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Texas Becomes First Western Conference Team to Clinch Playoff Spot
Texas Becomes First Western Conference Team to Clinch Playoff Spot

STARS WEEKLY (WEEK 27)
Stars Turn Attention to South Division, Western Conference Title Hunt

 
2012-13 Record: 40-19-5-6, 91 points (18-11-2-5 Home, 22-8-3-1 Road), First Place – South Division

 

Week 26 Recap:

After the dust settled from the tumultuous activity by the Dallas Stars around last week’s NHL trade deadline, Texas founds itself essentially holding a third training camp of the 2012-13 season. The Stars had 12 healthy defensemen in practice, the polar opposite of a month ago when the team was struggling to field a full complement of blue liners. Three new defenseman were in the lineup on Friday night, along with rookie forward Brett Ritchie, who was making his pro debut.  Ritchie and the Stars had a dream start against Oklahoma City, as the Dallas draft pick scored on his first pro shot just 2:06 into the first period. Just 61 seconds later Stanley Cup winner Mike Commodore also found the net in his Texas debut, scoring his first pro goal since November 22, 2010. The Barons were shell-shocked, but they escaped the first period without any further damage and regrouped to dominate the second period and cut into the lead. Trailing 2-1 going into the third period Philippe Cornet tied the game for the Barons with just under five minutes left in regulation and Tanner House stunned the Stars with 14.6 seconds on  the clock when his shot from the left wing took a deflection and got by Jack Campbell to win the game 3-2. It was the first time all season Texas lost a game in regulation when carrying the lead into the third period.

 

Perhaps even more gut wrenching, a similar scenario played out again on Saturday against Hamilton. Travis Morin gave Texas a 1-0 lead with a second period power play goal, but the Stars might have been disappointed not to have more on the scoreboard after out-shooting the Bulldogs 23-12 through the first two periods. Goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp was making his first start since suffering an injury against Abbotsford on March 13th and he carried a shutout for 53 minutes before Patrick Holland tied the game with 6:16 left. As if one heart-breaking last-second loss was not painful enough, Hamilton rookie Charles Hudon scored on a wrap-around rebound with 24.5 seconds left to shock Texas 2-1.


There was no such drama on Sunday as the Stars righted the ship with a dominating 5-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage at AT&T Center. Mike Hedden started off the scoring early in the first period with his 11th goal of the season. Garrett Wilson tied the game 2:27 into the second period, but the Stars responded with four unanswered goals. Only 1:21 later Toby Petersen scored a power play goal and Travis Morin made it 3-1 Texas. The Stars out-shot San Antonio 20-6 in the second period and defenseman Kevin Connauton assisted on both goals to record his first points in a Texas uniform. Reilly Smith scored early in the third period and four minutes later Mike Commodore made it 5-1 Stars with his second goal in as many games. Texas improved to 8-0-1-1 against San Antonio this season and will face the Rampage two more times over the next seven days. The win, coupled with a Chicago Wolves loss at Oklahoma City, meant that the Stars were the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot.

 

Week 27 Preview:

With their ticket already punched for the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Texas Stars now turn their attention on capturing a South Division title, the Western Conference regular season crown and possibly the AHL’s best overall record. With six games remaining, the Stars magic number to win the division stands at six points over the second place Charlotte Checkers. The Western Conference regular season championship will be more difficult to claim as the Stars hold a slim two point lead over the second place Toronto Marlies. The two teams both have six games left, although the Marlies (37) have two more regulation plus overtime wins (ROW) than Texas does (35). The Providence Bruins lead the AHL with 93 points, two ahead of the Stars, although the Bruins have 34 ROWs, which could give Texas the tiebreaker if the two teams finished the regular season with the same point totals.

 

With two weeks left in the regulars season the first place Stars hit the road for two games in Charlotte and one in San Antonio. Texas will fly to North Carolina on Wednesday and will battle with the Checkers on Thursday, April 11th and Friday, April 12th at Time Warner Cable Arena, with both games beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT. If the Stars were able to win both games they would clinch the South Division title. Texas will then fly from Charlotte to San Antonio on Saturday in preparations for another 3:30 p.m. battle with their I-35 rivals on Sunday, April 14th.


