Stars Cling to Western Conference Lead Amidst Five-Game Winless Streak

Mar 12, 2013

Texas Hosts Abbotsford, Travels to Charlotte for South Division Showdown
2012-13 Record: 33-16-4-6, 76 points (14-8-2-5 Home, 19-8-2-1 Road), First Place – South Division
Week 22 Recap:
The Stars are suffering from their worst winless streak of the season, going 0-3-0-2 in their last five games.  Texas lost to the Chicago Wolves for the second time in five days last Tuesday night, falling 4-3 at Cedar Park Center. Travis Morin had a stand out night, posting his first three-point game of the season with a goal and two assists. Tomas Vincour and Matt Fraser also found the net, but it was not enough as Chicago exploded for three goals in the first seven minutes of the second period and former Stars goaltender Matt Climie made 23 saves on 26 shots to record his third victory over Texas in four starts this season.
Friday night the San Antonio Rampage came to town to face the Stars for the eighth time this year, but the first in the last 41 days. Texas lost both leading scorer Matt Fraser and veteran forward Francis Wathier to NHL recall to Dallas, but received reinforcements as captain Maxime Fortunus and Scott Glennie both returned to the lineup from injuries. The two teams traded leads in the first two periods, but were all square at two after forty minutes of play. Tomas Vincour scored his second power play goal of the game just 19 seconds into the third period for a 3-2 Stars lead, only for Jed Ortmeyer to tie the game four minutes later. Fortunus hammered home a power play goal at 15:06 to put Texas ahead 4-3 and things looked promising for a home win. However, former Stars forward Greg Rallo scored a shorthanded goal a mere 1:13 later to tie the game and Ortmeyer scored in the 12th round of the shootout to secure the victory for the Rampage. The 12-round shootout was the longest in club history for both Texas and San Antonio.
Week 23 Preview:
A battered Texas Stars lineup is slowly getting healthy. In Week 21 defenseman Tyler Sloan and right wing Alex Chiasson returned to action and then last week saw the return to health of captain Maxime Fortunus and forward Scott Glennie, who had missed the last 20 games. With Justin Dowling, Patrick Nemeth and Luke Gazdic on the mend, the Stars are closing in on having all hands on deck for the stretch run to the playoffs. On Sunday Francis Wathier returned from Dallas and on Monday the NHL Stars swapped Matt Fraser and Tomas Vincour, calling up the Czech forward who scored three goals in his last two games for Texas, while returning the Stars leading scorer to the AHL.
Three games are slated for Week 23 for Texas, including a first for the 2012-13 season.  The Stars will host the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday, March 13th at 7:30 p.m. for another H-E-B Night at Cedar Park Center and the final Winning Wednesday of the season.  If Texas beats the Heat on Wednesday, all fans in attendance will receive a voucher for a free ticket to the Tuesday, March 19th game against San Antonio.  After facing Abbotsford, the Stars will make their first of two trips this season to North Carolina for a pivotal South Division showdown with the Charlotte Checkers.  Texas will play Charlotte twice this weekend, on Friday, March 15th at 6:00 p.m. CT and Sunday, March 17th at 2:00 p.m. CT at Time Warner Cable Arena.  One point separates the two teams for first place in the South Divison, and the Western Conference, and with five head-to-head games remaining that first place spot is very much up for grabs.
Left wing Matt Fraser (27-12-39) leads the team in goals, points, shots (160) and power play goals (14) and has six points (5 goals, 1 assist) in his last four games. Right wing Colton Sceviour (15-21-36) ranks second on the team in goals, assists, points and plus-minus (+14), he leads the team in game-winning goals (4) and shorthanded goals (3) and is on a three-game point streak with six points (1 goal, 5 assists) and a +1 rating over that span. Center Travis Morin (5-21-26) is tied for second on the team in assists, ranks seventh in points and is on a three-game assist/point streak with five points (1 goal, 4 assists) and a +1 rating during that streak.
Week 23 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)
Wednesday, March 13 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Abbotsford Heat (28-25-3-6, 65 pts.)
