Stars Sweep Barons, First AHL Team to Clinch Playoff Spot

Mar 25, 2014

Texas Carries Five-Game Winning Streak into Matchup with Hamilton

2013-14 Record: 41-17-3-5, 90 points (24-7-0-1 Home, 17-10-3-4 Road), First Place – West Division

Week 25 Recap:

The Texas Stars concluded their three-game Midwest Division road trip with a game against the Iowa Wild in Des Moines last Wednesday night. After sweeping the Chicago Wolves the previous weekend, the Stars looked to complete a sweep of the road trip and cling to first place in the Western Conference. Things looked good early when rookie Brendan Ranford scored on the very first shot of the game on a two-on-one with Dustin Jeffrey for his 10th goal of the season. Then just 77 seconds into the second period, Ranford notched his second of the game to give Texas a 2-0 lead. But the Wild would not go quietly, as they scored two goals in the last eight minutes of the second period. Brad Winchester scored off a one-timer on the power-play and Tyler Graovac scored on a breakaway. The game remained tied for most of the third period until rookie Brett Ritchie deflected a shot from Justin Dowling through Iowa goaltender Johan Gustafsson’s pads to give Texas a 3-2 advantage with 2:44 left in regulation. Kevin Henderson would tack on an insurance goal with one minute left to secure the 4-2 victory. Campbell stopped 12-of-14 shots for his ninth win of the season. With the victory, it marked the 200th Texas Stars’ win in franchise history, going 200-135-18-23 in five seasons.

On Friday, the Stars returned home to host division rival Oklahoma City for Military Appreciation Weekend. Former Texas Star Austin Fyten helped put the Barons on top first 7:06 into the game as he set up C.J. Stretch on a nice give-and-go. Texas would respond three minutes later with a Scott Glennie power-play goal on a beautiful spinning cross-crease backhand pass from rookie Curtis McKenzie. Oklahoma City would go back in front when Matthew Ford capitalized on a Texas turnover caused by a miscommunication behind the net. Again the Stars would respond when Dustin Jeffrey fired a wrist-shot from through a screen and past Barons’ goaltender and former Texas Star Richard Bachman. Though just 52 second later, Alex Lavoie, playing in his second career AHL game, put home a rebound past Texas netminder Cristopher Nilstorp to put Oklahoma City up 3-2 at the end of two periods. Midway through the third period, rookie Brett Ritchie launched a precision backhand that deflected off the right post and into the net to knot the game back up at three. Ritchie’s goal, his 17th of the season, was assisted by Mike Hedden and was Hedden’s 200th professional point. Just 2:50 into overtime, Jeffrey’s shot on net careened off the body of Glennie and found its way past Bachman, to give the Stars the 4-3 overtime win. Nilstorp stopped 34-of-37 shots to collect his 22nd win of the season and he surpassed 15,000 minutes played in his professional career.

The next evening Oklahoma City and Texas took to the ice again. The Barons would jump out to a 2-0 lead after one period, with goals from Travis Ewanyk and Matthew Ford. Just 2:44 into the second period, Patrik Nemeth would blast a slap-shot through Oklahoma City goaltender Laurent Brossoit for his second goal of the season. Travis Morin tied the game at two with 7:47 left in the period by winning the faceoff to himself and ripping a wrist-shot past Brossoit for his 30th of the season, becoming the third player in Texas Stars’ history to hit the 30-goal mark. Like the second period, the Stars would score quickly in the third period when Justin Dowling toe-dragged his way around Brossoit to put Texas ahead 3-2, but Andrew Miller would level the score at three 2:36 later. With 6:46 left in regulation, Dowling fired a seemingly harmless wrist shot towards the net that eluded Brossoit and slipped through his pads to put the Stars on top for good. Dowling’s second goal of the period would prove to be the game-winner and Travis Morin added an empty-net goal to lock up Texas’ 5-3 win and fifth win in a row. Jack Campbell stopped 31-of-34 shots to pick up his 10th win of the season.

Week 26 Preview:

The Texas Stars are the first team in the AHL to punch their ticket for the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Stars clinched a post-season berth on Sunday, when the ninth place Charlotte Checkers suffered a 4-2 home loss to the San Antonio Rampage at Time Warner Cable Arena. With a playoff spot guaranteed, Texas now turns its attention to defending its 2012-13 South Division title. The Stars’ magic number to clinch the 2013-14 West Division crown is down to 8 and they lead the second place Abbotsford Heat by 13 points with 10 regular season games remaining.

