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Stars News

Game Preview 10.22.11
Game Preview 10.22.11
Peoria Rivermen (1-3-0-1, 3 points) at Texas Stars (1-3-0-0, 2 points)

The Texas Stars and the Rivermen meet for the first time this season. This marks the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams that will play a total of four games this season. Texas will play at Peoria next Thursday in the second meeting of the year. The Rivermen return to the Cedar Park Center for the final time this season on January 20th. Peoria took the season series last year, going 4-2-0-0 against the Stars. The Rivermen lead the all-time series with an 8-5-0-1 record versus the Stars. Texas is 2-4-0-0 all-time at home against Peoria.

The Stars are coming off a 4-3 defeat at home to San Antonio on Thursday night. Texas is winless in the last three games, getting outscored 19-6 over that span. So far this season, the Stars are 1-2-0-0 at home. At 1-3-0-0, the Stars sit two games under .500 for the first time in team history.

Peoria had a rough start to the season, going 0-3-0-1 prior to Friday night’s 5-0 win in San Antonio. The Rivermen are in the middle of a rough stretch of three games in three nights. Peoria played in San Antonio on Friday night and will host Chicago at Craver Arena on Sunday evening. The Rivermen are 1-1-0-1 on the road this season, outscoring their opponents 9-7 in three road games.

Road Trip
The Texas Stars embark on one of the longest road trips of the season starting this Tuesday night in Rockford, Ill., at 7:05 p.m. After a meeting with the IceHogs, the Stars will head to Peoria, Ill. The Stars will play the Rivermen on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Texas will head north from Peoria for a Saturday night game at Allstate Arena against Chicago. Sunday after noon the Stars will be in Milwaukee to take on the Admirals in a 3:00 p.m. faceoff. It will mark the first time the Stars have been to the Bradley Center since their 3-2 double-overtime loss in Game 6 of the 2011 West Division Semifinals. Aside from Peoria, the Stars will get their first look of the season at Rockford, Chicago and Milwaukee. The four-game swing spans six days and stretches over 2,911 miles. The four-game trip matches a similar four-game roadie in mid-January as the longest road trip of the season.

What’s Ahead:

DATE OPPONENT TIME RADIO
Tuesday, October 25 at Rockford 7:05 PM 104.9 FM
Thursday, October 27 at Peoria 7:00 PM 92.5 FM
Saturday, October 29 at Chicago 7:00 PM 92.5 FM
Sunday, October 30 at Milwaukee 3:00 PM 92.5 FM
Thursday, November 3 vs. Toronto 7:30 PM 104.9 FM
*All times listed are central time
LAST THREE GAMES
San Antonio 4 at Texas 3 10/20/11
The Texas Stars were defeated by the San Antonio Rampage 4-3 in front of 3,758 fans on Thursday night at the Cedar Park Center. San Antonio’s Colby Robak sent the puck past Stars goalie Richard Bachman with 1:48 left in regulation, propelling the Rampage past the Stars 4-3. The Stars erased a two-goal deficit in the third period with goals by Tomas Vincour and Travis Morin. Vincour finished with two goals on the evening. Defenseman Brad Lukowich registered an assist in his 100th game with Texas. Rampage right wing Michal Repik registered a goal and an assist, while center Angelo Esposito had two assists. Texas goalie Richard Bachman stopped 15 of 19 shots in the loss. San Antonio goalie Brian Foster stopped 36 of 39 shots for the win.

Texas 1 at Oklahoma City 10 10/15/11
The Texas Stars were defeated by the Oklahoma City Barons 10-1 in front of 5,554 fans on Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center. Barons’ winger Ryan Keller led the charge with two goals and two assists, as Oklahoma City enjoyed multi-point nights from ten different skaters. The Barons offense posted three goals in the first period and six more in the second period to take a nine-goal lead through two periods of play. The loss takes Texas below .500 for the first time since the team dropped the first game in team history on Friday, October 2nd, 2009. Left wing Francis Wathier scored the team’s lone goal. Stars goalie Tyler Beskorowany gave up five goals on 20 shots in 43:12 of work, while Richard Bachman surrendered five goals on 13 shots in 16:48 of play. Barons’ goalie Yann Danis won his first game of the year with 27 saves.

Houston 5 at Texas 2 10/14/11
The Texas Stars were defeated by the Houston Aeros 5-2 in front of 5,361 fans on Friday night at Cedar Park Center. Texas center Travis Morin posted his 100th career point with Texas, surpassing the previous team record of 98 points set by Greg Rallo. Morin registered an assist on both Texas power-play goals. Stars’ right wing Ray Sawada had a multi-point night with a goal and assist. Defenseman Brenden Dillon also netted a goal for the Stars. Houston center David McIntyre scored twice, while right wing Jed Ortmeyer notched a goal and an assist. Texas goalie Richard Bachman stopped 26 of 30 shots faced in the loss. Houston goalie Matt Hackett stopped 34 of 36 shots for the victory.

Texas Stars
Defenseman Dan Spang leads Texas in scoring with five points and a team-high four assists in four games. Rookie defenseman Brenden Dillon is tied for second in team scoring with center Travis Morin. Both players have a goal and three assists for four points in four games. Second-year Stars Tomas Vincour and rookie Matt Fraser are tied for the team lead in goals with two. Forward Mathieu Tousignant leads the team in penalty minutes with 14, while Luke Gazdic comes in second with nine minutes.

Dillon and Spang rank among the highest scoring defensemen in the AHL. Spang is tied for second in points by a defender and he sits tied for third in assists. Dillon is tied for fourth among all blueliners in points.

