Texas Sweeps Chicago, First Place in Western ConferenceMar 18, 2014
Stars Finish Road Trip in Iowa, Host Oklahoma City for Military Appreciation Weekend Presented by Round Rock Auto Group
2013-14 Record: 38-17-3-5, 84 points (22-7-0-1 Home, 16-10-3-4 Road), First Place – West Division
Week 24 Recap:
The Texas Stars had their season-long seven-game point streak (6-0-0-1) snapped on Wednesday night with a 3-1 loss to the Charlotte Checkers at Cedar Park Center, wrapping up the season series with the Checkers. With Colton Sceviour called-up to the Dallas Stars and Travis Morin a healthy scratch following the birth of his second child, the Stars’ top line was composed of Chris Mueller and rookies Curtis McKenzie and Matej Stransky. At 5:49 of the first period, Mueller’s wrist shot deflected of Checkers’ goaltender John Muse and Stransky was able to slam home the rebound, his seventh goal of the season. In the second period, Charlotte reversed their fortunes with two goals in a 1:51 span. Zach Boychuk tied the game and Nicolas Blanchard gave the Checkers the lead for good. The Stars fought back hard in the third period, putting 16 shots on Muse, but could not convert on any of those chances, including going 0-4 on the power-play for the game. Chris Terry would add an empty-net goal as time winded down to secure the 3-1 win and Muse finished with 43 saves on 44 shots for his 20th win of the season. Texas goaltender Jack Campbell stopped 27-of-29 shots in his first loss of the season.
On Saturday night, the Stars looked to start a new winning streak, as they began a three-game road trip starting at Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves. Three of the team’s top four scorers, Sceviour, Morin and Mueller, were on call-up with the Dallas Stars (NHL), leaving the team looking for someone to step-up in their absence. Just 1:34 into the game, rookie Taylor Peters’ shot on goal found its way through Wolves goaltender Jake Allen to give the Stars the 1-0 lead. Halfway through the period, newcomer Kevin Henderson sent a cross-ice pass to Taylor Vause who redirected it off the right post and into the net to double the Stars’ lead 2-0. It was Henderson’s second assist of the game and his first two points as a Texas Star. After a scoreless second period, Jack Campbell shined as he stopped all Chicago attempts to fight their way back into the contest. Brendan Ranford added a shorthanded empty-net goal with just over a minute left to seal the 3-0 win for the Stars. Campbell finished the game stopping all 24 shots he faced for his eighth win and second shutout of the season.
The following afternoon, Texas and Chicago hit the ice again to conclude their season series. The Wolves grabbed the lead, their first of the entire season series, with a goal by Keith Aucoin at the 7:25 mark of the first period. The Chicago lead lasted only 47 seconds. Kevin Henderson scored his first goal as a Texas Star, when he capitalized on a miscue by goaltender Jake Allen by tapping the puck into an open net to tie the game 1-1. After a Wolves goal was disallowed for having two-many men on the ice in the second period, Taylor Vause sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Henderson in the low slot who one-timed it home for his second goal of the game and a 2-1 Texas lead. With 3:34 left in regulation, rookie Ty Rattie tied the game at 2-2, sending the game to overtime. Chicago captain Taylor Chorney fell down in his own zone and Justin Dowling pounced on the turnover, sending a cross-ice pass to defensemen Derek Meech. After drawing Allen out of his crease, Meech slid the puck between the Wolves’ goaltender and the near post to Mike Hedden for an open net game-winner just 35 second into the extra frame, lifting the Stars to the 3-2 victory. Josh Robinson, who was making his first start since February 16th, stopped 23-of-25 shots he faced for his sixth win of the season.
Week 25 Preview:
The two wins in Chicago last weekend, coupled with a mid-week sweep at Abbotsford earlier in the month, mean that Texas enters Week 25 on a season-best four-game road winning streak and a season-high six game road point streak (5-0-0-1). The Stars will try to make it five in a row on the road on Wednesday, March 19th as they complete their three-game Midwest Division trip against the Iowa Wild at 7:05 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. It is the sixth and final meeting between Texas and the team formerly known as the Houston Aeros.
The Stars then return home to host the Oklahoma City Barons for Military Appreciation Weekend presented by Round Rock Auto Group. Texas will wear special arctic camouflage jerseys for the weekend and they will auction off the game-worn jerseys to benefit the Texas Stars Foundation. The silent auction runs from the beginning of Friday’s game through the end of the second intermission on Saturday night. The winner of each jersey auction will be escorted by team officials backstage where they will have their newly purchased game-worn jersey delivered by that Stars player.
