Texas Sweeps Hamilton, Claims Second-Straight Division TitleApr 1, 2014
Stars Carry New Franchise Record Seven-Game Win Streak into Two-Game Series with Lake Erie
2013-14 Record: 43-17-3-6, 95 points (26-7-0-1 Home, 17-10-3-5 Road), First Place – West Division
Week 26 Recap:
The Texas Stars took five points out of a possible six during Week 26 and, thanks to an Abbotsford loss at Toronto on Sunday, clinched their second-straight Division title, retaining the John D. Chick trophy.
The Stars began Week 26 at home on Tuesday night, March 25th against the Hamilton Bulldogs. After a scoreless first period, Justin Dowling scored off a pass from rookie Brett Ritchie to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, rookie Matej Stransky found fellow first year Taylor Peters from behind the net, setting up Peters’ seventh goal of the season and a 2-0 Texas lead. Dowling extended the Stars’ lead 3-0, two minutes into the third period, by putting home a rebound in the crease. The goal was Dowling’s fourth goal in two games and brought his season total to nine. Patrik Nemeth’s cross-ice pass set up Scott Glennie for his 12th goal of the season to seal Texas’ 4-0 victory and goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp’s 22nd win and third shutout of the season.
On Thursday March 27th, the Stars traveled down to San Antonio to complete their March 1st game that was suspended due to unsafe ice-conditions. The game started with 12:01 on the clock left in the first period and a 2-0 Texas lead. Derek Hulak, who was making his AHL debut, recorded his first AHL goal on his first shot to give Texas a 3-0 lead. The Rampage stormed back, tying the game with three unanswered goals by Wade Megan, John McFarland and Jed Ortmeyer. With 6:58 left in regulation, Derek Meech blasted a slap-shot over San Antonio goaltender Scott Clemmensen and into the top left corner of the net to put the Stars in front 4-3. Megan responded just 70 seconds later to tie the game at four on his second power-play goal of the game. Texas was called for too-many men and was forced to kill a four-on-three Rampage power-play in overtime. After successfully killing off the penalty, Stars’ goaltender Jack Campbell robbed San Antonio with a sensational last second glove save to send the game to a shootout. Rookie Matej Stransky scored in the first round to give Texas a 1-0 lead, but Anthony Luciani and Jared Gomes scored for the Rampage to give them the 5-4 win. The Stars still picked up a point in the standing, and extended their road point streak to eight games.
Texas returned to Cedar Park Center Saturday night to conclude the season series with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Stars outshot the Bulldogs 20-3 in the first period and were rewarded with a 2-0 lead with goals from rookie Curtis McKenzie and Patrik Nemeth. Just over two minutes into the second period, rookie Matej Stransky scored on a five-on-three advantage to extend the lead to three. Hamilton scored their first goal of the game when Christian Thomas finished a two-on-one opportunity. Hubert Labrie, playing in his first game since March 8th, scored from the point to put Texas back up 4-1. Brendan Ranford added a shorthanded empty-net goal from his own zone and Labrie was credited with the only assist, giving him a “Gordie Howe Hat-Trick” (goal, assist, and a fight) for the night. Mike Hedden capped off the scoring with a breakaway goal with 38 left in regulation to complete the Stars’ 6-1 victory. It was Texas’ seventh straight win, which broke the previous franchise record of six consecutive games.
Week 27 Preview:
One week ago, the Texas Stars became the first AHL team to clinch a spot in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. Now the Stars are the first club in the league to wrap up a regular season Division title, which means Texas cannot finish lower than third in the Western Conference standings. With seven games left in the 2013-14 season, the Stars will set their sights on trying to finish on top of the conference for the second straight year and, potentially, capture the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, presented annually to the AHL’s regular season points champion.
Texas continues its season-long seven-game homestand in Week 27 by hosting the Lake Erie Monsters at Cedar Park Center on Friday, April 4th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 6th at 5:00 p.m. Friday’s game is Mike Modano Night, as the legendary U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer will be honored with a pre-game ceremony and will drop the ceremonial first puck on the ice. The game features two giveaways; a Mike Modano Signature Edition Rally Towel and the Toby Petersen Mini-Bobblehead. Friday’s game is also a $3 Draft Beer & $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine night. The Stars will complete their four-game season series with Lake Erie on Sunday; after Sunday’s matinee there will only be two home games remaining in the regular season.
C Travis Morin (31-49-80) leads the AHL in points, ranks second in goals and assists and has eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) and a +1 rating over his last seven games. RW Brett Ritchie (17-24-41) leads all AHL rookies and is ninth overall in shots (201), he ranks 15th in rookie points and is currently on a five-game point streak, with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) and a +7 rating during that span. C Justin Dowling (9-31-40) is tied for third on the team in assists and is currently on a three-game point streak, with six points (4 goals, 2 assist) and a +6 rating during that span. RW Scott Glennie (13-12-25) has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and a +5 rating in his last five games. D Patrik Nemeth (3-7-10) is currently on a three-game point streak, with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +6 rating during that span.
Week 27 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)
Friday, April 4 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Lake Erie Monsters (28-29-0-9, 65 pts.)
Fourth Place, North Division
Sunday, April 6 – 5:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Lake Erie Monsters (28-29-0-9, 65 pts.)