Texas will open Week 26 by hosting the Hamilton Bulldogs at Cedar Park Center for the first time this season on Tuesday, March 25th at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday’s game is another H-E-B Night and is the third of four regular season meetings between the Stars and Bulldogs.

The team will then travel down to San Antonio for the completion of the March 1st suspended game against the Rampage at AT&T Center on Thursday, March 27th at 7:00 p.m. Texas will complete its week with another game against Hamilton on Saturday, March 29th at 7:00 p.m. for First Responders Night presented by Capital EMS. Saturday’s game is another Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night, a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night and is the Stars’ Car Windshield Sun Shade giveaway courtesy of Capital EMS.

G Jack Campbell (10-1-0, 1.35, 0.947) has gone 5-1-0 with two shutouts in the month of March, posting a 1.31 GAA and 0.947 save percentage over seven games. C Travis Morin (31-47-78) leads the AHL in points, ranks second in goals and assists and is currently on a five-game point streak with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) during that span. RW Brett Ritchie (17-21-38) is currently on a three-game point streak with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating over that span. LW Kevin Henderson (10-10-20) has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) and a +5 rating in his last seven games. C Justin Dowling (7-30-37) is tied for fourth on the team in assists and has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) and a +4 rating over his last four games.

Week 26 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)

Tuesday, March 25 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (28-31-1-4, 61 pts.)
Fifth Place, North Division


Saturday, March 29 – 7:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (28-31-1-4, 61 pts.)
Fifth Place, North Division
·         Team Notes: The Hamilton Bulldogs have gone 3-2-0-0 since losing four straight games from March 7th to March 14th. With 12 games remaining, including nine straight on the road, the Bulldogs sit nine points back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This season, Hamilton and Texas have split their two previous matchups; the Bulldogs beat the Stars 5-1 on November 19th and Texas won 3-2 in overtime on February 15th. When playing on the road, Hamilton is 10-2-0-1 this season in one-goal games. Despite putting up the 13th best shots for per game in the AHL (30.33), the Bulldogs are ranked 28th in goals for per game (2.36). On defense, Hamilton ranks 12th in shots against (29.84) and 16th in goals allowed per game (2.91). While on special teams, the Bulldogs have the 29th ranked power-play (13.4%) and are tied for 18th on the penalty-kill (81.3%). Goaltender Devin Dubnyk was assigned to Hamilton by the Montreal Canadiens on March 5th, after Montreal acquired him in a trade deadline deal with the Nashville Predators for future considerations. Dubnyk acquired by Nashville on January 15th in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers for forward Matt Hendricks.
·         Leading Scorer: Martin St. Pierre (C) – 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists) and a -16 rating in 60 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski (G) – 2.36 GAA, 0.919 save pct., 19-14-2 and 1 SO in 37 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Martin St. Pierre (10-33-43) leads the team in points and assists and has eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in his last 11 games. C Gabriel Dumont (16-13-29) leads the team in goals and has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in his last 10 games. RW Sven Andrighetto (14-18-33) ranks second on the team in points and has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last 12 games.

Thursday, March 27 – 7:00 p.m. – AT&T Center – San Antonio, TX
at San Antonio Rampage (26-29-3-6, 61 pts.)
Fifth Place, West Division
·         Team Notes: Since the March 1st game between the San Antonio Rampage and the Texas Stars was suspended, the Rampage have gone 2-6-0-1 (0.167). With 12 games left on their schedule, including 10 at home, San Antonio sits nine points back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Rampage are 3-5-0-0 against the Stars this season, including two shootout wins. The last complete game between the two teams was a 4-2 victory for San Antonio on January 29th at Cedar Park Center. When trailing after two periods, the Rampage are tied for 3rd in the AHL with six wins, four of which have come at home. While at AT&T Center, San Antonio has the eighth best power-play in the AHL (21.4%), but has the 29th ranked road power-play (11.9%), averaging out for the 18th ranked overall power-play in the league (16.4%). On the penalty-kill, the Rampage are ranked 28th in the league (78.9%). San Antonio has the second highest average shots for per game (33.19), trailing only Texas (37.02). At the March 5th NHL trade deadline, the Florida Panthers sent goaltender Jacob Markstrom to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Roberto Luong and sent Tim Thomas to Dallas for Dan Ellis, prompting the Panthers to assign goalie Scott Clemmensen to San Antonio. Leading scorer, rookie Vincent Trocheck, was recalled by Florida on March 7th, part of 13 direct player transactions between the Panthers and Rampage since the trade deadline.
·         Leading Scorer: Bobby Butler (RW) – 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) and an even rating in 61 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Michael Houser (G) – 2.74 GAA, 0.912 save pct., 10-8-1 and 0 SO in 20 GP.
Who’s Hot: RW Bobby Butler (21-21-42) leads the team in goals and points and has 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) in his last 10 games. RW Jed Ortmeyer (12-14-26) has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and a +6 rating in his last three games. RW John McFarland (8-9-17) has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last 10 games. LW Quinton Howard (10-17-27) has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) and a +2 rating in his last 10 games before being recalled by the Florida Panthers on March 12th.

