take a look at the AHL standings as of today if there were a 3-2-1 point system. It's also a good time for this as we're approximately halfway through the season.

The headline is that not all that much changes in the vast majority of cases. Here's the chart. Click to zoom.

You'll also notice that the Stars, with their ten OTW/SOWs, fair the worst of all teams in this reshuffle. Also interesting, this change doesn't drop anyone out of playoff contention.

* - In the current system, a win of any kind is worth 2 points and a loss in overtime or shootout is worth one. In a 3-2-1 system, a regulation win is worth 3 points, an overtime or shootout win is worth just two points, and a loss in overtime or the shootout is worth one. In all cases, regulation losses are worth zero points.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Condors Score Four Unanswered, Hand Texas Stars 'Most Disappointing Loss of the Season'

Bakersfield scores shorthanded (Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
To end the first period, the H-E-B Center was electric. In the span of 16 seconds, the Texas Stars had scored twice and led 2-0 after twenty. It would be the last bit of joy on the evening for near-capacity crowd in Cedar Park.

"Of all our losses this year, that's probably the most disappointing one," said Stars' captain Curtis McKenzie. "That's a game that we have a chance to close out, in the third period up by a goal at home. We just have to find a way to clamp down."

Things fell apart rapidly for Texas late in the second period and into the third as Bakersfield pushed back with a three-goal scoring binge in just over eight elapsed minutes of game time to go ahead and ultimately win the contest 4-2.

"I thought we got really tired in the second and third," added Coach Laxdal. "I didn't like the energy of our group today. It's tough to have a big crowd in the building and lay an egg like that."

The disappointment was palpable in the tone and sombre mood of the normally chipper captain, who echoed that the team was "pretty frustrated with themselves right now in the room."

The game, as previously mentioned, started out positively as Texas bombed shots on Nick Ellis throughout the first but didn't score until their final two of the frame. Curtis McKenzie knocked one in from his knees as the Condors had just crosschecked him there and were about to be shorthanded for it. On the ensuing faceoff, Austin Fyten came down with speed to beat Ellis again to make it 2-0.

"Our fourth line has been our best line the last three games," commented Laxdal, while also positing that that fact might not be the best for the overall health of the club. "We're going to have to look in the mirror here and pick ourselves up."

Bakersfield counterpunched in the second, outshooting the Stars 15-9 and scoring a power play goal. All-Star Ty Rattie found twine with 21 seconds left in the period to make it a 2-1 game.

"We didn't give ourselves a chance to build any momentum off our power plays," noted Laxdal. "And then we gave up a power play goal there and that started the ball rolling." He hesitated to call it mental tiredness though, as Bakersfield has played the same three-in-four schedule as Texas has.

Texas's power play gave up a shorthanded goal to start the third and that broke the dike. Two minutes later, the Condors netted the ultimate game winner. Texas had a chance on the 6-on-5, which had scored the previous night but couldn't make it past Ellis despite solid zone time and high quality shots over a full 2:30 of empty net time. An errant pass ended up on the stick of Josh Currie, who fed Iiro Pakarinen for an empty net goal to ice it.

"We did a good job getting pucks to the net," said McKenzie, whose club put a season-high 40 shots on Ellis. "But in the third period, it's the sort of game you have to be desperate to win. It's one where we shouldn't be sitting back. We have to keep going after them."

The Stars will have another crack at the Condors in Bakersfield on Wednesday to start a ten-day, six-game road trip.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Flynn (injury)
McNeill, Hanna, French, Laberge (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 6,156.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Bakersfield - January 6 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Bakersfield Condors

           Texas Stars                     Bakersfield Condors
  19-13-3-1, 40 pts, 0.571      v.     13-13-6-0, 31 pts, 0.500
#4 Pacific Division                    #8 Pacific Division

January 6th at 7:00 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Late game heroics gave Texas the win last night against the Condors. With the two points, Texas held on to fourth place in the division. A loss would have dropped them out of the race.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Texas will get Jason Dickinson back into the lineup tonight and could see Brian Flynn return as well. Coach Derek Laxdal noted that Flynn will play in either tonight game or Wednesday at Bakersfield.

One thing to watch out for tonight is Ty Rattie. The All-Star forward was kept off the scoresheet last night, but the Condors were repeatedly looking to set him up on the power play at the left wing circle. You have to guess that he breaks through tonight.

Stars injury/call up report:
Flynn (injury)

Condors Web Resources:
Blog (official): Inside the Condors
Twitter: @Condors
Twitter: @CondorsHolty (PBP)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Curtis McKenzie Breaks Stars Slump With Two Goals in 3-2 OT Win Over Condors

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Curtis McKenzie, the Stars captain and recently named AHL All-Star, put the Texas Stars on his back in the third period and overtime helping his team defeat the Bakersfield Condors 3-2.

McKenzie weighed in after the game: "Great win by the team there. Before the game we talked about playing a 60 minute game. I thought we had a really good second period, and it took all 60 plus minutes. The guys stuck with it and played hard all night."

Texas went 0-for-5 on the power play against a vulnerable 23rd ranked Bakersfield penalty kill unit, including a 4-on-3. Their woeful penalty kill play also made an appearance at the worst of times--when the game was tied at one with seven minutes left in the game. Though they had killed of four consecutive penalties in the game, helped largely by McKenzie, their first unit failed to clear the zone for over a minute.