October 22nd … This Date in Stars History
Texas has played once on this day in team history, a win at home on Friday, October 22nd, 2010. The Texas Stars defeated the Lake Erie Monsters in front of 4,014 fans at Cedar Park Center. Stars left wing Francis Wathier scored the game-winning goal with 41 seconds remaining in regulation. Texas right wing Colton Sceviour notched his first goal of the season on a penalty shot, tying the game with 3:41 left in the third period. Both goalies carried shutouts into the final period in a classic defensive battle. Texas goalie Brent Krahn stopped 33 Lake Erie shots for the victory. Lake Erie goalie Jason Bacashihua made 31 saves in the defeat. Stars rookie forward Sean Backman scored his first pro goal in the win.

Good Starts
Texas started the 2010-11 season with a 6-4-0-0 record in the first ten games played. Texas had a 3-3-0-0 record at home and a 3-1-0-0 record on the road to begin the season. In its inaugural season, Texas posted a 6-2-0-2 record in the first ten games played. The team also posted identical home and away records during that time, 3-1-0-1.

The Peoria Rivermen
Peoria returns roughly 17 players who spent time with the Rivermen last year. Peoria posted a 25-10-2-1 to start the season and finished with 42-30-3-5 (92 points) record. The Rivermen jumped past Texas on the final weekend of the 2010-11 regular season to finish third in the old West Division. Peoria was swept out of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs by Houston last April.

Jared Bednar returns for his second season as the bench boss of Peoria. He is one of only four coaches in the Western Conference who is not in the first year with their current club. Prior to coaching the Rivermen, Bednar was an assistant in Abbotsford for one season. He guided the South Carolina Stingrays to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Championship in 2009, a team that included Texas Stars center Travis Morin.

Peoria did have its fair share of player departures over the summer, including four of the team’s top six scorers. Right wing Graham Mink (50 points) returned to his former team in Hershey. Left wing Nicholas Drazenovic (46 points) was signed by Columbus and is now in Springfield. Defenseman Nathan Oystrick (45 points) was 12th in the AHL in points by a defenseman. He signed a contract with Phoenix and was assigned to Portland. Forward David Spina (38 points) signed in Germany.

2010-11 leading scorer T.J. Hensick is back for his second season with Peoria. The center led the team with 48 assists and 69 points in only 59 games played. He finished tenth overall in the AHL scoring and was tied for fifth in the league in helpers. Left wing Derek Nesbitt enjoyed a breakthrough season in the AHL with Peoria last season. He scored 17 goals and totaled 42 points in 55 games for the Rivermen. Nesbitt played for Texas Stars coach Jeff Pyle in Gwinnett (ECHL). He played in three different seasons from 2005-11.

Numerous key players return from last year. Right wing Adam Cracknell made his NHL debut with St. Louis last season and stuck around long enough to play in 24 games with the Blues. He played for former Stars coach Glen Gulutzan (Dallas) in Las Vegas from 2006-08. Phil McRae also returns after a successful rookie season. McRae had 12 goals and 26 points in 46 games last year. Four of the top five penalty minute leaders are also back from last year. Defenseman Brennan Evans (113), defensemen Mark Cundari, forward Stefan Della Rovere (110) and right wing Anthony Peluso (102) each returned for another season in Peoria. Evans scored three goals in 66 games last season, all of them in one game against Texas on February 23, 2011. It was his first career hat trick and first career multi-goal game in nine pro seasons. Also returning on the blueline is former first-round pick of St. Louis (#18 overall in 2007), defender Ian Cole. Cole played 44 games in Peoria and 26 with St. Louis. Forwards Brett Sonne, Tyler Shattock, Jay Barriball are also back for another tour with the Rivermen.

Peoria made several additions through signings by the St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the Rivermen. Right wing Jonathan Cheechoo was signed by St. Louis in the offseason. He spent most of the 2010-11 season in Worcester, scoring 18 goals and adding 29 assists for a total of 47 points in 55 games played. Cheechoo led the NHL with 56 goals and 93 points in 82 games played. Left wing Brett Sterling has experienced goal scoring success in the AHL. In 2006-07, he tallied 55 with Chicago. Last year he scored 27 and totaled 53 points in 65 games for Wilkes-Barre. Veteran defenseman Danny Syvret was signed out of Philadelphia’s system. In 335 career AHL games, the 26-year old has 138 assists and totaled 171 points. He was an AHL First Team All Star in 2008-09 after posting 57 points in 76 games with Philadelphia (AHL).

The St. Louis Blues also signed and sent forward Kyle Hagel to Peoria. Hagel spent the bulk of last season in Rockford, where he pyled up 245 penalty minutes in 77 games. He also tied for the AHL lead in major penalties. The Rivermen carry a three rookies with right wing Chase Polacek, as well as defenders Brett Ponich and Cade Fairchild. Polacek turns pro after 160 points in 154 NCAA games at R.P.I. Ponich is a second round pick (#48 overall) of St. Louis in 2009. He played for Portland of the WHL last year. Fairlchild was a fourth round pick of the Blues in 2007 (#96 overall). The 22-year old spent the last four years at the University of Minnesota.

Jake Allen and Ben Bishop both return to the crease for Peoria. Allen enjoyed a successful rookie campaign that placed him among the league leaders. The second round pick of St. Louis in 2008 (#34 overall), posted a 25-19-3 record with a 2.52 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. He was named to the Western Conference All-Star team. Bishop is in his fourth full season in Peoria. He was a third round pick in 2005 (#85 overall) for the Blues. Bishop is 57-51-8 in four years with the Rivermen. He carries a 2.71 goals against average and a .904 career save percentage. He was 3-4-0 in seven games with St. Louis last season. The 6-foot-7 goalie posted a 2,77 goals against average and a .900 save percentage with the Blues in 2010-11.
Posted on 10/22/11

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