LW Reilly Smith (13-19-32) ranks fifth on the team in points and is on an eight-game point streak, with 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) and a +10 rating during that span. RW Colton Sceviour (18-29-47) leads the team in points, assists and shorthanded goals (4), he is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4), he ranks second in goals and plus-minus (+16) and he is currently on a four-game assist streak, with four assists during that span. C Justin Dowling (13-11-24) is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (4), is tied for third in goals and has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) and a +5 rating in his last five games. LW Mike Hedden (11-18-29) ranks seventh on the team in points and has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his last three games.

 

Week 27 Schedule:
(All games are broadcast LIVE over the Internet at www.TexasStarsHockey.com and the free Radio tab of www.ahllive.com and can be viewed via internet pay-per-view video on www.ahllive.com. All times listed in Central Time)


Thursday, April 11 – 6:00 p.m. – Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, NC

& Friday, April 12 – 6:00 p.m. – Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, NC
@ Charlotte Checkers (39-25-3-3, 84 pts.)
Second Place, South Division

 

• Team Notes: The Checkers enter the week sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference and have a narrow two-point lead over Houston in fifth and Rochester in sixth, although Charlotte has a significant lead in ROWs with 36, to the Aeros’ 31 and Americans’ 30. The Checkers’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to eight, but they are just 3-3-1-0 in their last seven games. Texas is 4-1-1-0 this season against the Checkers, who are 2-2-0-2 against the Stars. Charlotte will host Texas on Thursday and Friday and will finish the week on Saturday with a road game at Chicago. Stars center Taylor Vause (2-2-4) leads the team in points against the Checkers this season, while Charlotte captain Brett Sutter (1-4-5) leads his squad in points against Texas. If the Stars win both games this week at Time Warner Cable they will clinch the South Division title.

• Leading Scorer: Chris Terry (LW) – 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) and -1 in 64 GP.

• Leading Goaltender: Rob Madore (G) – 1.77 GAA, 0.950 save pct., 3-2-0, 1 SO in 6 GP.

• Who’s Hot: D Beau Schmitz (4-5-9) has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) and a +3 rating in his last five games. C Brett Sutter (16-24-40), ranks second on the team in points, tied for third in assists and fourth in goals and has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and a +3 rating in his last four games. LW Zach Boychuk (19-18-37) is tied for second on the team in goals, tied for fourth in points and has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and a +3 rating in his last four games.

 

Sunday, April 14 – 3:30 p.m. – AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX
@ San Antonio Rampage (29-33-2-6, 66 pts.)
Fifth Place, South Division

• Team Notes: Sunday’s matchup in San Antonio will be the second of three games between the Rampage and Stars in 10 days, all at AT&T Center. Texas is 8-0-1-1 this season against San Antonio, taking 18 of a possible 20 points, a 0.900 point percentage. Texas has an all-time regular season record of 27-11-2-4 against San Antonio. The Stars beat the Rampage 5-1 last Sunday, which mathematically eliminated San Antonio from the playoff race. Colton Sceviour (3-7-10) leads Texas in points against the Rampage, while Jon Rheault (2-4-6) leads San Antonio in scoring against the Stars. The Rampage will travel to Houston to face the Aeros on Thursday, April 11th and again on Saturday, April 13th before hosting Texas on Sunday afternoon. Heading into this week’s action San Antonio is 2-7-1-0 in its last ten games.

• Leading Scorer: Jon Rheault (RW) – 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) and -4 in 58 GP.

• Leading Goaltender: Dov Grumet-Morris (G) – 2.92 GAA, 0.910 save pct., 12-16-4, 2 SO in 35 GP.

• Who’s Hot: RW Jack Combs (11-14-25) has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) and a +4 rating in 12 games with San Antonio since being traded from Bridgeport; he has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and a +1 rating in his last four games. RW Jon Rheault (20-23-43) leads the team in goals and points, ranks second in assists and has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last seven games. C Greg Rallo (23-17-40) leads the team in goals, is tied for second in points and has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in his last two games.


Week 26 Game Results:

April 5, 2013 Oklahoma City 3 @ Texas 2
April 6, 2013 Hamilton 2 @ Texas 1
April 7, 2013 Texas 5 @ San Antonio 1


Stars Player of the Week: (Week 26)

Reilly Smith – LW – #28 3 GP, 3 Points (1 G, 2 A), +1, 2 PIMs
Texas Stars left wing Reilly Smith tallied points in each of the three games last week to extend his point streak to eight-straight games, which is the second longest streak on the team this season. The Toronto, Ontario native had an assist on Friday night against Oklahoma City and then tallied another helper on the only Stars goal Saturday night against Hamilton. That assist tied Smith with Matt Fraser for the club record with a seven-game assist streak. He was unable to break Fraser’s record on Sunday in San Antonio, but the rookie forward did score a goal to extend his point streak to eight, the second longest active streak in the AHL. On the season Smith has 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) and a +10 rating in 42 games for Texas, while also playing in 31 NHL games and recording seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) with Dallas.