Iiro Pakarinen cashed in short side to pull the Condors ahead by one, almost edging the Stars and sending them down a couple of spots in the division standings. The captain wouldn't allow them to go quietly, scoring the game tying goal when the Stars emptied their net, and later the game winner in the overtime frame.

Landon Bow drew the start and was forced to make two impressive, sprawling saves in the early going. The first and most noticeable came against the Condors' All-Star Ty Rattie as he had a breakaway opportunity. Bow had to lay out and catch a puck that seemed to dangle and spin for seconds in mid-air. He finished the game with 30 saves on 32 shots.

The Stars lost control of a first period they once had pretty buckled down defensively, only allowing 5 shots through the first fifteen minutes, until the Condors turned it on with five quick shots on net in the last five. The last came with 13 seconds left and Bow lost a clean sheet as Brad Malone got one past him with the backhand.

Sheldon Dries was swapped with Justin Dowling to put him at center with Denis Gurianov and Greg Rallo on the wing, and the decision almost worked when Dries nearly pushed a slow rolling puck in past Eddie Pasquale. The small tweak in the lines did eventually pay off, but for Dowling's line.

Coach Laxdal explained his lineup tweak after the game. "Tommy [Thompson] played really well last game for us and I wanted to give him a reward and he ended up generating a goal. I like his skill set and patience with the puck. I put a little bit more speed and skill."

Pasquale (32 saves on 35 shots) was stalwart, allowing the first goal after 23 shots when Thompson went weak side and tipped in a good cross crease pass from Dowling to tie the game at one. It was Thompson's second AHL goal, the first coming a week ago. The goal seemed to change the tenor of the matchup from a slog to one that could potentially be a boon to getting back on track.

Thompson was complimentary of Dowling's game. "[Dowling's] a great player, so whoever he plays with gets a little better. He just made a great play tonight and I was lucky enough to get my stick on it."

Dowling later had a breakaway chance to pull the Stars ahead but couldn't find the five hole he was looking for, and Thompson's follow-up on the rebound was snuffed out. The Stars later took an ill-timed interference penalty which led to Pakarinen's goal.

The Stars went 6-on-5 with Bow headed to the bench with two minutes to go, and McKenzie brought the fans out of their seats with the game-tying goal.

McKenzie described the play, "We had a 6-on-5 last game and we didn't get quite as much to the net as we wanted to so I was down there trying to put it in. It went off a guy and I was lucky to get a piece of it there. We just wanted to get pucks to the net and crash the net and get in the goalie's eyes because he made some incredible saves all night."

Coach Laxdal was initially apprehensive, saying, "I was a little afraid at 6-on-5 there because we didn't want to shoot the puck tonight on the power play. We just wanted to pass it around the perimeter. We got the shot on the 6-on-5 and got a redirect to get the goal."

McKenzie capped off his night by scoring in overtime and helping his team break their recent slump. "They missed the net on the shot and [Travis Morin] had quick boots to get up ice. But I didn't really realize how close the guy was behind me so Mo made a nice drop pass to me and that's when I realized the guys was right there. So I got it off quick and the rebound came back to me, so I tried to chip it up top corner. I had to get the 60 degree wedge out to get that one."

The Texas Stars will see the Bakersfield Condors again on Saturday, 7 PM CST in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Dickinson, Hanna, French, McNeill (scratch)
Flynn (injury)

Tonight's attendance was 4,241.

Brian Flynn is likely to return tomorrow for Texas. If not tomorrow, Laxdal notes he's definitely in on Wednesday.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. Bakersfield - January 5 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Bakersfield Condors

           Texas Stars                     Bakersfield Condors
  18-13-3-1, 40 pts, .571      v.     13-13-5-0, 31 pts, .500
#4 Pacific Division                    #8 Pacific Division

January 5th at 7:30 PM CST
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

(Credit Texas Stars)
UPDATE: Jason Dickinson has been reassigned to the Texas Stars. He is not expected to play tonight.

A game against a last place divisional foe is a good opportunity for the Texas Stars to clean their wounds that inevitably occur as a result of losing four straight. On Friday evening, the Texas Stars will square off against the Bakersfield Condors--a team they defeated the last time they played in Cedar Park on grounds of an overtime goal from Sheldon Dries. The Stars would do well to avoid unnecessary penalties, which dismantled them on Wednesday evening against the San Diego Gulls as they gave up three power play goals. It was enough to drop them to dead last in ranking on the penalty kill.

AHL All-Star Ty Rattie leads the Condors with 22 points and five power play goals. Their power play sits at the middle of the pack at 17, but the Stars can perhaps make some hay against their 23rd ranked penalty kill unit. Goaltenders Eddie Pasquale and Nick Ellis have basically split time in the net evenly, and it's unclear who will draw the start. Bakersfield is coming off a 4-0 waxing of the Rampage in San Antonio on Wednesday.

The good news for the Stars is that they did get some measure of reinforcements in Wednesday's game. Brent Regner, Justin Dowling, and Nicklas Hansson were all healthy enough to play. They will have to continue to heal as it appears that Jason Dickinson will be up in Dallas indefinitely as a few of their forwards are on the mend. Texas's third leading scorer Brian Flynn (21 points) is out with an injury, but he could be back tonight, if Coach Laxdal's hopeful prediction from Wednesday comes true. Stars captain Curtis McKenzie was also named an All-Star himself, and he will have to carry the pail and live up to his billing if the Stars are going to get their once promising season back on track.

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

Condors Web Resources:
Blog (official): Inside the Condors
Twitter: @Condors
Twitter: @CondorsHolty (PBP)