Stars News

Game Preview: Oklahoma City Barons at Texas Stars 10.09.11
Game Preview: Oklahoma City Barons at Texas Stars 10.09.11
Oklahoma City Barons (0-0-0-0, 0 points) at Texas Stars (0-0-0-0, 0 points)

The Texas Stars and the Oklahoma City Barons open their 2011-12 American Hockey League seasons. Texas enters its third year in the AHL, while Oklahoma City embarks on its second. The Stars and Barons will meet a total of ten times this season, including five games at Cedar Park Center. This coming Saturday, Texas will help Oklahoma City celebrate its home opener.

Sunday’s game marks the 11th all-time meeting between the two teams after Texas took the season series with a 6-3-0-1 record in 2010-11. The Stars are 3-1-0-1 all-time in games at home against the Barons at Cedar Park Center. Dating back to 2010-11, Texas is winless in its last three games (0-2-0-1) against Oklahoma City. The Barons have outscored the Stars 7-2 over that span.

The Stars are 1-1-0-0 in season openers and have a 2-0-0-0 mark in home openers. Texas will open the season on home ice for the first time in team history. Each of the previous two years, Texas opened up the regular season in San Antonio. The first two home openers have produced dramatic overtime victories over the Rampage. The Stars were 22-12-3-3 on home ice in 2010-11 and they are 46-25-4-5 (.631) all-time. The Barons posted a 22-13-0-5 record on the road in their first year in the AHL.

Texas Stars Opening Night Roster
The Texas Stars announced on Thursday the club’s Opening Day roster for the 2011-12 American Hockey League season.

Goalies: Forwards:
Richard Bachman Tyler Arnason
Tyler Beskorowany Matt Fraser
Ryan Garbutt
Defense: Luke Gazdic
Jordie Benn Eric Godard
Jace Coyle Mike Hedden
Brenden Dillon Travis Morin
Maxime Fortunus Ondrej Roman
Hubert Labrie Raymond Sawada
Brad Lukowich Colton Sceviour
Dan Spang Stephen Schultz
Mathieu Tousignant
Francis Wathier
The 22-man roster is composed of two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. Of the 22 players listed, nine of them are going into their third season with the club. The roster also features seven rookies and seven Dallas Stars draft picks.

A New Era Begins in Texas
When the Dallas Stars promoted Texas Stars Head Coach Glen Gulutzan to become the head coach of the NHL club, the Texas Stars were guaranteed a new beginning. Gulutzan picked up his first NHL coaching victory on Friday when the Dallas Stars defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 at American Airlines Center. With his departure comes the addition of new Texas Stars head coach Jeff Pyle from the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL. Pyle enters his first season as a head coach in the AHL.

During his time with Gwinnett, Pyle posted a 309-210-57 record. He guided the Gladiators to the 2006 Kelly Cup Finals in his best season as head coach with a 50-15-7 record (.743), which also marked only the ninth time in the ECHL's 24-year history that a team achieved 50 wins. The Gladiators also compiled five straight 40-win seasons from 2003-08 with Pyle at the helm. Gwinnett qualified for the playoffs in six of Pyle’s eight seasons. Overall, his teams qualified for the playoffs nine out of 12 years in the ECHL.

He is tied for the ECHL record with Gulutzan, making three ECHL All-Star appearances behind the bench. Pyle sits in the top five for best coaching marks in the ECHL, including regular season wins (446, 3rd), seasons coached (12, 3rd), regular season games coached (860, 3rd), playoff appearances (9, 3rd) and playoff games coached (72, 5th). In 2006-07, his Gladiators set an ECHL record by scoring 120 power-play goals in one season. The season before, his squad turned in the third highest total in one season by notching 114 power-play tallies. In 2004-05, Gwinnett’s penalty kill set an ECHL record by allowing the fewest power-play goals in one season.

Assistant Coach Paul Jerrard was also promoted by Dallas from Texas with Gulutzan. He was replaced by San Antonio Rampage Assistant Coach Jeff Truitt. Truitt brings a wealth of hockey experience to Texas, joining newly appointed Head Coach Jeff Pyle behind the Stars bench. He comes to the Stars after spending the 2010-11 season as an assistant coach with San Antonio, helping the Rampage post its best record in four seasons (40-33-4-5, 87 points). In 2009-10, he served as the Director of Hockey Operations for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Warriors finished with a 33-27-0-12 mark and made an appearance in the 2010 WHL Playoffs. Prior to his time in Moose Jaw, Truitt spent two seasons coaching in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons. Truitt was the Falcons’ assistant coach in 2007-08 and then took over as the head coach in 2008-09. Truitt’s team posted a 16-27-6-1 mark in 50 games.

Third Times a Charm
Nine players return to the Texas Stars for their third season with the club. Forwards Luke Gazdic, Colton Sceviour, Raymond Sawada, Travis Morin, Francis Wathier and Mathieu Tousignant return for another season with the club. Defenseman Brad Lukowich and Maxime Fortunus are also back to lead the defense. Goalie Richard Bachman is also back for his third campaign in Cedar Park.

Sceviour is the team’s all-time leader for games played, having missed only three of the team’s 160 total games. He missed games making his NHL debut for Dallas in February of 2011. He is fifth all time with 25 goals and he ranks fourth with 47 assists. He also is fifth with 72 points after posting career highs in 2010-11.

Morin and Wathier are tied for fourth on the team’s games played list with 144 games played. Morin, the club’s all-time assist leader with 55, needs one point to tie for the team record of 98 total points set by Greg Rallo (09-11). He is poised to become the first Texas Star to post 100 points with the team. Wathier is fourth all-time in points (75) and goals (38), and third in penalty minutes (179).