The festivities begin on Friday night as the Stars square off with the Barons for a 7:30 pm face off at Cedar Park Center. Friday is also a $3 Draft Beer and $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night. Saturday night is Texas Stars arctic camo hat giveaway night courtesy of Round Rock Auto Group as Texas and Oklahoma City battle again at 7:00 pm. Saturday’s game is also a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night and a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night.
C Travis Morin (29-45-74) leads the AHL in points, ranks second in assists and power-play points (36), ranks third in goals and has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in his last five games. LW Curtis McKenzie (21-35-56) ranks ninth in the AHL in points, ranks first in rookie points and rookie power-play points (29), second in rookie assists and has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in his last 10 games. C Dustin Jeffrey (3-3-6) has five points (3 goals, 2 assist) and a +3 rating in his last six games. LW Kevin Henderson (9-9-18) has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating in his first three games with the Texas Stars.
Week 25 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 19 – 7:05 p.m. – Wells Fargo Arena – Des Moines, IA
@ Iowa Wild (25-25-6-4, 60 pts.)
Fifth Place, Midwest Division
· Team Notes: Through 60 games, the Iowa Wild sit at .500 and are in fifth place in the Midwest Division. Wednesday’s game against Texas will be the last of the six-game season series. The Stars are 4-1-0-0 against Iowa, going 3-0-0-0 at Cedar Park Center and 1-1-0-0 at Wells Fargo Arena, while leading in goals 17-10. From February 22nd to March 7th, the Wild lost six straight and were outscored 28-6 over that span. Iowa has rebounded by winning its last three games; securing a 3-1 victory at Grand Rapids on March 8th, beating Milwaukee 3-2 on March 12th and narrowly edging San Antonio 2-1 at home on Sunday. Goaltender Johan Gustafsson was in goal for all three of those triumphs, ending a personal eight-game winless streak. Prior to his current winning streak, Gustafsson had not won a game since January 24th. He struggled mightily in February, going 0-5-0 with a 4.12 GAA and a 0.877 Sv% in seven games played. The Wild are the sixth-least penalized team in the AHL (13.28 per game), but have the 26th ranked penalty-kill (79.7%). Iowa has the 18th overall ranked power-play (16.5%), but are 29th in home power-play (12.5%). The Wild rank 29th in goals for per game (2.37), 19th in goals allowed (2.95), 23rd in shots for per game (28.45) and 28th in shots allowed (33.42). On February 26th, the Minnesota Wild traded defenseman Brian Connelly to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Brad Winchester, a veteran of 390 NHL games. Before the trade, Winchester had 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 55 games with the Rockford IceHogs.
· Leading Scorer: Brad Winchester (LW) – 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) and a -12 rating in 62 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Johan Gustafsson (G) – 2.90 GAA, 0.908 save pct., 11-13-2 and 1 SO in 29 GP.
Who’s Hot: LW Brad Winchester (17-15-32) leads the team in points and goals and has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) in his last three games. C Zack Phillips (11-17-28) leads the team in assists, ranks second in points and has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last 12 games. C Jake Dowell (6-11-17) has three assists in his last three games. G Johan Gustafsson (11-13-2, 2.90, 0.908) has won his last three starts, posting a 1.33 goals-against average and a 0.956 save percentage during that span.
Friday, March 21 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Oklahoma City Barons (29-26-1-7, 66 pts.)
Third Place, West Division
Saturday, March 22 – 7:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Oklahoma City Barons (29-26-1-7, 66 pts.)
Third Place, West Division
· Team Notes: The Oklahoma City Barons travel to Cedar Park Center for the last time this season. Their 66 points are good for third place in the West Division and ninth in the Western Conference. With 13 games remaining, the Barons sit only three points behind the Rockford IceHogs for the eighth and final playoff spot. Texas is 5-3-1-0 (11 pts.) against Oklahoma City this year with three games left in the 12-game season series. The Stars are 2-2-0-0 at Cedar Park Center and an uncharacteristic 3-1-1-0 at Cox Convention Center. After the two games in Texas this weekend, the Stars will travel to the Barons one final time on April 16th. Oklahoma City has gone 6-3-0-1 in their last ten, but lost their last two games at home to the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-2 last Friday and 4-3 last Saturday in OKC. The Barons are tied for second in the AHL with shootout wins (7) and wins when being tied after two periods (10). They also have the most regulation losses this season in one-goal games (12). Offensively, Oklahoma City is ranked eighth in goals for per game (3.14), 10th in shots for per game (31.78) and are tied for third in the AHL in power-play percentage (21.7%). Though on defense, the Barons are 29th in goals allowed (3.43), shots allowed per game (33.73) and penalty-kill rating (77.8%). Leading scorer Anton Lander (18-30-48) was recalled by the Edmonton Oilers on March 13th. Since being loaned to Oklahoma City by Edmonton on February 1st, center Mark Arcobello has been other worldly, scoring points in all 15 games he’s played for the Barons, totaling 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and a +11 rating.
