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Stars News

Texas in Fierce Playoff Battle with Oklahoma City
Texas in Fierce Playoff Battle with Oklahoma City

STARS WEEKLY (WEEK 32)

Barons Lead Stars 2-1 in Best-of-Seven Western Conference Semifinals

2012-13 Record:
43-22-5-6, 97 points (18-13-2-5 Home, 25-9-3-1 Road), First Place – South Division

2013 Playoff Record:
4-3 (0.571) – Trail Western Conference Semifinals (1-2)

Week 31 Recap:

The Texas Stars split the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Oklahoma City Barons at Cedar Park Center in Week 31. The Stars suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss in Game 1 when Anton Lander won the game for the Barons just 1:28 into the first overtime. Texas bounced back with a big 2-1 win over Oklahoma City in Game 2 to level the series at one thanks to a stellar performance from goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp. The Stars had their two-game playoff winning streak snapped Wednesday night as they suffered a nail-biting 2-1 overtime loss to Oklahoma City in Game 1. Texas came charging out of the gates and put the pressure on the Barons and goaltender Yann Danis right away. Shortly after the Stars successfully killed off a hooking penalty, the Barons grabbed the lead when Philippe Cornet set up Mark Arcobello for a one-timer that beat goalie Cristopher Nilstorp from the bottom of the right faceoff circle at 15:08. Nilstorp came up with a big save in the second period as he stoned Cornet on a partial breakaway to keep it a one-goal game. Jordie Benn found Francis Wathier in the low slot for a quick one-timer that beat Danis low to the far right post at 16:30 of the second period for his first goal of the post-season. Benn’s assist was his first career Calder Cup Playoff point. Neither team found the net in an exciting, and nerve-wracking, third period. It took the Barons just 1:28 of the first overtime period to win the game as Toni Rajala snapped a centering pass from the left wing corner to Anton Lander just above the crease. Lander redirected the puck over the blocker of Nilstorp and into the top right corner of the net in a lightning quick play that ended the game.

The Stars earned a crucial 2-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 2 on Saturday night at Cedar Park Center to even the series at 1-1. The teams traded power plays early in the first period and the Barons had the better of the chances forcing goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp into making two dazzling saves to keep the game scoreless. Late in the period Texas broke through to grab its first lead of the series. Justin Dowling pounced on a turnover in the defensive zone by Andrew Hotham and sent it back to Jamie Oleksiak for a one-timer that was headed wide of the right post until Mike Hedden turned the wayward shot back on frame and into the net at 17:52. The goal was Hedden’s first of the playoffs and was assisted by both Oleksiak and Dowling. Late in the second period, just 62 seconds after Oklahoma City took a bench minor for too-many men on the ice, Joe Morrow scored a dazzling power play goal to give Texas a 2-0 lead. The rookie defenseman unleashed a lethal shot from the left point that blew by the glove of goaltender Yann Danis and into the top right corner of the net at 17:12. Kevin Connauton and Reilly Smith each had assists on Morrow’s first career Calder Cup Playoff goal. Nilstorp continued his stellar play in the third period and looked set to record his second shutout of the post-season. The Barons ended his bid for a clean sheet with an extra attacker goal from Mark Arcobello with 1:55 left in regulation. Oklahoma City pulled Danis again trying to tie the game, but Nilstorp would not be beaten again as he led Texas to a 2-1 victory.

Week 32 Preview:

Week 32 started off on Monday as Texas was shutout by Oklahoma City 4-0 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Cox Convention Center. Stars goalie Cristopher Nilstorp was tested early in the first period when Tyler Pitlick raced in on a breakaway, but was stoned by the Swedish net minder. Rookie Brett Ritchie had the best scoring chance of the opening frame when he and Reilly Smith executed a beautiful give-and-go that led to Ritchie taking a backhand shot that went behind goalie Yann Danis, but struck the far right post and rolled away. Nilstorp came up with another stunning breakaway save when he thwarted Antti Tyrvainen in the first minutes of the second period to keep the game scoreless. The Barons struck first with a goal from Toni Rajala at 5:26 on a shot from the blue line that eluded a screened Nilstorp just two seconds after Oklahoma City’s first power play of the night expired. Six minutes later Justin Dowling beat Danis with a shot over his shoulder, only for the puck to ring off the bottom of the crossbar and lead to a rush the other way that resulted in a Stars penalty. The referees reviewed the play and confirmed that it was not a goal. On the ensuing power play, Anton Lander scored on a three-ontwo rush to double the Barons lead 2-0 at 12:28. Mark Arcobello added his sixth goal of the playoffs at 4:36 of the third period and, although Texas out-shot Oklahoma City 14-6 in the third period, C.J. Stretch added an empty net goal in the final minute to cap off a 4-0 Barons victory. Now trailing 2-1 in the series, Texas must win at least one of the next two games to send the Western Conference Semifinals back to Cedar Park Center. The Stars will face the Barons for Game 4 tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Cox Convention Center. Game 5 is on Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 p.m. in Oklahoma City. If necessary, Games 6 and 7 will be played on May 20th and 21st at Cedar Park Center, both at 7:30 p.m.

LW Francis Wathier (1-0-1) will play his 50th career Calder Cup Playoff game on Wednesday; he has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) and 51 penalty minutes in 49 career post-season AHL games. D Maxime Fortunus (0-1-1) is tied for the team lead in plus-minus (+1) and is four games away from playing in his 100th career pro playoff game; Fortunus has played in 92 career Calder Cup Playoff games, posting 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists) and 44 penalty minutes with the Houston Aeros, Manitoba Moose and Texas Stars. D Kevin Connauton (2-3-5) leads the team and is tied for the lead amongst AHL defensemen in playoff points.

Week 32 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)

Game 3 – Texas 0 at Oklahoma City 4

Game 4
Wednesday, May 15 – 7:00 p.m. – Cox Convention Center – Oklahoma City, OK
at Oklahoma City Barons (40-25-2-9, 91 pts.)
Third Place, South Division
Fifth Place, Western Conference

Game 5
Thursday, May 16 – 7:00 p.m. – Cox Convention Center – Oklahoma City, OK
at Oklahoma City Barons (40-25-2-9, 91 pts.)
Third Place, South Division
Fifth Place, Western Conference
Team Notes: After being held to just three combined goals in Games 1 and 2, Oklahoma City struck for four goals against Texas in Game 3, the highest offensive output of the series. The Barons also out-shot the Stars for the first time in three playoff games against their division rivals (31-30) and it was the first time in the series that they had 30 or more shots on goal. Yann Danis stopped all 30 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the 2013 post-season and the second shutout of his Calder Cup Playoff career. Danis also blanked the Houston Aeros with 14 saves in a 5-0 blowout at Toyota Center on April 19, 2012 in Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Danis leads the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs with 258 saves, 70 more than Providence’s Niklas Svedberg (188); Cristopher Nilstorp (181) ranks third in the AHL in saves. Randy Jones leads the AHL post-season in plus-minus (+10), while Mark Arcobello and Teemu Hartikainen are tied for second in the league (+8).
• Leading Scorers: Mark Arcobello (C) – 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) and +8 in 8 GP; Josh Green (C) – 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and +3 in 8 GP; Teemu Hartikainen (LW) – 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and +8 in 8 GP; Toni Rajala (C) - 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and +7 in 8 GP;
• Leading Goaltender: Yann Danis (G) – 2.24 GAA, 0.935 save pct., 5-3 Record, 1 SO in 8 GP.
• Who’s Hot: C Mark Arcobello (6-4-10) is tied for the team lead and is tied for fifth in the AHL in points, has scored goals in all three games of the series and is on a five-game point streak with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a +5 rating during that span. C Anton Lander (4-1-5) has five points (4 goals, 1 assist) and a +5 rating in his last five games. G Yann Danis (5-3, 2.24, 0.935) allowed six goals in Game 3 at Charlotte and has allowed just six total goals over the next five games, stopping 174-of-180 shots (0.967), winning four of those five games and posting one shutout.