Week 25 Game Results:

March 19, 2014                                  Texas 4 @ Iowa 2
March 21, 2014                                  Oklahoma City 3 @ Texas 4 – OT
March 22, 2014                                  Oklahoma City 3 @ Texas 5

Stars Player of the Week: (Week 25)

Brett Ritchie – RW – #20                              3 GP, 4 points (2 G, 2 A), +3, 4 PIMs

After not scoring since March 4th, rookie right-wing Brett Ritchie piled up four points and a +3 rating in three games in Week 25, scoring twice and adding two assists. On Wednesday, March 19th at Iowa, Ritchie scored the game-winning goal by breaking a 2-2 tie with 2:44 left in regulation. Back at Cedar Park Center on Friday, March 21st against Oklahoma City, he tied the game with a scintillating backhand off the post and in halfway through the third period, forcing overtime and an eventual 4-3 Texas victory. Also on Friday, Ritchie tied his own franchise single-game record with 10 shots on goal, which he originally set on February 15th at Hamilton. Ritchie added two assists on Saturday, including on Justin Dowling’s game-winner. The Orangeville, ON native has put together a great rookie season accumulating 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) and a +2 rating in 61 games so far this season. His 194 shots on goal currently leads all AHL rookies and ranks tied for sixth overall in the league.

Stars Quick Hits:

·         STARS STREAKING – The Texas Stars are currently on a five-game winning streak, going undefeated since a 3-1 loss to Charlotte on March 12th. The franchise record for most consecutive wins is six, set initially during in the 2009-10 season and matched earlier this season, from December 3rd to December 18th.

·         ONE-MILLIONTH FAN – The Texas Stars passed the one million fan mark on Saturday against the Oklahoma City Barons. The attendance on Saturday was 6,439 as the Stars beat the Barons 5-3. In five seasons in the AHL, Texas has welcomed 1,000,912 fans into Cedar Park for 188 regular season games since the 2009-10 season, an all-time average of 5,324. The Stars have an all-time home record of 106-62-8-12 (232 pts., 0.617).

·         BICENTENNIAL, TWICE – Left wing Mike Hedden played in his 200th career AHL game on March 19th at Iowa. Two nights later against Oklahoma City, he notched 200th career professional point with an assist on Brett Ritchie’s third period goal. Hedden has 201 points (104 goals, 97 assists) in 325 career pro games, including 202 AHL contests with Texas, Grand Rapids, Rockford and Rochester, where he has registered 117 points (54 goals, 63 assists).

·         FIVE DOES THE TRICK – The Stars scored five or more goals in a game for the 19th time this season on Saturday with a 5-3 victory over Oklahoma City. It is a franchise single-season record and Texas is 19-0-0-0 in those games. During the inaugural 2009-2010 season, the Stars were 14-0-0-0 when scoring five or more goals.

·         THREE STRAIGHT FOR CAMPBELL – After suffering his first loss of the season on March 12th against the Charlotte Checkers, goaltender Jack Campbell has put together a three-winning streak, including his 10th victory of the season last Saturday at home vs. Oklahoma City. In 12 games this season for Texas, Campbell is 10-1-0 with a 1.35 goals-against average and a 0.947 save percentage.

·         RITCHIE TIES HIS RECORD – Rookie right wing Brett Ritchie amassed 10 shots on goal Friday against Oklahoma City, to equal his own single-game franchise record. Ritchie initially set the record on February 15th at Hamilton. Ritchie currently leads all AHL rookies with 194 shots, four shots ahead of teammate Curtis McKenzie (190), and is tied for sixth overall in the league in shots.

·         MORIN STREAKING, AGAIN – Center Travis Morin is currently on a five-game point streak, dating back to March 5th. This is the fourth time this season where Morin has put together a point streak of at least five-games. Morin had a 10-game point streak from October 5th to November 11th, a five-game streak from November 8th to November 23rd, a six-game streak from December 28th to January 11th and an eight-game streak from January 29th to February 16th.

