Texas on Top of West Division with 19 Games RemainingMar 4, 2014
Stars Complete Five-Game Road Trip in Abbotsford, Return Home Saturday
2013-14 Record: 33-16-3-5, 74 points (21-6-0-1 Home, 12-10-3-4 Road), First Place – West Division
Week 22 Recap:
The Texas Stars played their first of two morning games this season when they traveled to Cleveland to take on the Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday, February 25th at 10:30 a.m. ET. Texas won the special team’s battle, going 2-for-7 on the power-play and holding Lake Erie to 0-for-6 with the man-advantage as the Stars won the game 2-1. Mike Hedden snuck a shot past Monster’s goaltender Calvin Pickard for his 20th goal of the season at 15:12 of the first period. Derek Meech and Justin Dowling tallied the assists, including Dowling’s 12th assist in 12 games. The Monsters were able to tie the game at one when Garrett Meurs scored 3:35 later. Texas’ top power-play unit converted a power-play chance at 12:57 of the second period when rookie Curtis McKenzie scored his 19th goal of the season from Colton Sceviour and Travis Morin. Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp stopped all 22 shots he faced during the final two periods and 32-of-33 overall for his third straight win and 20th of the season.
The next night the Stars and Monsters took to the ice again for the second of four meetings this season. Lake Erie left-wing Michael Schumacher started the scoring with his third goal of the season at 8:43 of the first period. Rookie Curtis McKenzie tied the game for Texas at 14:34 of the second period with his 20th goal of the season. The Stars’ league-leading power-play lifted them to a 2-1 lead just 3:41 into the third period. Chris Mueller scored his AHL-leading 14th power-play goal, his 24th goal of the year. Lake Erie tied the game at 7:24 when defensemen Stefan Elliott scored on the power-play. In the shootout, Calvin Pickard stopped all four Texas shooters and the Monsters got scoring from Colin Smith Michael Schumacher to the win 3-2.
The Stars are currently leading the West Division, but a rare circumstance restricted their efforts to remain on top of the Western Conference. The Stars traveled to AT&T Center last Saturday and built a quick 2-0 lead over the San Antonio Rampage as Scott Glennie and Curtis McKenzie each scored in the game’s first three minutes. However, the ice conditions deteriorated rapidly and multiple patches of the exposed concrete slab developed. After several stoppages, where the ice crew attempted to mend the holes, officials suspended play at 7:59 of the first period due to unsafe ice conditions; a make-up date for the resumption of play has not yet been determined. Since the game was unable to be completed, Texas remained at 74 points and was leap-frogged by Grand Rapids, who swept a two game weekend at Abbotsford, including a 5-2 victory over the Heat Saturday night at AESC.
The other big news for the Stars on Saturday was the return to action of goaltender Jack Campbell. The second-year net-minder last played on December 18th at Cedar Park Center against San Antonio and had missed the team’s last 27 games due to injury. Campbell stopped both shots he faced at AT&T Center on Saturday, just his sixth appearance for Texas this season. Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp had started Texas’ previous five games, and eight of the last ten, posting a 5-1-2 record over that span. Nilstorp is currently tied for third in the league in wins (20), ranks fourth in minutes played (2,145:15) and fifth in saves (987).
Week 23 Preview:
The West Division-leading Texas Stars will complete their a five-game road trip this week as they travel to British Columbia to take on the Abbotsford Heat at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Tuesday, March 4th at 12:30 p.m. CT and then again on Wednesday, March 5th at 9:00 p.m. CT. Texas will return to Cedar Park Center on Saturday, March 8th to face the Charlotte Checkers with a 7:00 p.m. face off. Saturday’s game is another Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night, a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night and is the Stars’ Team Poster giveaway. There will also be a post-game autograph session.
C Travis Morin (28-44-72) leads the AHL in points, ranks second in assists, third in goals and has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in his last 13 games. RW Colton Sceviour (31-31-62) leads the AHL in goals, is tied for first in game-winning goals (6), second in shots (213), third in points, is on a five-game assist and point streak and has 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in his last 10 games. LW Curtis McKenzie (21-33-54) leads all AHL rookies in points, ranks seventh overall in points, is on a five-game point streak and has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in his last 10 games. C Chris Mueller (24-28-52) is tied for first in the AHL in power-play goals (14), ranks eighth in the AHL in points and has nine points (3 goals, 8 assists) in his last 10 games. LW Mike Hedden (20-22-42) ranks fifth on the team in points and has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in his last 12 games.
Week 23 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 4 – 12:30 p.m. – Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre – Abbotsford, BC
@ Abbotsford Heat (33-18-4-2, 72 pts.)