Full Second Round Playoff Schedule (Best-of-Seven)

2013 Western Conference Semifinals – (1) Texas vs. (5) Oklahoma City – OKC leads 2-1
(All Times Central)

Game 1 – Thursday, May 9th – Oklahoma City 2 at Texas 1 – OT
Game 2 – Saturday, May 11th – Oklahoma City 1 at Texas 2
Game 3 – Monday, May 13th – Texas 0 at Oklahoma City 4
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 15th – 7:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City (Cox Convention Center)
Game 5 ** – Thursday, May 16th – 7:00 p.m. at Oklahoma City (Cox Convention Center)
Game 6 ** – Monday, May 20th – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
Game 7 ** – Tuesday, May 21st – 7:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City (Cedar Park Center)
** if necessary

Stars Player of the Week: (Week 31)

Cristopher Nilstorp – G – #41 2 GP, 1-1 Record, (1.48 GAA, 0.944 Sv.%)
Texas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp continued his spectacular form in Week 31. The Malmo, Sweden native began the week by stopping 24-of-26 shots in a narrow 2-1 overtime loss to Oklahoma City in Game 1 last Thursday. He responded in Game 2 by making 27 saves on 28 shots, coming within 1:55 of record his second shutout of the playoffs in a 2-1 win over the Barons. For the week he was 1-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a 0.944 save percentage.

Stars Quick Hits:
• GOAL OUTBURST – Texas allowed four goals against in Game 3, the first time this postseason the team had allowed more than two goals against in a game. The Stars were the first team since the 2009 Milwaukee Admirals to concede less than three goals in their first six games of the Calder Cup Playoffs. It was also the first time Texas had allowed more than one goal against in a period during the playoff run; the Barons scored twice in both the second and third periods of Game 3.
• NO GOALIE HERE – The Stars pulled Cristopher Nilstorp for 4:14 in the final minutes of the third period, the longest stretch they have played with an empty net in both this year’s regular season and playoffs.
• VULCANIZED RUBBER ASSAULT – Stars right wing Colton Sceviour leads the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs with 33 shots on goal in seven games played. Providence’s Torey Krug leads all AHL defenseman in the playoffs with 26 shots on goal and three Texas blue liners rank second through fourth: Kevin Connauton (19), Jamie Oleksiak (18) and Joe Morrow (17).
• ROOKIE LEADER – Texas right wing Alex Chiasson leads all AHL rookies in gamewinning goals (2) in the post-season. He scored the game-winner in both Games 3 and 4 of the first round series against Milwaukee.
• CAMPING IN THE CREASE – Stars goalie Cristopher Nilstorp ranks second in the AHL in minutes played with 428:01 in seven post-season games. Nilstorp trails only Oklahoma City’s Yann Danis (482:07), who has played one more game than the Texas backstop.
• NO POINTS – Texas was shutout 4-0 by Oklahoma City in Game 3 on Monday night at Cox Convention Center. It was the second time in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs that the Stars were held off the scoreboard. Both shutouts against Texas came on the road, with the other being a 2-0 loss in Game 2 on April 27th in the first round series at Milwaukee.

Stars Week 31 Transactions

No Recent Transactions

Texas Stars Team Leaders: (Playoffs)

Games Played:               14 Players Tied (7)
Goals:                             Alex Chiasson, Kevin Connauton & Matt Fraser (2)
Assists:                           Kevin Connauton & Mike Hedden (3)
Points:                             Kevin Connauton (5)
Plus/Minus:                     Maxime Fortunus & Luke Gazdic (+1)
Penalty Minutes:             Luke Gazdic (19)
Power Play Goals:          Kevin Connauton (2)
Short Handed Goals:      N/A
Game-Winning Goals:    Alex Chiasson (2)
Shots:                             Colton Sceviour (33)
Shooting Percentage:    Alex Chiasson (22.2%)
Saves:                            Cristopher Nilstorp (181)
Wins:                              Cristopher Nilstorp (4)
GAA:                              Cristopher Nilstorp (1.40)
Save Percentage:          Cristopher Nilstorp (0.948)
Shutouts:                        Cristopher Nilstorp (1)

The Texas Stars continue their series with the Oklahoma City Barons tonight in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals at 7:00 p.m. at Cox Convention Center. If necessary, Game 6 will be played at Cedar Park Center on Monday, May 20th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all Stars home games in the series are on sale now via Ticketmaster or the Cedar Park Center Box Office. Ticket packages for all remaining Texas Stars 2013 home playoff games are also on sale and may be purchased by calling 512-GO-STARS.

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 05/15/13

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