Stars Quick Hits:

• TYING A CLUB RECORD – Rookie left wing Reilly Smith tied Matt Fraser’s club record seven-game assist streak with an assist on Saturday vs. Hamilton. The Toronto, Ontario native recorded eight assists during the streak, spanning from January 6th vs. Houston to April 6th vs. Hamilton. The reason it spans three full months is that Smith continued his AHL streak while getting recalled to Dallas twice and playing in 31 NHL games for the Stars. The streak came to an end on Sunday at San Antonio when Smith was unable to record an assist, but did score a goal to extend his point streak to eight (3-8-11).


• A PILE OF DEBUTS – Five players made their Texas Stars debuts over the weekend, including two who were playing in their first pro games. On Friday vs. Oklahoma City RW Brett Ritchie made his pro debut, while defensemen Mike Commodore, Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce all played in their first games for the Stars. Saturday vs. Hamilton forward Curtis McKenzie made his pro debut.

 

• BICENTENNIAL – New Stars D Cameron Gaunce played in his 200th career AHL game on Sunday at San Antonio. The Markham, Ontario native has totaled 60 points (9 goals, 51 assists) and 272 penalty minutes in his AHL career, while also skating in 11 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, where he scored one goal and posted 16 penalty minutes.


• CENTURY AND A HALF – LW Mike Hedden’s three-point game (1 goal, 2 assists) on Sunday against the Rampage gave him 150 points in his pro career. The Dunnville, Ontario native has notched 81 goals, 69 assists and 260 penalty minutes in 253 career pro games, including 130 AHL games, where he has 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists).

 

• BRIGHT FUTURE – RW Alex Chiasson made his NHL debut for the Dallas Stars last Wednesday at Anaheim. The St. Augustin, Quebec native, who was third on Texas with 35 points at the time of his NHL recall, scored his first NHL goal in his second game with Dallas in a 3-1 win over the Ducks on Friday. Chiasson then proceeded to score two goals on Sunday as the Stars rallied from two-goals down to beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 in a shootout at HP Pavilion. Chiasson now has three goals in his brief 3-game NHL career and the rookie has been skating on the right wing with Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney.


• LONG WAIT FOR A GOAL STREAK – New Stars defenseman Mike Commodore scored a goal just 3:07 into his Texas debut on Friday night against Oklahoma City. It was the first goal for the Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta native since November 22, 2010 when he scored the game-winning goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators. Commodore did not play Saturday against Hamilton, his former team, but he did suit up on Sunday in San Antonio and scored Texas’ last game in a 5-1 romp over the Rampage.

 

• BEST PRO START POSSIBLE – Rookie RW Brett Ritchie wasted no time making an impact during his first pro game. The Orangeville, Ontario native scored on his first pro shot, during his second shift, just 2:06 into the first period on Friday night against Oklahoma City. Ritchie also added his first pro assist on Sunday at San Antonio for two points in his first three games for Texas.


• SOMETHING ABOUT THOSE BARONS – The Stars have struggled with the Oklahoma City Barons at times this season, most recently losing an early lead with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at home last Friday when Tanner House scored with 14.6 seconds left in regulation to win the game. Texas this season has a record of 22-10-4-3 against the South Division, but are just 4-7-0-1 against Oklahoma City, which accounts for seven of the Stars’ 10 regulation losses to division opponents.

 

• LATE DRAMA, TWICE! – Going into the weekend Texas had an unbeaten record of 28-0-0-1 when carrying the lead into the third period. The Stars suffered their first regulation loss when leading after two periods on Friday night when Oklahoma City scored with 14.6 seconds left to stun Texas 3-2. The very next night it happened again. This time Hamilton overcame a 1-0 Stars lead in the third period and then scored the winning goal with 24.5 seconds left to beat Texas 2-1. The Stars had no trouble holding on to their third period lead on Sunday at San Antonio and are now 29-2-0-1 this year when leading after forty minutes.