Second Place, West Division
Wednesday, March 5 – 9:00 p.m. – Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre – Abbotsford, BC
@ Abbotsford Heat (33-18-4-2, 72 pts.)
Second Place, West Division
Team Notes: The Abbotsford Heat are winless in their last four games (0-3-0-1) and were passed by Texas last week for the top spot in the West Division. Abbotsford is 2-4-1-1 (6 pts.) in its last eight games and currently trail the Stars by three points with 19 games remaining in the 2013-14 regular season. The Heat were beaten in back-to-back home games by the now Western Conference-leading Grand Rapids Griffins at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, 4-3 in a shootout on February 28th and 5-2 on March 1st. Since their last meeting with the Stars, the Heat have lost goaltender Joni Ortio, defenseman Derek Smith and leading goal-scorer Markus Granlund all to NHL recall with the Calgary Flames, while Lane MacDermid (LW) was placed on team suspension for failing to return to the team after the AHL All-Star Break and has since voiced his intent to retire from professional hockey. While Abbotsford has resided in first place in the conference on multiple occasions this season, and is only three points behind Grand Rapids, the team currently finds itself in fifth place, tied in points (72) with the Chicago Wolves and would have to travel to Chicago as the lower seed were the playoffs to start today.
Leading Scorer: Max Reinhart (C) – 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) and an Even rating in 50 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Joey MacDonald (G) – 2.99 GAA, 0.910 save pct., 5-9-0 and 0 SO in 15 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Corey Locke (6-29-35) leads the team in assists and is on a four-game assist streak and has 10 assists and a +1 rating in his last 10 games. C Max Reinhart (17-28-45) leads the team and ranks 18th in the AHL in points, is second in assists and has four goals in his last two games. LW Sven Baertschi (6-9-15) has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his last five games. C Brett Olson (9-25-34) has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and a +2 rating in his last six games.
Saturday, March 8 – 7:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Charlotte Checkers (26-26-1-2, 55 pts.)
Fifth Place, West Division
· Team Notes: The Charlotte Checkers currently sit in 11th place of the Western Conference and are seven points back of the eighth and final playoff spot. Despite having a winning record within the division (11-8-1-1), the Checkers are in fifth place in the West Division. Over their last 10 games, Charlotte has gone 4-4-1-1, including winning their last two games against the Hershey Bears at Giant Center in Hershey, outscoring the Bears 10-4 last weekend. The Checkers are in the middle of a 10-game road trip and will close with four games in Texas. Charlotte will alternate games between the Stars and the San Antonio Rampage from March 7th to March 12th. The Checkers are 11th in the AHL in goals per game (3.02) and fifth in shots per game (32.53), but rank 28th in goals against (3.24) and 26th in shots against average (32.25). Charlotte has the second best power-play (22.3%) in the league, but on the penalty-kill rank 22nd (80.4%). Zach Boychuk (49), Chris Terry (49) and Aaron Palushaj (47) are all in the top 20 in the AHL in points. Since being sent down on a conditioning assignment by the Carolina Hurricanes, goaltender Justin Peters has gone 2-1-1 in four games with a 2.21 GAA and 0.931 save pct.
· Leading Scorer: Zach Boychuk (LW) – 49 points (27 goals, 22 assists) and a -13 rating in 48 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Leading Goaltender: John Muse (G) – 2.76 GAA, 0.912 save pct., 17-11-0 and 3 SO in 30 GP.
Who’s Hot: LW Zach Boychuk (27-22-49) leads the team in goals and points, is tied for first in the AHL in power-play goals (14), ranks fourth in goals, 11th in points and has 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in his last 10 games. D Ryan Murphy (1-16-17) is on a 10-game assist streak and has 13 points (1 goal, 12 assists) during that span. LW Chris Terry (19-30-49) leads the team in assists, ranks second in goals, ranks 12th in the AHL in points, is on a three-game point streak and has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in his last 11 games. C Brett Sutter (8-21-29) ranks fourth on the team in assists and points, is currently on a three-game point streak and has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his last 11 games.