·         AN OT WINNING STREAK? – The Stars have won each of their last three overtime games and are now 6-3 this season in contests that have been decided during the four-on-four extra session. Cameron Gaunce scored at 2:04 of overtime on March 5th in Abbotsford, Mike Hedden took just 35 seconds to beat Chicago on March 16th and Scott Glennie found the net at 2:50 of the extra period last Friday against Oklahoma City. Colton Sceviour currently leads the team with two overtime goals this year.

·         30-GOAL MARK FOR MORIN – Travis Morin’s goal in the second period of Saturday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Barons was his 30th goal of the season. That marks the fourth time a Texas Stars skater has reached 30 goals in a season, but Morin is the third player to do so. Matt Fraser scored 37 in 2011-2012, 33 in 2012-2013 and Colton Sceviour has scored 32 goals this year. Morin added an empty net goal in the final minute of Saturday’s win over the Barons, pulling him within one goal of Sceviour’s current AHL goals lead.

·         WIDE MARGINS – The Stars have eight wins this season by a margin of victory of five goals or more, which is the most in the AHL. The next best teams, Charlotte, Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Providence, are all tied with only four wins with a margin of victory of five or more. This year’s performance doubles the team’s franchise best of four wins by five or more goals, set during the 2009-2010 season.

·         THE 15,000 MARK – Goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp passed the 15,000 minutes played mark for his pro career during the first period of Friday’s home game against Oklahoma City. The Malmo, Sweden native has played 15,049 minutes over the span of 270 pro games in the SHL, Allsvenskan, AHL and NHL. In 79 career games, and 4,416 minutes, for Texas, Nilstorp is 41-25-7 with a 2.38 goals-against average, a 0.907 save percentage and six shutouts.

·         MEECH PASSES 550 – Defenseman Derek Meech played in his 550th career pro game on Friday against the Barons. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has played in 551 games during his 10-year pro career, including 384 AHL games, 144 NHL games and 23 KHL games. Meech has 140 points (31 goals, 109 assists) and 302 penalty minutes in his AHL career with Grand Rapids, St. John’s and Texas.

·         APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – C Taylor Vause needs 2 GP to record his 100th career pro game. LW Mike Hedden is 3 assists away from his 100th pro assist. D Maxime Fortunus is 1 assist away from his 150th career AHL assist and 4 points away from his 250th career pro point. C Travis Morin is 4 GP away from his 500th career pro game and 2 goals away from his 100th career AHL game. LW Kevin Henderson is 5 GP from his 300th career pro game and 11 GP from his 300th AHL career game; he is 3 points shy of his 100th pro point and 4 points shy of his 100th AHL point. C Justin Dowling is 7 shy of his 200th career pro game and 1 assist shy of his 100th career pro assist. D Jamie Oleksiak is 7 GP away from his 150th career pro game. D Hubert Labrie needs 7 GP to record his 100th career AHL game.

Stars Week 25 Transactions:

March 23 – ADD – Chris Mueller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 23 – DELETE – Dustin Jeffrey (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 21 – DELETE – Chris Culligan (C) – Released from ATO.
March 19 – DELETE – Josh Robinson (C) – Returned on loan to Idaho (ECHL).

Texas Stars Team Leaders:

Games Played:               Mike Hedden & Curtis McKenzie (66)
Goals:                             Colton Sceviour (32)
Assists:                           Travis Morin (47)
Points:                            Travis Morin (78)
Plus/Minus:                     Cameron Gaunce, Travis Morin & Patrik Nemeth (+13)
Penalty Minutes:             Curtis McKenzie (74)
Power Play Goals:          Chris Mueller (14)
Short Handed Goals:      Eight Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals:    Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots:                             Colton Sceviour (228)
Shooting Percentage:     Travis Morin (16.2%)
Saves:                             Cristopher Nilstorp (1,054)
Wins:                               Cristopher Nilstorp (22)
GAA:                               Jack Campbell (1.35)
Save Percentage:           Jack Campbell (0.947)
Shutouts:                        Jack Campbell & Cristopher Nilstorp (2)

The Texas Stars welcome the Hamilton Bulldogs to Cedar Park Center on Tuesday, March 25th at 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Tuesday’s game is another H-E-B Night, where fans can bring non-perishable food items to the Cedar Park Center Box Office to receive $5 off their next ticket purchase. 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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