Third Place, North Division
Team Notes: This will be the fourth and final regular season meeting between Texas and Abbotsford.  The Stars are 1-0-1-1 (4 points) against the Heat, who are 2-1-0-0 (4 points) in the season series. Since winning five straight in mid-January, Abbotsford struggled, going 6-13-0-2 since that streak and going from leading the North Division and 3rd in the Western Conference, to third in the division and eighth in the conference. Over their last 13 games the Heat are 2-9-0-2, securing just six of a possible 26 points. Abbotsford has been defined by defense and goaltending as the team ranks 3rd in the AHL in goals-against (2.44) and 4th in shots allowed (27.32) per game. Offensively, the Heat rank 29th in goals per game (2.15) and 25th in shots on goal (28.24). Goalie Danny Taylor has enjoyed an excellent season and he currently leads the league in GAA (1.88) and is fourth in save percentage (0.926), while also playing in two NHL games for Calgary. Abbotsford has a solid record at home (19-10-2-1), but has struggled on the road (9-15-1-5). The Heat have played in more games (62) than any other team in the AHL entering Week 23 action and they are in danger of falling out of the final playoff spot in the West as ninth place Oklahoma City trails by one point in the standings and has four games in-hand.
Leading Scorer: Ben Walter (C) – 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) and -3 in 54 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Danny Taylor (G) – 1.88 GAA, 0.926 save pct., 14-10-2, 2 SO in 30 GP.
Who’s Hot: RW Akim Aliu (3-5-8) has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in his last two games. D Drew MacKenzie (1-3-4) has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) and a +3 rating in his last two games. C Quintin Laing (5-10-15) ranks eighth on the team in assists, tied for tenth in points and has two assists and a +2 rating in his last two games.
Friday, March 15 – 6:00 p.m. CT – Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, NC
@ Charlotte Checkers (35-20-2-3, 75 pts.)
Second Place, South Division
Sunday, March 17 – 2:00 p.m. CT – Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, NC
@ Charlotte Checkers (35-20-2-3, 75 pts.)
Second Place, South Division
Team Notes: Texas is 3-0-0-0 against the Checkers this season, although two of the Stars three wins required identical nine-round shootouts. Like Texas, Charlotte has been severely bitten by the injury bug lately and currently has nine players out with injuries. The Checkers lost four players over a two-game weekend series with Houston, including three players, Sean Dolan, Luke Pither and Michal Jordan in the first period of Sunday’s game against the Aeros. Down 2-0 after the first period, the Checkers rallied with only 15 skaters to tie the game at two, but then conceded three goals in the third period to fall 5-2 to Houston.  Injuries to players in Carolina, including starting goalie Cam Ward, has prompted the Hurricanes to recall goalie Justin Peters and forwards Riley Nash, Tim Wallace and Chris Terry. Without Peters, their workhorse in goal, John Muse has made four straight starts; he has a total of nine appearances this year for Charlotte. The Checkers will host the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday and then welcome Texas for a Friday-Sunday weekend series. Charlotte is just three-games above .500 at home this year (15-12-0-1), but have the second most road wins in the entire AHL (20-8-2-2). The Checkers boast excellent special teams, ranking second in the league in penalty kill (86.7%) and fifth in the league in power play (21.0%). Charlotte leads the AHL with the fewest power play goals allowed this season (31).
Leading Scorer: Chris Terry (LW) – 46 points (22 goals, 24 assists) and +5 in 55 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Justin Peters (G) – 2.29 GAA, 0.921 save pct., 22-12-1, 6 SO in 37 GP.
Who’s Hot: F David Rutherford (1-5-6) has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his last five games. C Jeremy Welsh (11-10-21) is tied for sixth on the team in goals, is tied for ninth in points and has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in his last five games. F David Marshall (1-1-2) has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in his first three games for Charlotte.
Week 22 Game Results:
March 5, 2013                        Chicago 4 @ Texas 3
March 8, 2013                        San Antonio 5 @ Texas 4 – SO
Stars Player of the Week: (Week 21)
Travis Morin – C – #23                    2 GP, 4 Points (1 G, 3 A), +1, 0 PIMs
Texas Stars center Travis Morin registered a team-high four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and had a +1 rating in the two games of Week 23. The Brooklyn, Park, Minnesota native factored in all three Stars goals as he posted a season-best three points on Tuesday against Chicago. Morin scored his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at one in the first period and then assisted on two others. He added another assist on Friday night against San Antonio.  For the season Morin has 26 points (5 goals, 21 assists) in 43 games played. He is tied for second on the team in assists and ranks seventh in points.
