Stars Leading Western Conference with 17 Games To Go

Mar 12, 2014

Texas Hosts Charlotte Tonight; Travels to Chicago for Two-Game Weekend Series

2013-14 Record: 36-16-3-5, 80 points (22-6-0-1 Home, 14-10-3-4 Road), First Place – West Division

Week 23 Recap:

The Texas Stars kicked off the 23rd week of the season by traveling up to British Columbia to take on the Abbotsford Heat in a crucial West Division showdown at Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre. Last Tuesday morning, the Stars defeated the Heat 3-1 in front of almost 7,000 middle school kids in attendance. Goaltender Jack Campbell shined in the game, allowing only a Sven Baertschi goal 16 minutes into the first period; he would finish the game stopping 23-of-24 shots for his sixth win of the season. Dustin Jeffrey scored twice, tallying his first goal in a Texas uniform with 39 seconds left in the first period to tie the game and then scoring again in the second to give the Stars the lead. Rookie Brendan Ranford assisted on both goals, while fellow rookie Brett Ritchie scored halfway through the third period to secure the win for Texas.

The Stars came out on top again on Wednesday night, but it took overtime to claim the two points. Travis Morin opened the scoring on the power-play seven minutes into the first period, but just two minutes later, Sven Baertschi also cashed in on the power play, scoring his second in as many games against the Stars to tie the game. With 90 seconds left in the second period, Jamie Oleksiak fired a blazing wrist shot the beat Heat goaltender Olivier Roy giving the Stars the lead. Then with just 18 seconds left in the frame, Scott Glennie scored on a two-on-one rush with Brendan Ranford to send Texas to the intermission with a 3-1 advantage. Abbotsford was able to battle its way back with goals from Blair Jones and Brett Olson, which sent the game to overtime. Defensemen Cameron Gaunce notched the game-winner two minutes into the extra session, giving the Stars the victory, two-points in the standing, and first place in the Western Conference. Cristopher Nilstorp stopped 32-of-33 shots to record his 21st win of the season.

The Stars traveled back home to battle the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday. Dustin Jeffrey scored his third goal in three games seven minutes into the first period. Colton Sceviour notched his AHL-leading 32nd goal of the season with a power-play goal at 4:51 of the second period. A mere 1:28 into the third period, Patrik Nemeth scored his first goal of the season, and second of his AHL career, to give the Stars a 3-0 lead. Jeffrey’s goal was all that Texas would need as Jack Campbell stopped all 23 shots he faced for his seventh win and first shutout of the season, his fourth career AHL shutout. The Stars’ third victory in a row kept them in first place in the Western Conference and stretched their lead in the West Division over Abbotsford to seven points.

Week 23 Preview:

The Stars are now on a season-high seven-game point streak (6-0-0-1) and look to try to make it four wins in a row on home ice as they close out their regular season series with the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday, March 12th at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Park Center. The game is the final Winning Wednesday presented by H-E-B of the 2013-14 season. Texas will then embark on a three-game, seven-day road trip on Friday and will close out their Week 24 schedule with a two-game weekend series with the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena. The Stars will first battle the Wolves on Saturday, March 15th at 7:00 p.m. and then again on Sunday, March 16th at 3:00 p.m.

The big news heading into Week 24 was the transaction on Sunday, when Dallas reassigned Original Texas Star Francis Wathier to the Milwaukee Admirals, while the Nashville Predators reciprocated by reassigning left wing Kevin Henderson from Milwaukee to Texas. Wathier had been a frequent healthy scratch lately due to the Stars issue of having too many veterans on the on roster. Henderson, a non-vet, helps to alleviate that problem.

C Travis Morin (29-45-74) leads the AHL in points, ranks second in the league in assists and power-play points (36), is third in goals and has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in his last 16 games. RW Colton Sceviour (32-31-63) leads the AHL in goals and shots (228), tied for first in game-winning goals (6), ranks third in points and has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in his last 11 games. LW Curtis McKenzie (21-34-55)  leads all AHL rookies in points and power-play points (29), ranks seventh in the AHL in points, second on the team in assists, third in goals and has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in his last 11 games. C Dustin Jeffrey (3-2-5) is currently on a three-game point streak and has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) during that span.