· Leading Scorer: Roman Horak (C) – 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) and a +9 rating in 60 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Richard Bachman (G) – 3.06 GAA, 0.907 save pct., 20-16-4 and 1 SO in 41 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Mark Arcobello (10-18-28) is currently on an AHL season-high 15-game point streak and has 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and a +11 rating during that span. C Roman Horak (20-27-47) leads the team in points and goals and has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and a +6 rating in his last seven games. D Brad Hunt (11-33-44) leads the team in assists and has 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) and a +4 rating in his last 14 games. RW Matthew Ford (17-20-37) has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in his last 10 games.
Week 24 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 24)
Kevin Henderson – LW – #8 3 GP, 4 points (2 G, 2 A), +3, 0 PIMs
It did not take long for new Texas Stars left wing Kevin Henderson to make his mark. Acquired on Sunday, March 9th when Nashville reassigned him from Milwaukee to Texas, the Toronto, Ontario native made his Stars debut and led the team in points during Week 24 action with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating in three games. Henderson made his Texas debut on Wednesday against the Charlotte Checkers at Cedar Park Center. He then caught fire during a two-game weekend series at Chicago. He had two assists in a 3-0 shutout win over the Wolves on Saturday night and then backed it up with two goals and first star honors in Sundays 3-2 overtime win at Allstate Arena. It was Henderson’s second two-goal performance of his pro career, his first since March 3, 2012 with Milwaukee at BMO Harris Bradley Center, coincidentally against Chicago. On the season Henderson has 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) in 53 games combined between the Stars and Admirals.
Stars Quick Hits:
· WOLVES FOR DINNER – Left wing Kevin Henderson has a pair of two-goal games in his pro career and both have come against the Chicago Wolves. Henderson scored twice on Sunday and was named the game’s first star in Texas’ 3-2 overtime win at Allstate Arena. The first time he scored twice in a pro game came on March 3, 2012 at BMO Harris Bradley Center, playing for the Milwaukee Admirals in a 6-0 demolition of Chicago.
· CAMPBELL’S GREAT START – Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Checkers was goaltender Jack Campbell’s first loss of the season. Prior to the game, Campbell went 7-0-0 in eight-games played with a 1.12 GAA, 0.956 save percentage and one shutout. His seven-straight wins are a Texas Stars’ franchise best for most consecutive wins before registering a loss. The franchise record for consecutive wins by a Stars goaltender is 10, set by Brett Krahn during the inaugural 2009-10 season.
· MAGIC NUMBER, PLAYOFF PUSH – The Texas Stars are tied with Grand Rapids for the smallest magic number (10 pts.) to clinch a playoff spot for the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs. The Stars are tied for third in the league in total wins (38), but lead the AHL in ROW (regulation + overtime wins) with 36, one more than Grand Rapids, Manchester and St. John’s. ROW is the first tiebreaker for playoff position.
· 150TH GAME, TWICE – Right wing Scott Glennie played in his 150th career professional and AHL games during the past week. He appeared in his 150th pro game on Wednesday against Charlotte and then tallied his 150th AHL game on Friday at Chicago. After an illustrious career in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Glennie has 73 points (27 goals, 45 assists) in his pro career, which includes one NHL game with Dallas on April 7, 2012 vs. St. Louis.
· WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE – The Stars lead the AHL with a massive +51 goal differential. Grand Rapids is second at +49, while in contrast, Portland has the worst goal differential in the league at -40.
· PACE POINTS – Texas has 84 points through 63 games and with 13 games remaining the Stars have a maximum possible point total of 110 points. Texas is on pace to reach 101 pts. (based on their current 0.667 point percentage), which would be a new franchise record for points in one season. The Stars current single-season point record is 99, set during the inaugural 2009-10 campaign, when the season was 80 games long, not the current 76-game format.
· THE 200 CLUB – Center Dustin Jeffrey played in his 200th career AHL game on Sunday at Chicago. The Sarnia, Ontario native has 160 points (55 goals, 105 assists) and 57 assists during his AHL career with the Texas Stars and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Jeffrey also has 112 NHL games under his belt with Pittsburgh and Dallas.
