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Stars Pull Within Two Points of First Place in Western Conference

Jan 8, 2014

Texas Hosts Abbotsford with Top Spot in West Division on the Line

2013-14 Record: 21-10-2-3, 47 points (13-2-0-1 Home, 8-8-2-2 Road), Second Place – West Division

Week 14 Recap:

The Texas Stars closed out 2013 and welcomed 2014 by taking two wins in three road games during their week 14 schedule. They began the week with a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Barons, rallying from a four-goal deficit on New Year’s Eve at Cox Convention Center. Former Stars’ goaltender Richard Bachman shined early in the game and by the mid-way point of the second period, the Barons led 5-1, including scoring two shorthanded goals against Texas. Then Mike Hedden notched his 11th goal of the season to spark the comeback as the Stars scored five unanswered goals to win the game. Trailing 5-2 going into the third period, rookie Taylor Peters scored just 1:15 into the frame and Chris Mueller found the net five minute later to cut the Barons’ lead to one. Mueller, who also scored earlier in the game, would complete his hat trick with 1:17 left in regulation to force overtime and then Colton Sceviour scored a power play goal a mere 46 seconds into the extra session to complete the dramatic come-from-behind victory. It was the largest comeback win in Texas Stars franchise history (down four goals) and capped off a phenomenal December (9-1-0-1).

Thursday night in North Carolina, facing the Charlotte Checkers for the first time this season, Texas did it again, rallying from a 3-1 hole to win 5-3 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Stars went a perfect two-for-two on the power play, Mike Hedden and Travis Morin each scored two goals, rookie Matej Stransky scored a power play goal and Cristopher Nilstorp made 29 saves on 32 shots to record his 10th win of the season.

In Friday’s rematch, Texas scored two more power play goals, but let a 2-1 first period lead slip away as the Stars lost 4-3 to Charlotte. Travis Morin, the AHL’s leading scorer, had a goal and two assists and defenseman Russ Sinkewich scored his first career AHL goal in the loss, which saw Texas allow its fifth shorthanded goal against this season and third in three games in Week 14.

Week 15 Preview:

Texas will play its first home games of the 2014 calendar year this weekend, hosting the West Division-leading Abbotsford Heat on Friday night and the Utica Comets made their first-ever appearance at Cedar Park Center on Saturday. Also this week, Texas added a veteran blue liner to the roster as defenseman Derek Meech signed an AHL contract. Meech has 144 career NHL games under his belt, with Detroit and Winnipeg, along with 356 career AHL games during his 10-year pro career.

Friday night, the Stars put their franchise-record seven-game home winning streak on the line against Abbotsford, which leads Texas by one point for first place in the West Division. Friday’s game, which starts at 7:30 p.m., is a $3 Beer & $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night and it is the Texas Stars Cell Phone Dot giveaway night.

Texas will welcome the Utica Comets for their second ever meeting and first in Cedar Park. Saturday’s game features the Travis Morin Mini-Bobblehead giveaway presented by Schlotzky’s, along with being another Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night.

C Travis Morin (19-27-46) leads the AHL in assists and points, is second in the league in goals and is on a four-game point streak with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) during that span. RW Colton Sceviour (22-15-37) leads the AHL in goals, is second in shots (132), is third in the league in points, is on a four-game goal streak (5 goals), a three-game assist streak (3 assists) and has eight points (5 goals, 3 assists) in his last four games. C Chris Mueller (15-19-34) is fourth in the AHL in points and is on a six-game point streak with eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) during that span. LW Curtis McKenzie (11-20-31) is tied for 10th in the league in points, ranks second in the AHL in rookie points and has eight assists in his last six games. LW Mike Hedden (13-12-25) ranks fourth on the team in goals, fifth in assist and has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) and a +4 rating in his last six games.