Week 22 Game Results:
February 25, 2014 Texas 2 @ Lake Erie 1
February 26, 2014 Texas 2 @ Lake Erie 3 – SO
March 1, 2014 Texas 2 @ San Antonio 0 – Suspended in 1st Period
Stars Player of the Week: (Week 22)
Colton Sceviour – RW – #7 2 GP, 3 points (0 G, 3 A), Even, 0 PIMs
Right wing Colton Sceviour has continued his career-year with a great performance in Week 22. Against the Lake Erie Monsters, Sceviour picked up an assist on February 25th and two assists on February 26th. He also managed to tally an assist against the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday before the game was suspended due to unsafe ice conditions. With the assist at San Antonio, Sceviour is on a five-game assist streak, collecting seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) during that span. Over his last 10 games, Sceviour has 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) and surpassed the 30-goal mark, currently ranking first in the AHL (31). The Red Deer, Alberta native is the third Texas Stars player to score 30 goals in a season and is six goals away from tying Matt Fraser’s team record of 37 goals in a season which he set in 2011-12 season. On February 28th, Sceviour and the Dallas Stars agreed on a two-year contract extension.
Stars Quick Hits:
· A NEW SHOTS MILLENIUM – The Stars have 2,126 shots this season and are the only team in the AHL with over 2,000 on the season. Texas also has the league’s highest shots per game average (37.28). The Stars have outshot their opponents 40 times this season and are 24-11-1-4 (53 pts.) when doing so. RW Colton Sceviour currently ranks second in the league with 213 shots.
· CAREER YEAR FOR HEDDEN – LW Mike Hedden is enjoying his best statistical season of his AHL career. Hedden has 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 56 games with Texas this year, surpassing his previous career-bests in goals and points; his 22 assists tie his AHL career-high, which he set last season. Hedden currently ranks fifth on the team in goals and points and is sixth in assists; he is tied for 19th in the AHL in goals and tied for 27th in points.
· AND THAT WIN MAKES 20 – With the 2-1 win on February 25th against the Lake Erie Monsters, goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp notched his 20th win of the season. The victory surpassed his AHL-best win total (19), which he set last year with the Stars in his first professional season in North America. Nilstorp is the third Texas Stars goaltender to win at least 20 games in a season. Matt Climie won 21 during the 2009-10 and Richard Bachman won 28 during the 2010-11 season. Nilstorp is currently tied for third in the AHL in wins.
· GET THE LEAD, KEEP THE LEAD – Texas leads the AHL in first goals. The Stars have scored first in 39 of their 57 games this season and have 27-6-2-4 record (0.769) when doing so, compiling a league best 60 points.
· POWERFUL PLAY – The Stars continue to lead the AHL in power play percentage (27.8%). Texas has scored a league-high 71 power play goals this season on 255 attempts. The Stars also lead the AHL in home power play (29.2%) and road power play (26.4%).
· APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – D Maxime Fortunus is 1 GP away from his 750th career pro game, he is 1 assist away from his 150th career AHL assist and 4 points away from his 250th career pro point. RW Colton Sceviour is 2 goals away from his 100th career AHL goal and is 5 GP away from his 350th career AHL game. C Travis Morin is 2 assists from his 300th career pro assist and is 11 GP from his 500th career pro game. LW Mike Hedden is 2 points away from his 200th career pro point and 7 GP away from his 200th career AHL game. RW Scott Glennie needs 4 GP to reach his 150th career pro game and 5 GP to reach his 150th career AHL game. C Dustin Jeffrey is 6 GP away from his 200th career AHL game. D Derek Meech is 8 GP shy of his 550th career pro game. D Hubert Labrie needs 8 GP to record his 100th career AHL game. LW Francis Wathier needs 10 GP to reach his 500th career AHL game, two points to reach his 200th career pro point and two assists to reach his 100th career AHL assist.
Stars Week 21 Transactions:
March 1 – DELETE – Josh Robinson (G) – Returned on loan to Idaho (ECHL).
Texas Stars Team Leaders:
Games Played: Mike Hedden & Curtis McKenzie (57)
Goals: Colton Sceviour (31)
Assists: Travis Morin (44)
Points: Travis Morin (72)
Plus/Minus: Colton Sceviour (+13)
Penalty Minutes: Curtis McKenzie (68)
Power Play Goals: Chris Mueller (14)
Short Handed Goals: Seven Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals: Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots: Colton Sceviour (213)
Shooting Percentage: Scott Glennie (17.0%)
Saves: Cristopher Nilstorp (987)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (20)
GAA: Jack Campbell (1.36)
Save Percentage: Jack Campbell (0.947)
Shutouts: Cristopher Nilstorp (2)
The Texas Stars will continue their a five-game road trip today as they take on the Abbotsford Heat for a 12:30 p.m. CT face off at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Texas will return to Cedar Park Center Saturday, March 8th to face the Charlotte Checkers with a 7:00 p.m. face off. Saturday’s game is a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night, as well as a Stars Team Poster giveaway and there will be a post-game autograph session. 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.
Photo credit: John Saraya/Lake Erie Monsters