Gazdic is the team’s all-time leader in penalty minutes, as well as major penalties. The third-year pro amassed 265 penalty minutes and 39 major penalties over 121 games in two years. He set career highs with nine goals and 17 points in 72 games last season. Sawada is also coming off a career year, where he yielded 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 57 games played. Tousignant returns after posting career highs in goals (10), assists (13) and points (23) in 78 games played. Tousignant led Texas with 120 minutes in penalties last year.

Veteran defenseman Maxime Fortunus and Captain Brad Lukowich are both back to lead a defensive unit that has ranked in the top ten each of the last two seasons. Lukowich posted career numbers with 27 points in 67 games played with Texas. The two-time Stanley Cup Champ served as team captain in 2010-11. Fortunus is the Stars all-time leader for games, assists and points by a defenseman.

Goalie Richard Bachman set five teams records last season including wins, shutouts, saves, minutes played and appearances. The third-year pro is the Stars all-time leader in most goalie categories. Bachman is 32-23-5 all-time in 63 appearances with Texas. He has played 3,637 minutes, posting a 2.19 goals against average and a .927 save percentage with seven shutouts.

Returning Stars
Numerous other Stars skaters are returning for another tour of duty with Texas. Defenseman Dan Spang is back for his second season with the team, after setting the team mark for power-play assists in one season (18). Spang had one of the best offensive outputs for a blueliner in team history with 37 points in 77 games... After joining the team for the final ten games of the regular season and the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, Brenden Dillon (D) enters his first full season as a pro. He posted 59 points in his final junior year…Jordie Benn played his first full season in the AHL in 2010-11 with 12 points in 60 games…Winger Ondrej Roman returns for his second pro season after putting up 22 points in 72 games played as a rookie… Forward Stephen Schultz joined the Stars at the end of the regular season in March of 2011. He enters his first full pro season after posting 45 points at Colorado College in 2010-11… Goalie Tyler Beskorowany looks to improve on his first season. The netminder posted a 7-8-1 record with a 2.58 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 18 games with Texas in 10-11.

New Faces
Veteran center Tyler Arnason joins the Stars for the 2011-12 season. The former AHL rookie of the year (2001-02 Norfolk) is an 11th year pro with over 500 games of NHL experience between Chicago, Ottawa and Colorado. Arnason posted 15 points in 18 games while playing in Switzerland in 2010-11… Veteran winger Eric Godard joins Texas on assignment from Dallas. Godard spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, picking up three assists and 110 penalty minutes over 19 games. The 12th year pro has seen action in over 300 NHL games and nearly 300 AHL games. He has 1,780 career penalty minutes in 615 career pro games…Center Ryan Garbutt joins Texas after scoring 19 goals and racking up 37 points in 65 games with the Chicago Wolves. Garbutt led the team with a +27 and was third with 118 penalty minutes…Rookie forward Matt Fraser had 36 goals in 66 games with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice last year. He followed up with 17 more in 19 playoff games… Forward Mike Hedden, who spent most of the 2010-11 season with Toledo (ECHL), is looking to play his first full season in the AHL…Rookie defensemen Jace Coyle and Hubert Labrie both turn pro after stellar junior careers. Coyle put up 28 points in 49 WHL games with Medicine Hat. Labrie missed a good chunk of the regular season in Gatineau with an injury. In nine games, Labrie posted seven points.

What’s Ahead:

Friday, October 14 vs. Houston 7:30 PM 104.9 FM or 92.5 FM
Saturday, October 15 at Oklahoma City 7:00 PM 104.9 FM
Thursday, October 20 vs. San Antonio 7:30 PM 104.9 FM
Saturday, October 22 vs. Peoria 7:00 PM 104.9 FM or 92.5 FM
Tuesday, October 25 at Rockford 7:05 PM 104.9 FM
* All times listed are central time
The Oklahoma City Barons
The Barons have experienced a fair share of roster turnover over the offseason. The top three leading scorers from last year have moved on. Leading scorer Alexandre Giroux (78 points in 70 games) bolted for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Second leading scorer Brad Moran (72 points in 72 games) left for Europe. Finally, Bill MacDonald, who led the AHL in goals scored with 42, departed for the Pittsburgh Penguins system.

The Barons return Teem Hartikainen and Milan Kytnar after their rookie campaigns last year. Hartikainen was fifth on the team with 17 goals and Kyntar finished with 13 tallies. Ryan O’Marra, a former first round pick of New York Islanders (15th overall in 05), split last season between Edmonton and Oklahoma City. O’Marra had 22 points in 53 games with the Barons, including 20 assists.

Defenseman Bryan Helmer is also back for his second season with the Barons. Helmer is a three-time Calder Cup Champion (Hershey 09 and 10, Albany 95). He is a veteran of 19 pro seasons and is the AHL’s all-time leader in playoff games played and games played by a defenseman. His 538 AHL points heading into tonight’s game are the highest in league history for a blueliner.

Ryan Keller and Josh Green were added by Oklahoma City. Keller Captained the Binghamton Senators to the 2011 Calder Cup. The veteran right wing was second in playoff scoring with 23 points. He tallied 32 goals in the regular season. Green has played in over 300 NHL games with Edmonton, New York (Rangers and Islanders), Calgary, Washington, Vancouver and the Los Angeles Kings. He is in his 16th pro season. Rookies Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton are second round picks in 2010 that have turned pro this year.

Two veteran tenders, Yann Danis and David LeNeveu man the net for the Barons. Danis is an eighth year pro who won a Calder Cup with Hamilton in 2007. He was 8-17-3 with a 3.05 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 31 games last year in the KHL. LeNeveu is in his 9th year. He has appeared in 278 AHL games with Springfield, Iowa, Hartford, San Antonio and Utah.
Posted on 10/09/11

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