· OVERTIME HEROICS – Mike Hedden’s overtime goal that beat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 on Sunday at Allstate Arena was Texas’ fifth of the season. The Stars are 5-3 in overtime games this year and are tied for the second most overtime wins in the AHL. Binghamton leads the league with seven overtime wins.
· SOUP-ER MARCH – Goaltender Jack Campbell has put together a stellar start to the month of March. In five games, included the suspended game at San Antonio, Campbell has posted a 3-1-0 record with a 0.73 GAA, a 0.971 save percentage and two shutouts. The Port Huron, Michigan native missed 27-straight games due to injury, returning to action on March 1st at AT&T Center, in a game that was delayed due to unsafe ice conditions.
· A FIRST FOR THE AHL LEADER – Travis Morin, who continues to lead the AHL in points (74), scored his first career NHL point in his seventh career NHL game with an assist last Friday against Calgary. It was also Morin’s 300th career pro assist. Morin has 458 points (158 goals, 300 assists) in 493 career pro games, including 282 points (96 goals, 186 assists) in 339 career AHL games with Texas and Hershey.
· CULLIGAN’S TRAVELS – Rookie center Chris Culligan was signed by the Texas Stars to an amateur tryout contract on Tuesday, March 11th. The Sydney, Nova Scotia native made his professional debut with Texas on March 12th at Cedar Park Center against the Charlotte Checkers. Cullligan, 25, played five seasons at the University of New Brunswick, where he totaled 171 points (54 goals, 117 assists) and a +98 rating in 133 games. Prior to that, he played five seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL, where he finished with 284 points (87 goals, 197 assists) and a +72 rating in 317 games.
· STINGY TRAVELERS – The Stars have boasted the AHL’s best power play for most of the 2013-14 season. However, their penalty kill numbers are on the rise, as they now sport the league’s best road penalty kill (89.1%), allowing just 15 power play goals in 138 times shorthanded away from home. Texas is tied for fourth overall in the AHL in penalty kill percentage (86.3%) and is tied for the fewest power play goals against (34).
· BACK ON TRACK – Left wing Mike Hedden ended a seven-game point drought when scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Sunday at Chicago. The goal was Hedden’s first point since February 25th, when he scored a goal against the Lake Erie Monsters. Hedden is having an AHL career year for the Stars, piling up 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) and a +6 rating through 63 games.
· APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – LW Mike Hedden is 1 GP away from his 200th career AHL game and 1 point away from his 200th career pro point. G Cristopher Nilstorp needs 14 minutes played to record his 15,000th career pro minute. D Maxime Fortunus is 1 assist away from his 150th career AHL assist and 4 points away from his 250th career pro point. D Derek Meech needs 2 GP to play in his 550th career pro game. C Taylor Vause needs 5 GP to record his 100th career pro game. D Hubert Labrie needs 7 GP to record his 100th career AHL game. C Travis Morin is 7 GP away from his 500th career pro game and 4 goals away from his 100th career AHL game. LW Kevin Henderson is 8 GP from his 300th career pro game and 14 GP from his 300th AHL game. C Justin Dowling is 10 shy of his 200th career pro game and 3 assists shy of his 100th career pro assist. D Jamie Oleksiak is 10 GP away from his 150th career pro game.
Stars Week 24 Transactions:
March 17 – ADD – Cristopher Nilstorp (G) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 16 – ADD – Travis Morin (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL).
March 14 – DELETE – Chris Muller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 14 – DELETE – Travis Morin (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 13 – ADD – Taylor Vause (C) – Recalled from loan to Idaho (ECHL).
Texas Stars Team Leaders:
Games Played: Mike Hedden & Curtis McKenzie (62)
Goals: Colton Sceviour (32)
Assists: Travis Morin (45)
Points: Travis Morin (74)
Plus/Minus: Travis Morin (+12)
Penalty Minutes: Curtis McKenzie (72)
Power Play Goals: Chris Mueller (14)
Short Handed Goals: Eight Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals: Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots: Colton Sceviour (228)
Shooting Percentage: Mike Hedden (15.9%)
Saves: Cristopher Nilstorp (1,020)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (21)
GAA: Jack Campbell (1.10)
Save Percentage: Jack Campbell (0.957)
Shutouts: Jack Campbell & Cristopher Nilstorp (2)
The Texas Stars will complete a three-game road trip on Wednesday, March 19th at 7:05 p.m. with their sixth, and final, regular season meeting with the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. The Stars will return to Cedar Park Center on Friday, March 21st as they host the Oklahoma City Barons at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s game kicks off Military Appreciation Weekend presented by Round Rock Auto Group and $3 Beer & $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night. 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: Steve Woltmann/Chicago Wolves