STARS WEEKLY (WEEK 33)
Stars Prepare for 2013-14 Season & First-Ever South Division Title Defense
43-22-5-6, 97 points (18-13-2-5 Home, 25-9-3-1 Road), First Place – South Division
2013 Playoff Record:
4-5 (0.444) – Lost to Oklahoma City in Western Conference Semifinals (1-4)
Week 32 Recap:
The Texas Stars earned a split of the first two games against Oklahoma City in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals. The Stars, who boasted the American Hockey League’s best road record (25-9-3-1) during the 2012-13 regular season, faced three-straight road games at Cox Convention Center needing to win at least one of those to send the series back to Cedar Park Center. However, the Barons continued their strong home form against Texas by sweeping the three games and eliminating the Stars from the playoffs.
In Game 3 on Monday night it was the Yann Danis show as the Barons goaltender stopped all 30 shots he face for his first shutout of the post-season and a 4-0 win. Stars rookie Brett Ritchie nearly gave the visitors the lead late in the first period, when his give-and-go with fellow rookie Reilly Smith led to a Ritchie backhander that got behind Danis, only to hit the far right post and go harmlessly wide. The Barons struck twice in the second period to break the deadlock, starting with a Toni Rajala shot, just after a power play ended, that eluded a screened Cristopher Nilstorp. Oklahoma City doubled their lead with a power play goal later in the period by Anton Lander for a 2-0 advantage after two periods. The Stars out-shot the Barons 14-6 in the third, but Mark Arcobello made it 3-0 early in the period and C.J. Stretch added an empty net goal with 18 seconds left to ice the game.
Texas regrouped for Game 4 on Wednesday and once again the two teams played a scoreless first period. Oklahoma City grabbed the lead just 1:27 into the second period on a goal by C.J. Stretch. Brett Ritchie tied the game with his second goal of the playoffs and Colton Sceviour jammed in a rebound from a Jordie Benn shot during a four-on-three power play to give Texas a 2-1 lead. The Stars still had a five-on-four power play after the goal with the opportunity to double the lead, instead Arcobello’s minor expired and he got a breakaway out of the penalty box and scored to tie the game just 1:20 after Sceviour’s goal. With the period winding down Texas reclaimed the lead during a delayed penalty call to Oklahoma City as Travis Morin made a beautiful pass to setup a Joe Morrow goal at 18:15. Leading 3-2 going into the third period, the Stars looked poised to win the game and tie the series at 2-2. The Barons had other ideas, scoring five times in the final frame to win the game 7-3 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Antti Tyrvainen tied the game at three as he poked in a rebound at 6:52. Eight minutes later, Taylor Fedun put Oklahoma City back in the lead 4-3 at 14:24. Texas was forced to take risks as they tried to get back to level ground and the Barons capitalized on the counter-attack. Arcobello scored on an odd-man rush with two minutes remaining, Tyrvainen scored an empty net goal 36 seconds later and Garrett Stafford slapped in a power play goal with 15 seconds left as a 4-3 Barons lead became a 7-3 final score.
With their playoff lives on the line in Game 5 on Thursday, the Stars immediately turned up the pressure on Danis and the Barons, out-shooting them 12-8 in the first period. Even with the high-intensity, it was Oklahoma City who grabbed the lead on a late goal from Teemu Hartikainen. Just 1:36 into the second period Taylor Fedun made it 2-0 with his second goal of the series and C.J. Stretch posted his fourth goal of the playoffs at 9:16 to give the Barons a 3-0 lead. Once again the Stars tried to rally and again OKC had an answer. Garrett Stafford scored a power play goal at 1:24 of the third period on a penalty that carried over from the end of the second and Arcobello made it 5-0 halfway through the third. Justin Dowling put Texas on the board with a power play goal at 17:03, his first goal of the playoffs, to spoil Danis’ shutout bid with assists from Reilly Smith and Alex Chiasson. The goal was a mere consolation, however, as the Barons held on for a 5-1 win to close out the series and end Texas’ season prematurely.
The Stars had a very successful season, capturing their first South Division crown in club history and earning the top seed in the Western Conference. Texas returned to the Calder Cup Playoffs after missing out during the 2011-12 season, earning post-season action for the third time in the team’s four-year history. The Stars earned some revenge from the 2011 Playoff loss to Milwaukee by beating the Admirals in four games in the Conference Quarterfinals, reaching the second round for the second time in the last four years. During the year, Reilly Smith and Jamie Oleksiak each garnered CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month honors, for December and January respectively, and head coach Willie Desjardins took home the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s coach of the year. Oleksiak and Matt Fraser represented the Stars with distinction at the Dunkin’ Donuts 2013 AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, helping the Western Conference All-Stars win both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. Additionally, 15 players appeared in games for both the Texas Stars and Dallas Stars during the 2012-13 campaign, including NHL debuts for Cristopher Nilstorp, Alex Chiasson, Jamie Oleksiak and Antoine Roussel. Also, Jack Campbell and Carl Sneep earned NHL call-ups, but did not see any action in Dallas.