Week 15 Schedule:
(All games are broadcast LIVE over the Internet at www.TexasStarsHockey.com and the free radio button of www.ahllive.com and can be viewed via internet pay-per-view video on www.ahllive.com. All times listed in Central Time)

Friday, January 10 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Abbotsford Heat (23-12-1-1, 48 pts.)
First Place, West Division
Team Notes: The Abbotsford Heat lead the West Division and are second in the Western Conference with 48 points in their first 37 games of the season. After being blown out by Texas 9-3 on October 20th, the Heat won 10 of their next 11 games and went 17-3-1-0 in the 21 games following that defeat, including a 7-3 revenge win over the Stars on November 13th at Cedar Park Center. Abbotsford has cooled slightly, going 3-6-0-0 in their last nine games, including losing its third straight game on Tuesday night 5-1 at San Antonio. Goaltender Joni Ortio leads the league in shootout save percentage (1.000; 7-for-7), is tied for second in the AHL in wins (15) and has started 10 of the team’s last 12 games. Abbotsford has eight players with 20 or more points this season, which is tied with Providence for the most in the AHL (Texas is tied for fourth with six players). The Heat boast the third best power play in the league (24.0%), but rank 28th in penalty kill (77.2%). Abbotsford leads the AHL with the lowest penalty minutes per game average (11.84), with Texas in second place (13.00), although the Stars have 10 fewer minor penalties and six more major penalties. The Heat are the only AHL team without a 10-minute misconduct this year.
Leading Scorer: Ben Street (C) – 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) and a -4 in 29 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Joni Ortio (G) – 2.32 GAA, 0.921 save pct., 15-4-0, 1 SO in 20 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Max Reinhart (7-17-24) ranks sixth on the team in points and has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) and a +2 rating in his last six games. C Ben Street (16-16-32) is tied for third in the AHL in goals, is tied for sixth in points and has six assists and a +1 rating in his last five games. C Corban Knight (9-17-26) ranks second on the team and is tied for fifth amongst AHL rookies in points and has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last six games. LW Ben Hanowski (11-14-25) is tied for fourth on the team in points and has four points (2 goals, 2 assist) and a +1 rating in his last six games.

Saturday, January 11 – 7:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Utica Comets (11-18-1-2, 25 pts.)
Fifth Place, North Division
Team Notes: The Utica Comets have just one victory in their last five games (1-3-0-1) and have been out-scored 21-10 during that span. However, they are 5-4-0-1 in their last ten. After starting the season winless in their first ten games (0-8-1-1), the Comets have since posted an 11-10-0-1 record (0.523). This will be the first ever visit by Utica to the Cedar Park Center. When the two teams met for the first time on November 16th in New York, the Comets ranked 22nd in the AHL in power play and 24th in penalty kill; they are now 9th in power play (18.8%), but have dropped to 30th in penalty kill (74.0%). Utica currently has four players called-up to Vancouver: Darren Archibald, Benn Ferrierio, Joacim Eriksson and Yannick Weber. With Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo out with an injury for 1-2 weeks, it is likely that Eriksson will not make the trip to Texas, thus Joe Cannata would be expected to get the nod for the Comets this weekend.
Leading Scorer: Pascal Pelletier (C) – 28 points (7 goals, 21 assists) and a +1 in 28 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Joacim Eriksson (G) – 2.84 GAA, 0.905 save pct., 8-11-1, 2 SO in 21 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Pascal Pelletier (7-21-28) leads the team in assists and points and is on a three-game point streak with five points (2 goals, 3 assists) during that span. RW Alexandre Grenier (10-11-21) is tied for the team lead in goals, is third in points and has seven points (5 goals, 2 assists) in his last six games. D Alex Biega (1-7-8) has four assists and a +2 rating in his last five games.

Week 14 Game Results:

December 31, 2013                           Texas 6 @ Oklahoma City 5 – OT
January 2, 2014                                 Texas 5 @ Charlotte 3
January 3, 2014                                 Texas 3 @ Charlotte 4

Stars Player of the Week: (Week 14)

Travis Morin – C – #23                                   3 GP, 7 points (3 G, 4 A), Even, 2 PIMs
Center Travis Morin continued his torrid pace in Week 14 as he piled up a team-high seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in three games. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota native began the week with two assists, including the primary helper on the game-winning goal in overtime, as Texas rallied from a 5-1 deficit to win 6-5 at Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve. Thursday night at Charlotte, Morin scored twice, including the game-tying goal, as the Stars rallied from a 3-1 second period hole to beat the Checkers 5-3. In Friday’s rematch at Time Warner Cable Arena, he had a game-high three points (1 goal, 2 assists) as Texas fell short 4-3. On the season, Morin leads the AHL in points (46) and assists (27) and ranks second in goals (19) in 30 games played. He also leads the league in power play points (22) and power play assists (16) and has a 1.53 points-per-game average. Morin is also currently on a four-game point streak, with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) during that span and has recorded at least one point in 26 of his 30 AHL games played this year.

