GAME NOTES: Texas Stars vs. Iowa Wild
INTO THE WILD
The Texas Stars (0-2-0-1) face the Iowa Wild (3-0-0-0) for the second straight night after falling in a shootout decision on Friday evening. Texas continues to find ways to manifest points against Iowa, holding an 8-0-0-2 record in the last 10 meetings with the Wild. In the history of the match, Texas has earned 24 wins in 35 games against Iowa, which includes a 12-3-2-1 record at Wells Fargo Arena. Denis Gurianov wasted no time getting back into his rhythm last night, scoring three goals in his return. The Wild are off to a perfect start to the year, the third time since moving from Houston in 2013 that they have begun the year 3-0. Their best start came in the inaugural year, where Iowa began the year with five consecutive wins. Last year the Stars halted Iowa’s perfect run out of the gate, topping them in game four with a 5-4 victory with Gurianov earning the game-winner.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SCHEDULE (0-0-0-1)
Oct. 11 – Texas 4 at Iowa 5 - Final (SO)
Oct. 12 – Texas at Iowa - 7:00 pm CST
Nov. 26 – Iowa at Texas - 7:00 pm CST
Nov. 30 – Iowa at Texas - 7:00 pm CST
Dec. 31 – Texas at Iowa - 2:00 pm CST
Jan. 20 – Texas at Iowa - 12:00 pm CST
Feb. 21 – Iowa at Texas - 7:00 pm CST
Feb. 22 – Iowa at Texas - 7:00 pm CST
TONIGHT’S CENTRAL DIVISION GAMES
Toronto at Manitoba – 2:00 pm CST
Laval at Milwaukee – 6:00 pm CST
Grand Rapids at Rockford – 6:00 pm CST
Chicago at San Antonio – 7:00 pm CST
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Texas: It was obvious from the opening puck drop that Denis Gurianov would make an impact on last night’s game the winger scored three goals in his return to the Stars, the second hat trick in his career. After scoring a personal best 20 goals in his third pro season, the Russian forward made the Dallas Stars out of training camp. With three games in his pocket, Gurianov seems poised to continue his progress in his second AHL game, seeking a return to the big club in Dallas.
Iowa: Gerry Mayhew has flown out of the gate, opening the year with five points (32=5) in the first three games. He leads the Wild in scoring and is tied for the league lead in the AHL. The Ferris State University alum net the game-tying goal on Friday night, fresh off a three-point effort against Manitoba one week ago. The third-year pro is one of the best in team history, scoring 52 goals and seems to show no signs of slowing down after tallying a franchise record 27 goals in 2018-19. In just two years, Mayhew’s 104 points (52-52=104) rank fifth all-time with the Wild.
LAST TIME OUT
Texas & Iowa: Friday, Oct. 11 – The ping-pong scoring match between the Stars and Wild ended in a 5-4 shootout decision that favored Iowa. Texas led four times in the game but was matched with each goal by Iowa. Michael Mersch opened the scoring and Denis Gurianov tallied the ensuing three goals for the Stars. During a sixgoal second period, the Wild earned tallies from Will Bitten, Nico Sturm, and Mike Liambas. With netminder Kaapo Kahkonen pulled in the final minute, Gerry Mayhew sent the tying goal into the net. After an exciting overtime, Mayhew and Sam Anas tacked on goals in the shootout to take the win. Jake Oettinger finished the night with his second career shootout loss and a season-high 34 saves. Kahkonen has won all three games for the Wild and made 26 saves last night.
THREE GOAL GURY
Denis Gurianov’s second career hat trick pushed the Stars to earn their first point of the season. The winger last net three goals against San Antonio on Feb. 3, 2018. It is also the first hat trick by a Texas Stars player since Brad McClure lit the lamp three times on Mar. 30, 2019 against the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. The 6-foot-3 winger continued his AHL success from one year ago, scoring a career-high 48 points with 20 goals and 28 assists and ranking third on the Stars roster. The 2015 first-round pick by Dallas played 21 NHL games last year and earned four points, scoring his first NHL goal on Nov. 10, 2018, against Nashville.
SETTING THE TABLE
Center Tanner Kero was a playmaker last night, earning three assists in the decision against the Wild and matching a career-best of three points in a single game. Kero’s last three-point game was on Jan. 6, 2019, against Cleveland, scoring his first career hat trick in a 5-1 win. The new Stars winger was once a member of the Central Division and has played 15 games against the Wild in his career. The Hancock, Michigan native, who scored in his pro debut against Iowa on Apr. 9, 2015 in a 5-3 win, has produced 10 points (6-4=10) in those games including a pair of power play goals. He is now just five assists from hitting 100 in his career and played in his 200th AHL game last night.
SPREAD THE WEALTH
The Wild had nine different players find the score sheet last night, with not a single player collecting a second point in the tilt. Even with Gerry Mayhew leading the charge, 15 players on the roster have earned at least a point to start the season. Each of the top 10 scorers on the roster have connected for two points in those games as well. Eight players on the Wild have scored a goal already this year, making their lineup dangerous to match up against.
Defenseman Emil Djuse put up his first point in North America after joining the organization in the offseason. The Swedish born blueliner has played three games in the AHL and tallied an assist last night. Djuse brings over 250 games of experience from Sweden’s top professional league, the SHL. In that time he totaled 85 points (21-64=85).
POWER PLAY PAYS FOR MERSCH
Michael Mersch continues to be a force on the power play after scoring his first goal of the season last night. The winger has been a menace for opposing teams on the man advantage, scoring 41 of his 109 career goals on the power play. The Park Ridge, Illinois native was second on the Stars last year with nine power play goals and has 20 goals on the power play since the 2017-18 season. Texas is now 1-for-11 on the power play this year after finishing the 2018-19 campaign third in the league.
BEN HERE BEFORE
Defenseman Ben Gleason notched his first points of the season last night with a pair of assists. Gleason was the top rookie defensemen last year at creating offense with 32 assists. He ranked fourth-most among defensemen in team history with 37 points (532=37) and was also ranked fourth-most in the league among first-year blue-liners.
Nick Caamano became the first Texas call up of the year to record a point, scoring his first NHL goal against Washington on Tuesday night. The second-year forward was three games into his NHL call up after making his debut with the Dallas Stars on Oct. 5 against St. Louis. The Ancaster, Ontario native notched 24 points (12-12=24) in 73 AHL games with Texas as a rookie. He and the Dallas Stars take on Washington tonight at 7 p.m.
ADDITIONAL TEAM FACTS