Full Second Round Playoff Results (Best-of-Seven)
2013 Western Conference Semifinals – (1) Texas vs. (5) Oklahoma City – OKC won 4-1
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 – Texas 3 at Oklahoma City 7
Game 5 – Thursday, May 16th – Texas 1 at Oklahoma City 5
Stars Player of the Week: (Week 32)
Colton Sceviour – RW – #7 3 GP, 2 Points (1 G, 1 A), Even, 9 Shots, 2 PIMs
Texas Stars right wing Colton Sceviour was the team’s leading scorer in the regular season and in the final week of the team’s post-season run, he was tied with three other players for the most points on the week. The Red Deer, Alberta native scored his first goal of the playoffs and added an assist during Wednesday’s Game 4 loss to the Barons. He was also one just three Stars players to not record a minus rating during Thursday’s Game 5 loss at Oklahoma City. For the playoffs Sceviour led the team in plus-minus (+1) and shots on goal (38) and he finished tied for second on the team with four points (1 goal, 3 assists), while playing in all nine games.
Stars Quick Hits:
• CAPTAIN LONGEVITY – Texas captain Maxime Fortunus has cracked the Top-20 of the Calder Cup Playoffs all-time leaders in games played. The Stars defenseman has played in 94 career AHL playoff games, which ties him with Gordie Clark for 18th on the all-time list. Fortunus needs 16 more post-season games played to reach the Top-10. Fortunus has 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists) and 44 penalty minutes in his 94 career playoff games. Defenseman Bryan Helmer is the all-time leader in games played with 158 in his Calder Cup Playoff career.
• DEFENSE WON GAMES – The Stars went 4-5 in nine playoff games this season. The team won all of its games and posted a 4-2 record when allowing two goals or less. Texas was 0-3 when allowing more than two goals in a game.
• FOR ONE GAME ONLY – Veteran defenseman Tyler Sloan made his 2013 Calder Cup Playoff debut in Texas’ final game of the post-season. The Calgary, Alberta native suited up for Game 5 at Oklahoma City. It was his 51st career Calder Cup game; he has 13 assists and 60 penalty minutes, along with two Calder Cup Championships, on his resume.
• THE UNFRIENDLY ROAD – Texas boasted the AHL’s best road record during the 2012-13 regular season, but the team’s playoff results away from home weren’t quite as favorable. The Stars were 1-4 on the road in the post-season and had a -13 goal differential, a stark contrast from their 3-1 home record and +3 goal differential at Cedar Park Center.
• THE HALF CENTURY – Left wing Francis Wathier played in his 50th career Calder Cup Playoff game in Game 4 on May 15th at Oklahoma City. Wathier has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) and 51 penalty minutes in 51 career Calder Cup Playoff games with both the Texas Stars and Iowa Stars.
• THE THIRD PERIOD CONUNDRUM – The Stars had a noticeable -10 goal differential in the third period during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, being outscored in the final period 13-3. In contrast, Texas had a +20 goal differential in the third period during the regular season and had an even goal differential for the first and second periods during the post-season.
• TROUBLE IN OKC – The Stars went 4-2 in their first six playoff games this year, losing their two games by a slim margin. However, Texas suffered three-straight losses to the Barons at Cox Convention Center, all by a four-goal margin, which matched a franchise record for worst margin of defeat in a Calder Cup Playoff game. The Stars lost to Oklahoma City 4-0 in Game 3, 7-3 in Game 4 and 5-1 in Game 5. The record was originally set in Game 6 of the 2010 Calder Cup Finals, when Texas lost to Hershey 4-0 on June 14, 2010.
Stars Week 32 Transactions
No Recent Transactions
Texas Stars Team Leaders: (Playoffs)
Games Played: 13 Players Tied (9)
Goals: Five Players Tied (2)
Assists: Reilly Smith (4)
Points: Kevin Connauton (5)
Plus/Minus: Colton Sceviour (+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 (38)
Shooting Percentage: Alex Chiasson (14.3%)
Saves: Cristopher Nilstorp (249)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (4)
GAA: Cristopher Nilstorp (2.30)
Save Percentage: Cristopher Nilstorp (0.922)
Shutouts: Cristopher Nilstorp (1)
2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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