GAME NOTES: Texas Stars vs. Colorado Eagles
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN CLIMBING
Following a close tilt on Tuesday night, the Texas Stars (27-27-3-4) and Colorado Eagles (33-18-3-1) square off in a rematch as Texas continues its four-game road trip. In the Stars' first trip to Loveland, Colorado, they topped the Eagles 5-4 to earn their first win against Colorado in club history. Now, the Stars hold sixth place in the Central Division and are one-point outside of a playoff spot thanks to three consecutive wins. Tonight is game two of a stretch that includes eight road games across 11 contests. A win tonight would push Texas above Rockford and Chicago as both teams are without games this evening.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SCHEDULE (1-1-0-0)
Nov. 9 – Colorado 5 at Texas 2 – Final
Mar. 10 – Texas 5 at Colorado 4 – Final
Mar. 11 – Texas at Colorado – 7:05 pm MST
Apr. 3 – Colorado at Texas – 7:00 pm CST
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Texas: Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther notched a goal and assist last night to add to his sterling offensive run. The blueliner has nine points (1-8=9) 10 games and has collected 14 points (3-11=14) since the beginning of February. The Canaan, New Hampshire native is the top-scoring defenseman on the Stars roster with 29 points (6-23=29) and leads the club with 12 power play assists. The third-year pro is three points shy of tying his career-high in point production.
- Colorado: TJ Tynan has arguably been the best set-up man in the AHL this season. Tynan leads the Eagles in scoring with 47 points (5-42=47) which are backed by his 42 assists. Through just 41 AHL games this season, he ranks second in the AHL in assists and is a danger on the power play with 19 power play assists, fourth-most in the league. The sixth-year pro has logged 14 points (1-13=14) in his last 11 games.
LAST TIME OUT
- Texas & Colorado: Tuesday, Mar. 10 – The Stars and Eagles traded offensive surges toward a 5-4 Texas victory. Colin Campbell’s deflection opened the scoring halfway through the first period and Texas responded 17 seconds late. Oula Palve net the tying goal and Jerad Rosburg got on the board exactly one minute later, scoring in his pro debut. The Stars extended the advantage in the second period as Gavin Bayreuther launched a long shot into the net and Joel L’Esperance connected on the power play. But the Eagles rallied for three goals in less than two minutes late in the second period as Julien Nantel and Campbell rallied for two goals each in the game. Jake Oettinger locked in from there and made 43 saves for his second straight win in goal. Rhett Gardner deflected a shot from Dillon Heatherington early in the third period and the tally held up as the game-winning goal. Despite outshooting the Stars 47-23, the Eagles and goaltender Hunter Miska took the loss with 18 saves.
BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTTER-SIDE
- Goaltender Jake Oettinger backstopped the Stars with a career-high 45 saves on Saturday, a feat which no Stars goaltender has accomplished in four years. He followed it up with a 43-save effort on Tuesday night for his third consecutive win, stopping 122 shots in those three outings. The goaltender is 4-1-0 in his last four starts and has made 167 saves in those games to hold a 2.21 GAA and .938 SV%. No goaltender in that time has made more saves than Oettinger. The rookie netminder has played in 14 of the last 15 games. Overall, the 6-foot-4 netminder is sixth in the league in minutes played, holds a 15-16-4-4 record, is 14th in the league at 2.57 GAA, and 10th in the league with a .917 SV%.
- No Stars player has had better offensive success than Jason Robertson right now. The rookie winger has collected seven points across the last four games and boasts 21 points (11-10=21) in his last 17 AHL games. Only Sam Anas more points in that stretch. The 6-foot-2 Arcadia, California native is fifth among rookies this season with 47 points (25-22=47) and is third among all first-year skaters with 25 goals. Robertson’s point total is the highest point output by a Stars first-year skater since Jason Dickinson produced 53 points (22-31=53) in the 2015-16 season. He is still 18 points shy of tying Curtis McKenzie’s team record of 65 points (27-38=65) in his debut season of 2013-14.