Stars Quick Hits:
·         BLINK AND THE PUCK GOES IN – Tomas Vincour scored the Stars fastest goal to open a period this season on Friday night against San Antonio. Vincour scored a five-on-three power play goal just 19 seconds into the third period, beating the previous mark of 28 seconds set by Matt Fraser on December 31st at Oklahoma City, also in the third period.
·         FIRST PLACE AND WINLESS – Texas remains in first place in the Western Conference, even while suffering the team’s longest winless streak of the season. The Stars are 0-3-0-2 in their last five games, which is their longest stretch of the 2012-13 season without a win.
·         THE 500 CLUB – Stars center Toby Petersen played in his 500th career AHL game last Tuesday night against the Chicago Wolves at Cedar Park Center. The Bloomington, Minnesota native has 361 career AHL points (141 goals, 220 assists) and 149 penalty minutes in 499 AHL games. Petersen also recently played in his 900th career pro game.
·         MARATHON SHOOTOUTS – Texas set a new club record for longest shootout by going 12 rounds with the San Antonio Rampage last Friday, passing the previous record 11-round shootout set earlier this season on February 5th vs. Rockford. The Stars have racked up an AHL-leading 84 rounds in 11 total shootouts this season and average a league-high 7.64 rounds per shootout.
·         FIRST PERIOD DISPARITY – The Stars have a massive +161 shot differential (617-456) in the first period of games this season, but have a -3 goal differential (49-52). Overall Texas sports a +286 shot differential and a +21 goal differential this year.
·         THE CENTURY MARK – RW Colton Sceviour recorded his 100th career pro assist on Tuesday against Chicago and then followed up with his 100th career AHL assist on Friday vs. San Antonio. The Red Deer, Alberta native has 161 points (61 goals, 100 assists) in 278 career AHL games and has one assist in two career NHL games.
·         SCORE FIRST, SHOOTOUT LOSS? – Texas has gone 5-6 in shootouts this season and in the team’s six shootout defeats, five of them have come in games where the Stars have scored the first goal. Overall the Stars have a record of 17-1-0-5 when scoring first.
·         APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES: D Tyler Sloan needs 1 GP to reach his 400th career AHL game. LW Luke Gazdic is 1 GP away from his 250th career pro game and 7 GP away from his 250th career AHL game. LW Francis Wathier is 1 assist shy of his 100th career pro assist. D Carl Sneep is 1 GP away from recording his 150th career pro game. RW Bretton Cameron needs 2 points to record his 100th career pro point. RW Scott Glennie is 5 GP away from his 100th career pro game and 6 GP away from his 100th career AHL game. LW Mike Hedden is 8 GP shy of his 250th career pro game. RW Tomas Vincour is 8 GP shy of his 200th career pro game. D Gord Baldwin needs 9 GP to reach his 350th pro game. D Maxime Fortunus is 16 GP away from his 700th pro game.
Stars Week 22 Transactions
March 11 – ADD – Matt Fraser (LW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 11 – DELETE – Tomas Vincour (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 11 – DELETE – Doug Jones (RW) – Released from PTO, returned to Gwinnett (ECHL).
March 11 – DELETE – Jacob Johnston (D) – Released from ATO.
March 10 – ADD – Francis Wathier (LW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 8 – DELETE – Matt Fraser (LW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 6 – DELETE – Francis Wathier (LW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
Texas Stars Team Leaders:
Games Played:                 Toby Petersen (58)
Goals:                               Matt Fraser (27)
Assists:                             Jamie Oleksiak (23)
Points:                              Matt Fraser (39)
Plus/Minus:                      Jamie Oleksiak (+20)
Penalty Minutes:              Antoine Roussel (107)
Power Play Goals:           Matt Fraser (14)
Short Handed Goals:       Colton Sceviour (3)
Game-Winning Goals:     Colton Sceviour (4)
Shots:                               Matt Fraser (160)
Shooting Percentage:      Matt Fraser (16.9%)
Saves:                              Cristopher Nilstorp (715)
Wins:                                Cristopher Nilstorp (17)
GAA:                                Cristopher Nilstorp (2.23)
Save Percentage:            Richard Bachman (0.916)
Shutouts:                         Cristopher Nilstorp (4)
The Texas Stars conclude their five-game home stand on Wednesday, March 13th when they square off against the Abbotsford Heat at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center for an H-E-B Night and the last Winning Wednesday of the regular season. Pro-rated full and partial 2012-13 season seat packages are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.

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