Week 24 Schedule:
(All games are broadcast LIVE over the Internet at www.TexasStarsHockey.com and the free radio button on the schedule page 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 12 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Charlotte Checkers (29-27-1-2, 61 pts.)
Fourth Place, West Division
·         Team Notes: The Charlotte Checkers currently sit in 10th place of the Western Conference and are just five points back of the eighth and final playoff spot. Despite having a winning record within the division (13-9-1-1), the Checkers are in fourth place in the West Division. Over their last 10 games, Charlotte has gone 6-3-0-1, including a four-game winning streak until it was snapped by Texas on March 8th. Offensively the Checkers boast great stats, but have been lacking on defense this season. They are ranked 11th in the AHL in goals for (3.02) and sixth in shots for (32.41), but rank 27th in goals against (3.22) and 26th in shots against (32.39). On special teams, Charlotte has the second best power-play (22.0%) ranked only behind the Texas Stars (27.8%), but on the penalty-kill they rank 26nd in the league (79.4%). Zach Boychuk (53), Chris Terry (52) and Aaron Palushaj (52) all rank in the top 12 in the AHL in points, which is second to only Texas who has four players in the top 12. Goaltender Justin Peters, who went 2-1-1 in four games with the Checkers, and defensemen Ryan Murphy, who tallied 17 assists in 16 games, were both called up to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th and 6th respectively.
·         Leading Scorer: Zach Boychuk (LW) – 53 points (27 goals, 26 assists) and a -11 rating in 52 GP.
Leading Goaltender: John Muse (G) – 2.80 GAA, 0.912 save pct., 19-11-0 and 3 SO in 32 GP.
Who’s Hot: LW Zach Boychuk (27-26-53) leads the team in goals and points, is tied for first in the AHL in power-play goals (14), ranks fourth in goals, ninth in points and has eight points (4 goals, 5 assists) in his last six games. LW Chris Terry (20-32-52) is tied for the team lead in assists, is tied for second in goals, is tied for 11th in the AHL in points and has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in his last seven games. RW Aaron Palushaj (20-32-52) is tied for the team lead in assists, is tied for second in goals, is tied for 11th in the AHL in points and has eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in his last five games.

Saturday, March 15 – 7:00 p.m. – Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL
@ Chicago Wolves (35-18-4-2, 76 pts.)
Second Place, Midwest Division


Sunday, March 16 – 3:00 p.m. – Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL
@ Chicago Wolves (35-18-4-2, 76 pts.)
Second Place, Midwest Division
·         Team Notes: The Chicago Wolves currently rank second in the Midwest Division and fourth in the Western Conference. With a home record of 18-7-0-0, the Wolves are tied for fifth in the AHL for home wins. Over their last ten games, Chicago has gone 7-2-1-0, including sweeping both games in Abbotsford against the Heat winning 7-2 on March 8th and 4-1 on March 9th. Against the West Division, the Wolves have gone 11-7-0-0, but have gone 0-2-0-0 against the Stars. Chicago ranks third in the AHL in goals against (2.49), 10th in goals for (3.03), 6th in shots against (28.44) and 12th in shots for (30.59). The Wolves are the fifth least penalized team in the AHL (13.22) and are tied for fifth with the Stars in the league for penalty-kill (85.7%). Though on the power-play, Chicago has the worst rated power-play in the league (12.7%). Goaltender Jake Allen leads the AHL in wins (26), ranks second in GAA (2.09) and fifth in save percentage (0.925). On March 5th, 11-year NHL veteran Joe Corvo was assigned to Chicago from the Ottawa Senators.
·         Leading Scorer: Ty Rattie (RW) – 38 points (23 goals, 15 assists) and a +4 rating in 58 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Jake Allen (G) – 2.09 GAA, 0.025 save pct., 26-13-2 and 4 SO in 41 GP.
Who’s Hot: RW Ty Rattie (23-15-38) leads the team in goals and points, ranks fourth in the AHL in rookie goals and has seven points (5 goals, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in his last 10 games. RW Shane Harper (10-13-23) is tied for sixth on the team in points, is currently on a three-game assist streak and has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) and a +7 rating in his last 10 games. RW Michael Davies (6-12-18) is currently on a three-game point streak and has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last five games.

Week 23 Game Results:

March 4, 2014                                    Texas 3 @ Abbotsford 1
March 5, 2014                                    Texas 4 @ Abbotsford 3 – OT
March 8, 2014                                    Charlotte 0 @ Texas 3

Stars Player of the Week: (Week 22)

Dustin Jeffrey – C – #11                                3 GP, 4 points (3 G, 1 A), +3, 0 PIMs, 2 GWGs

Center Dustin Jeffrey had three stellar games last week for the Texas Stars. On March 4th, against the Abbotsford Heat, Jeffrey tallied his first and second goals in a Texas uniform, including the game-winning goal. In Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Checkers, Jeffrey’s first period goal also counted as the game-winner as the Stars shutout the Checkers 3-0. The Sarnia, Ontario native has played in 15 games with Texas this season and has collected five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a +4 rating since being assigned by the Dallas Stars.

Stars Quick Hits:

·         MMM MMM GOOD! – Since his return, goaltender Jack Campbell has gone 2-0-0 with one shutout after missing 27 games with an injury. In those games, Campbell has only allowed one goal and has a save percentage of 0.988. He is currently carrying a shutout streak of 104:10, dating back to the first period of the March 4th game at Abbotsford. For the season overall, Campbell has a record of 7-0-0 with a 1.12 GAA and a 0.956 save percentage.