Stars Quick Hits:

·         EPIC COMEBACK – Texas rallied from a 5-1 second period deficit on New Year’s Eve to beat the Oklahoma City Barons 6-5 in overtime last Tuesday night at Cox Convention Center. Overcoming a four-goal deficit was the biggest come-from-behind victory in team history, surpassing several rallies from three-goals down.

·         SCEVIOUR STREAK – Colton Sceviour tied teammate Travis Morin for the longest Texas Stars goal streak of the 2013-14 season when he scored for the fourth consecutive game last Friday at Charlotte. Sceviour’s current streak withstood two separate NHL call-ups to Dallas, forcing him to miss a combined seven AHL games. It began on December 7th against Iowa and he has scored five goals during that span. The Stars’ franchise record goal streak is five games, held by Warren Peters (2009-10) and Tomas Vincour (2011-12).

·         BACK-TO-BACK COMEBACKS – Following their thrilling 6-5 overtime win on Tuesday night at Oklahoma City, Texas rallied from behind for the second straight game and beat Charlotte 5-3 Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Arena. It was the first two victories for the Stars this season when trailing entering the third period. Texas is now 2-9-1-0 when trailing after two periods.

·         DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS – The Texas Stars are 13-2-0-1 at Cedar Park Center this season and are currently on a seven-game home winning streak and an eight-game home point streak (7-0-0-1, 15 pts.). The Stars lead the AHL in home point percentage (0.844) and home goal differential (+29) and are tied for the league lead in points on home ice (27) and home wins (13).

·         TRICENTENNIAL – Captain Maxime Fortunus played in his 300th career AHL game in a Texas Stars uniform last Thursday night at Charlotte. The Stars’ defenseman has 122 points (32 goals, 90 assists) and 94 penalty minutes in 301 career games for Texas, part of his 597 career AHL games with Texas, the Houston Aeros and the Manitoba Moose.

·         POINTS LEADER – Center Travis Morin recorded his 250th career AHL point on Thursday at Charlotte when he scored in the first period, the first of two goals on the night. Morin has 254 career points (86 goals, 168 assists) in 314 career AHL games. He currently leads the league in points (46) and assists (27) and ranks second in goals (19) in 30 games played this year for Texas.

·         APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – D Maxime Fortunus is 3 GP away from his 600th career AHL game and 3 points away from his 200th career AHL point. D Jyrki Jokipakka is 2 GP from his 100th career pro game. C Toby Petersen is 5 GP shy of his 550th career AHL game and 7 GP shy of his 950th career pro game. D William Wrenn is 3 GP away from his 100th career pro game. LW Mike Hedden needs 6 GP to reach his 300th career pro game and needs 3 pts. to reach his 100th career AHL point. LW Francis Wathier is 5 points shy of his 200th career pro point and 3 assists shy of his 100th career AHL assist. D Derek Meech needs 1 point to reach his 150th career pro point and 3 assists to reach his 100th career AHL assist.

Stars Week 14 Transactions:

January 5 – ADD – Chris Mueller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
January 4 – DELETE – Chris Mueller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
January 3 – ADD – Colton Sceviour (RW) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
January 2 – DELETE – Colton Sceviour (RW) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
January 1 – DELETE – Etienne Boutet (D) – Placed on team suspension.
January 1 – ADD – Etienne Boutet (D) – Recalled from loan to Idaho (ECHL).
December 30 – ADD – Derek Meech (D) – Signed SPC.

Texas Stars Team Leaders:

Games Played:                      Justin Dowling & Brett Ritchie (36)
Goals:                                    Colton Sceviour (22)
Assists:                                  Travis Morin (27)
Points:                                   Travis Morin (46)
Plus/Minus:                           Chris Mueller (+10)
Penalty Minutes:                   Curtis McKenzie (53)
Power Play Goals:                Colton Sceviour (9)
Short Handed Goals:            Five Players Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals:          Colton Sceviour (4)
Shots:                                   Colton Sceviour (132)
Shooting Percentage:           Travis Morin (18.6%)
Saves:                                   Cristopher Nilstorp (581)
Wins:                                     Cristopher Nilstorp (10)
GAA:                                     Jack Campbell (1.40)
Save Percentage:                 Jack Campbell (0.947)
Shutouts:                              Josh Robinson & Allen York (1)

The Texas Stars return to action on Friday, January 10th to host the West Division-leading Abbotsford Heat for a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Friday’s game against the Heat is a $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night and is the Stars Cell Phone Dot giveaway. 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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