WELP…THAT WAS QUICK
- The Dallas Stars announced Monday that the club has signed defenseman Jerad Rosburg to a one-year entry-level contract in 2020-21. The blueliner immediately made an impact with the Stars in his pro debut, netting a goal and adding an assist in the effort. The four-year skater with the Michigan State University Spartans finished his senior season with 17 points (4-13=17) and accrued 55 points (12-43=55) in 141 games played from 2016 to 2020. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman represented his alma mater as an alternate captain this year and was named outstanding defensive player during his junior season.
- Center Joel L’Esperance scored his 24th goal of the season on Tuesday which held up as his 11th power play goal this year. The second-year forward has six goals in his last eight games and has added a pair of assists in the last three games. The 2020 AHL All-Star is third in the league with 189 shots this year and ranks sixth in power play goals. The Michigan Tech University alum led the Stars in goals as a rookie in 2018-19, collecting 30 in 54 games. In just 120 games with the organization, L’Esperance is tied for ninth with 55 career goals and his next tally will push him past both Brendan Ranford and Mike Hedden.
GARDS ON DUTY
- Rhett Gardner collected the game-winning goal last night on a deflection, scoring his ninth goal of the year. The rookie center has generated some steam lately, scoring four goals in his last 12 games and two additional assists in that stretch. Gardner has scored timely goals for the Stars, collecting three game-winning goals this season which is tied for second-most on the roster. The goal was his third of the season away from home and just his sixth point (3-3=6) in 27 away games this year.
DELIVERY FROM THE MEL MAN
- Josh Melnick blasted his fifth goal of the season into the net on the power play on Saturday night and added an assist on Tuesday. He has found his stride recently, logging seven points (1-6=7) in the last 10 games. Melnick’s rookie season has produced 16 points (5-11=16) and a team-leading +11 rating which ranks 10th among all AHL rookies. The first-year skater has collected 19 points (5-14=19) and a +13 rating in 65 games since turning pro.
FINDING THE SEAM
- Tanner Kero has earned points in five consecutive games and has helped the Stars earn power play goals in each of the last three games. The veteran ranks third on the roster with 33 points (8-25=33) and leads the club with 25 assists. The Hancock, Michigan native has been dangerous all year on the power play, collecting 14 points (2-12=13) on the man advantage.
ADDITIONAL TEAM FACTS
- Oula Palve scored his third goal of the season last night and added an assist, his first multi-point game since joining Texas and his third of the season.
- Texas was perfect on special teams last night. Across the last three games, they are 4-for-9 on the power play and have stopped the last 12 man advantages against.
- Anthony Louis has now missed six of the last 10 games due to injury.
- Eagles forward Erik Condra led Texas in scoring with 54 points (20-34=54) in 71 games last season.
TODAY’S CENTRAL DIVISION GAMES (3)
San Antonio at Milwaukee - 10:30 AM CST
Iowa at Grand Rapids - 7:00 PM EST
Texas at Colorado - 7:05 PM MST
- Gavin Bayreuther | Has played 197 games with Texas
- Oula Palve | Has 98 Career Assists
- Tanner Kero | Has 196 Career Points
- Michael Mersch | Has 247 Career Points
TEXAS STARS IN DALLAS (2019-20)
- *Denis Gurianov – 64 GP | 20-9=29
- Nick Caamano – 12 GP | 1-1=2
- Joel Kiviranta – 11 GP | 1-0=1
- Joel Hanley – 8 GP | 0-2=2
- Rhett Gardner – 8 GP | 0-0=0
- Jason Robertson – 3 GP | 0-1=1
- Joel L’Esperance – 3 GP | 1-0=1
- Gavin Bayreuther – 0 GP | 0-0=0
TOTAL NHL MAN GAMES: 109 GP | 23-13=36 *On Dallas Stars Active Roster