• ANOTHER BICENTENNIAL – Stars C Travis Morin recorded his 200th career AHL point on Sunday at San Antonio when he assisted on Reilly Smith’s third period goal. Morin also scored a goal in the second period and was named the game’s first star. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota native has 65 goals, 135 assists and 120 penalty minutes in 279 career AHL games.

 

• GAZDIC 250 – LW Luke Gazdic played in his 250th career AHL game on Saturday vs. Hamilton. The Toronto, Ontario native has 53 points (26 goals, 27 assists) and 440 penalty minutes in 251 career AHL games, all for the Texas Stars.


• CENTURY MARK – C Justin Dowling recorded his 100th career pro point on Sunday at San Antonio. The Cochrane, Alberta native had the second assist on Mike Hedden’s first period goal to reach the milestone. Dowling has posted 34 goals, 66 assists and 34 penalty minutes in 122 career pro games. He has 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 62 career AHL games for Texas and Abbotsford.

 

• APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES: D Mike Commodore needs 1 assist for his 150th career pro assist. C Travis Morin needs 2 assists for his 250th career pro assist. C Toby Petersen needs 3 points for his 450th career pro point. D Maxime Fortunus is 1 goal away from his 50th career AHL goal and 6 GP away from his 700th pro game.


Stars Week 26 Transactions

April 9 – ADD – Brett Sonne (C) – Reassigned by St. Louis (NHL) from Peoria (AHL).
April 9 – DELETE – Carl Sneep (D) – Reassigned by Dallas (NHL) to Peoria (AHL).
April 8 – DELETE – Jordie Benn (D) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 5 – DELETE – Gord Baldwin (D) – Loaned to Idaho (ECHL).
April 3 – DELETE – Alex Chiasson (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 3 – DELETE – Matt Fraser (LW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 3 – ADD – Colton Sceviour (RW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 3 – ADD – Curtis McKenzie (LW) – Signed to ATO.
April 3 – ADD – Jordie Benn (D) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 3 – ADD – Matt Fraser (LW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 3 – ADD – Alex Chiasson (RW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – ADD – Bretton Cameron (RW) – Signed to SPC.
April 2 – DELETE – Bretton Cameron (RW) – Released from PTO.
April 2 – ADD – Brock Montgomery (RW) – Signed to ATO.
April 2 – ADD – Cameron Gaunce (D) – Loaned from Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – DELETE – Colton Sceviour (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – ADD – Francis Wathier (LW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – ADD – Kevin Connauton (D) – Loaned from Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – DELETE – Matt Fraser (LW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – ADD – Reilly Smith (LW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – DELETE – Tom Wandell (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 2 – DELETE – Tomas Vincour (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL) and traded to Colorado (NHL).
April 2 – ADD – Tomas Vincour (RW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
April 1 – ADD – Brett Ritchie (RW) – Reassigned by Dallas (NHL) from Niagara (OHL).
April 1 – DELETE – Francis Wathier (LW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
April 1 – DELETE – Hubert Labrie (D) – Reassigned by Dallas (NHL) to Idaho (ECHL).
April 1 – DELETE – Josh Robinson (G) – Returned on loan to Idaho (ECHL).
April 1 – ADD – Toby Petersen (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).


Texas Stars Team Leaders:

Games Played: Toby Petersen (68)
Goals: Matt Fraser (33)
Assists: Colton Sceviour (29)
Points: Colton Sceviour (47)
Plus/Minus: Jamie Oleksiak (+21)
Penalty Minutes: Antoine Roussel (107)
Power Play Goals: Matt Fraser (17)
Short Handed Goals: Colton Sceviour (4)
Game-Winning Goals: Justin Dowling & Colton Sceviour (4)
Shots: Colton Sceviour (185)
Shooting Percentage: Brett Ritchie (20.0%)
Saves: Jack Campbell (807)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (18)
GAA: Cristopher Nilstorp (2.26)
Save Percentage: Richard Bachman (0.920)
Shutouts: Cristopher Nilstorp (4)
 

The Texas Stars will continue their five-game road trip on Thursday, April 11th as they travel to Charlotte for a 6:00 p.m. CT faceoff with the Checkers at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Stars next home game is on Friday, April 19th against the Houston Aeros at 7:30 p.m.  Friday’s game at Cedar Park Center is a $3 Beer Night and another Texas Lottery Lucky Section Night, where fans can win scratch off tickets from the Texas Lottery when the first Stars player scores a goal. 2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.


-- Texas Stars --

Posted on 04/09/13

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