GAME NOTES: Texas Stars vs. Iowa Wild
BACK TO THE WILD
After five consecutive games at home, the Texas Stars (19-17-2-2) will put their perfect 6-0-0-0 record in 2020 to the test away from home. The Stars return to the same building where 2019 came to an end, facing the Iowa Wild (23-14-3-2) at Wells Fargo Arena for the final game in Des Moines this year. The Wild bested the Stars on New Year’s Eve 5-4 backed by four power play goals but the Stars have earned a 3-1-0-1 record in five meetings. Texas holds the longest active win streak in the league and Iowa has won 10 of the last 14 games headed into the matchup. Today begins a stretch of four games in six days for the Stars before the 2020 All-Star break begins.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SCHEDULE (3-1-0-1)
Oct. 11 – Texas 4 at Iowa 5 – Final SO
Oct. 12 – Texas 2 at Iowa 1 – Final SO
Nov. 26 – Iowa 3 at Texas 7 – Final
Nov. 30 – Iowa 3 at Texas 4 – Final
Dec. 31 – Texas 4 at Iowa 5 – Final
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
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Texas: Anthony Louis is featured on the Stars top line and has picked up his production lately. The winger has five points (2-3=5) in his last four games. His season was rejuvenated when he joined the Stars on Nov. 20 from Charlotte, earning 16 points (6-10=16) in 30 games with Texas. After joining the Stars, Louis played three games against the Wild and earned two points (1-1=2) in those games.
- Iowa: Sam Anas is having a fantastic season, averaging a point per game through 42 contests (12-30=42). The winger has already surpassed his production from 2018-19 and is tied for second in the league in scoring. Anas leads the Wild against the Stars this year with seven points (3-4=7) in five games and is extremely dangerous on the power play. More than half of his points have been scored on the man advantage, collecting a league-high 24 points (3-21=24).
LAST TIME OUT
- Texas: Friday, Jan. 17 – The Stars earned a 4-3 shootout win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Nick Caamano and Ben Gleason each tallied goals in the first six minutes to chase Dustin Tokarski from the crease. Adam Johnson scored in the final four minutes of the first period and Kevin Roy took advantage of a second period power play to even the score. Anthony Louis and David Warsofsky also traded power play goals in the second and third periods to eventually force overtime. Jake Oettinger and Emil Larmi excelled in goal, making 27 and 24 saves respectively. Jason Robertson and Caamano scored goals in the shootout as Oettinger made three saves on four shots to take the win.
- Iowa: Saturday, Jan. 18 – San Jose forced overtime but the Wild prevailed with a 4-3 win as Louie Belpedio scored the winning goal with one minute left in the extra period. Evan Weinger and Dylan Gambrell gave the Barracuda an early lead in the first period. A pair of Dmitry Sokolov goals in addition to Kyle Rau’s tally in the second period flipped the script. A late shorthanded goal from Jacob Middleton would force the overtime before Iowa took the win. Mat Robson made 23 stops to earn the win while Zachary Sawchenko made 37 saves in the overtime loss.
TANNER’S TIME IS NOW
- Stars forward Tanner Kero has collected some major points in the last four games. The Hancock, Michigan native has eight points (4-4=8) in those four games and recorded a hat trick on Wednesday night. Kero now has five goals in the last seven games and has been the team’s highest contributor in that stretch. He is now fifth on the Stars with 19 points (5-14=19) with eight (2-6=8) earned on the power play. Kero missed 12 games to injury this year but is just four games from playing 300 in the AHL and NHL career. He has earned 182 points (77-105=182) in that time.
CAAMANO RUNNING WLD
- Second-year winger Nick Caamano scored the opening goal on Friday against the Penguins and added the clinching goal in the shootout. Caamano has three points (2-1=3) in his last three games for the Stars and logged his 100th game with the club on Friday. That stretch was broken up by a seven-game hiatus for the Ancaster, Ontario native who missed that time due to injury. Overall, the 6-foot-2, 194-pound forward has 15 points (8-7=15) in 21 games. Caamano also made his NHL debut this year, playing 12 games with Dallas and earning two points (1-1=2).
BEN BURSTING BACK
- Defenseman Ben Gleason found the net for the second time this season and the seventh time in his career with a goal on Friday. Gleason’s goal was his first since Nov. 16 against Toronto and was his second point in as many games. The 6-foot-1 skater from Ortonville, Michigan produced a phenomenal rookie season with 37 points (5-32=37) in 72 points and now has nine points (2-7=9) in 25 games.
JOEL BACK BEFORE BREAK
- Stars forward Joel Kiviranta returned to the club from the Dallas Stars on Saturday night after Dallas played in Minnesota. With Dallas on All-Star break and will not play again until Monday, Jan. 27. Texas is happy for his return as Kiviranta has scored four goals in his last four AHL games. His last six games have been skated in the NHL but the 5-foot-10 forward has produced 19 points (10-9=19) in 34 AHL games.
DJUSE’S ASSISTING IN STARS SUCCESS
- Defenseman Emil Djuse has racked up 23 assists this year and ranks third among all AHL defensemen. The blueliner is playing his first North American season, ranking second on the Stars roster and seventh among AHL defensemen with 26 points (3-23=26). His five points (1-4=5) against Iowa lead the Stars and he enters the game with eight points (1-7=8) in his last nine games.
ONE FOR ONE TRADE
- The Stars acquired forward Oula Palve from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday morning and he switched locker rooms with defenseman John Nyberg. Palve is in his first season of North American hockey, recording eight points (1-7=8) in 37 games with the Penguins to start the year. The Finnish skater has played 165 games in Finland’s top professional league, logging 123 points (35-88=123).
TANDEM TURNING UP
- Goaltenders Jake Oettinger and Landon Bow have been the backbone of the Stars during the team’s turnaround. Oettinger has collected an 8-3-0 record, two shutouts, 1.98 GAA and .929 SV% since Nov. 23. Bow also rattled off several wins to begin the stretch and has taken hold of a 4-1-2 record, 2.26 GAA and .908 SV% since Dec. 1.
ADDITIONAL TEAM FACTS
- Since Nov. 23, when the team ended a 12-game winless streak, the Stars are 16-4-2-0 for a .773 winning percentage in 22 games.
- The Stars are 5-for-16 (31.3%) in the last four games. The team is also 8-for-33 (24.2%) in the last 10 games, netting a power play goal in seven of those games.
- Under Head Coach Neil Graham, the Stars are outscoring opponents 45-33 and are outscoring teams 35-18 during even strength.
- Iowa’s leading scorer, Gerry Mayhew missed the club’s last two games. Mayhew leads the AHL with 26 goals.
TODAY’S CENTRAL DIVISION GAMES (2)
Texas at Iowa - 12:00 PM CST
Belleville at Rockford - 1:00 PM CST
- Ben Gleason | 99 GP
- Anthony Louis | 97 Points
- Tanner Kero | 296 GP
- Michael Mersch | 242 Points
TEXAS STARS IN DALLAS (2019-20)
- *Denis Gurianov – 42 GP | 11-6=17
- Nick Caamano – 12 GP | 1-1=2
- Joel Hanley – 8 GP | 0-2=2
- Rhett Gardner – 8 GP | 0-0=0
- Joel Kiviranta – 7 GP | 0-0=0
- Joel L’Esperance – 3 GP | 1-0=1
- Gavin Bayreuther – 0 GP | 0-0=0
TOTAL NHL MAN GAMES: 80 GP | 13-9=22 *On Dallas Stars Active Roster