·         WE’RE GOIN’ STREAKING! – The Texas Stars are currently on a seven-game point streak, which is their longest of the year. Since February 17th, the Stars have gone 6-0-0-1 (excluding the suspended game against San Antonio on March 1st). Texas’ franchise record for a consecutive point streak is 12 games, set during the inaugural season when the Stars went 9-0-2-1 from October 23, 2009 to November 18, 2009.

·         WE’LL GO AHEAD AND SCORE FIRST – This season, the Stars are 29-6-2-4 when they score first, which ties them with the Manchester Monarchs for most wins when scoring first in the AHL. Texas is ranked second in first period scoring (62) and has the best goal differential in the first period (+20). During the 2009-10 season, the Stars went 35-5-1-1 when scoring first.

·         FINDING NEMO – Patrik Nemeth scored his first goal of the season, the second of his AHL career, last Saturday in the third period against the Charlotte Checkers. Nemeth scored his first goal on February 12, 2013 against the Houston Aeros. Since coming over from AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, Nemeth has appeared in 76 games in two seasons with Texas, registering 2 goals, 16 assists, and a +21 rating.

·         STARS REACH 80-POINT MARK – Through 60 games this season, the Stars have the second most points in the AHL (80). Manchester sit in first place overall (86), but Texas has three games in-hand over the Monarchs. The Stars are on pace to collect 102 points this season, which would be a franchise best. Back in 2009-10, Texas totaled 99 points and reached the Calder Cup Finals.

·         TWO OUT OF THREE – Two of Dustin Jeffrey’s three goals last week registered as game-winners for the Stars. Jeffrey notched the deciding goal in the second period against Abbotsford on Tuesday and in the first period against Charlotte on Saturday. He is the second Texas player this season to score two game-winning goals in one week. Colton Sceviour tallied game-winners during Week 10, on December 3, 2013 at Oklahoma City and December 7, 2013 vs. Iowa.

·         THE 750 CLUB – Defenseman Maxime Fortunus played in his 750th career pro game last Tuesday at Abbotsford. The Stars’ captain has appeared in 752 games in his 11-year career, scoring 246 points (65 goals, 181 assists) and 309 penalty minutes. Fortunus has skated in 9 career NHL games, all with Dallas, and 620 career AHL games with Houston, Manitoba and Texas, including 324 games with the Stars.

·         APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – D Maxime Fortunus is 1 assist away from his 150th career AHL assist and 4 points away from his 250th career pro point. RW Colton Sceviour is 1 goal away from his 100th career AHL goal and is 2 GP away from his 350th career AHL game. C Travis Morin is 1 assist from his 300th career pro assist, is 4 goals from his 100th career AHL goal and is 8 GP from his 500th career pro game. LW Mike Hedden is 2 points away from his 200th career pro point and 4 GP away from his 200th career AHL game. RW Scott Glennie needs 1 GP to reach his 150th career pro game and 2 GP to reach his 150th career AHL game. C Dustin Jeffrey is 3 GP away from his 200th career AHL game. D Derek Meech is 5 GP shy of his 550th career pro game. D Hubert Labrie needs 7 GP to record his 100th career AHL game.

Stars Week 23 Transactions:

March 12 – ADD – Chris Muller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 11 – ADD – Chris Culligan (C) – Signed to ATO.
March 11 – DELETE – Chris Muller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 11 – DELETE – Colton Sceviour (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 9 – DELETE – Cristopher Nilstorp (G) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 9 – DELETE – Francis Wathier (LW) – Reassigned by Dallas (NHL) to Milwaukee (AHL).
March 9 – ADD – Kevin Henderson (LW) – Reassigned by Nashville (NHL) from Milwaukee (AHL).
March 9 – ADD – Josh Robinson (G) – Recalled from loan to Idaho (ECHL).
March 5 – ADD – Chris Mueller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 5 – DELETE – Taylor Vause (C) – Returned on loan to Idaho (ECHL).
March 4 – DELETE – Chris Muller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).

Texas Stars Team Leaders:

Games Played:                    Mike Hedden & Curtis McKenzie (60)
Goals:                                  Colton Sceviour (32)
Assists:                                Travis Morin (45)
Points:                                  Travis Morin (74)
Plus/Minus:                          Travis Morin (+12)
Penalty Minutes:                  Cameron Gaunce (69)
Power Play Goals:               Chris Mueller (14)
Short Handed Goals:           Seven Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals:         Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots:                                  Colton Sceviour (228)
Shooting Percentage:          Mike Hedden (16.4%)
Saves:                                 Cristopher Nilstorp (1,020)
Wins:                                   Cristopher Nilstorp (21)
GAA:                                    Jack Campbell (1.12)
Save Percentage:                Jack Campbell (0.956)
Shutouts:                             Cristopher Nilstorp (2)

The Texas Stars are back in action at Cedar Park Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. as they complete their eight-game season series against the Charlotte Checkers. Wednesday’s game is the final Winning Wednesday presented by H-E-B of the 2013-14 regular season. Pro-rated full and partial 2013-14 Texas Stars Season Tickets 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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