Fourth Place, North Division
· Team Notes: The Lake Erie Monsters come to Cedar Park Center for the first and only time this season. With 10 games, and a possible 20 points to gain, the Monsters are still in the race for post-season hockey, sitting 10 points behind the eighth and playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams split the previous meeting in Cleveland, with Texas winning 2-1 on February 25th and Lake Erie claiming a 3-2 shootout victory on February 26th. The Monsters have points in six of their last seven games (3-1-0-3). Lake Erie is the only team in the AHL not to have an overtime loss, but is tied for the most shootout losses (9) this season. The Monsters are making their only trip to the Lone Star State this year and will play four games in six days. They lead the Western Conference and rank fourth in the AHL in both total penalty minutes (1,455) and penalty minutes-per-game average (22.05), while being tied for second in total minor penalties (410). Lake Erie is at San Antonio Tuesday night and then plays a three-in-three weekend, sandwiching two games with the Stars around a Saturday game with the Rampage. Goaltender Sami Aittokallio was named AHL Player of The Week for his exploits during Week 25 action, when he posted back-to-back shutouts against the Rochester Americans on March 21st and 23rd.
· Leading Scorer: Mark Olver (C) – 43 points (15 goals, 28 assists) and a +5 rating in 55 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Sami Aittokallio (G) – 2.62 GAA, 0.911 save pct., 12-12-3 and 4 SO in 30 GP.
Who’s Hot: C Mark Olver (15-28-43) leads the team in goals, ranks second in assists and is currently on a seven-game point streak, with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and a +4 rating during that span. LW Andrew Agozzino (13-30-43) leads the team in assists, is tied for second in goals and is currently on a four-game point streak, with six points (1 goal, 5 assists) and a +2 rating during that span. D Stefan Elliot (13-12-25) is tied for second on the team in goals and is currently on a three-game point streak, with three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and a +1 rating during that span. RW Guillaume Desbiens (7-5-12) has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and a +1 rating in his last four games.
Week 26 Game Results:
March 25, 2014 Hamilton 0, Texas 4
March 27, 2014 Texas 4 @ San Antonio 5 – SO*
March 29, 2014 Hamilton 1 @ Texas 6
*Completed game from March 1st – suspended due to unsafe ice conditions.
Stars Player of the Week: (Week 26)
Patrik Nemeth – D – #12 2 GP, 3 points (1 G, 2 A), +5, 0 PIMs
Defensemen Patrik Nemeth has showed spectacular form since returning from injury on February 15th. The Stockholm, Sweden native was on the ice for all four of Texas’ goals in a 4-0 win over Hamilton. He had one assist and finished with a +4 rating, which was a Stars’ 2013-14 season-high. Then on Saturday, he scored the game-winning goal and added an assist against the Bulldogs to bring his season point total to 10 (3 goals, 7 assists). Nemeth finished the week with three points and a +5 rating, earning him a call-up with the Dallas Stars on March 31st.
Stars Quick Hits:
· FRANCHISE WINNING STREAK – The Texas Stars broke a franchise record by winning their seventh consecutive game on Saturday against Hamilton. The streak began on March 15th at Chicago. Texas had previously won six in a row twice, first accomplishing the streak in January of the 2012-13 season and matching it in December of the current 2013-14 campaign.
· MORIN HITS 80 – Travis Morin picked up two assists on Saturday against Hamilton for his 79th and 80th points of the season. With that Morin, who continues to lead the AHL in points, became the first player in Texas Stars history to reach the 80-point mark.
· STARS CLINCH WEST DIVISION – The Abbotsford Heat lost Sunday to the Toronto Marlies 6-4, meaning the Texas Stars clinched with West Division title. It is the second year in a row the Stars have accomplished the task and now set their sights on securing the number-one seed in the Western Conference.
· RITCHIE STREAKING – Rookie Brett Ritchie notched an assist in Saturday’s win to extend his point streak to five games. Over that span, Ritchie has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) and a +7 rating. It is the longest streak of Ritchie’s professional career.
· HULAK OFF AND RUNNING – New Stars’ left wing Derek Hulak signed a professional tryout contract (PTO) with Texas on March 26th and made his AHL debut the next night on March 27th in San Antonio. Hulak scored his first AHL goal on his first-ever AHL shot and then picked up an assist in his Cedar Park Center debut on March 29th against Hamilton for a two-game point streak.
· CENTURY TIME WARP – Stars center Taylor Vause played his 100th career pro game on Thursday at San Antonio. However, since the game actually counts from its original March 1st date, Vause’s 100th pro game was on Tuesday, March 25th against Hamilton. In 101 career pro games, including 80 games with Texas, Vause has 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists).
· GORDIE HOWE SIGHTING – Hubert Labrie, playing in his first game since March 8th, recorded a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” against the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday night. Labrie scored his second goal of the season in the second period, fought Robert Czarnik in the third and tallied the lone assist on Brendan Ranford’s empty-net goal. It was the fifth Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Texas Stars history.
· 100 PRO ASSISTS – Justin Dowling’s assist on Hubert Labrie’s goal on Saturday night against the Bulldogs was his 40th point of the season and the 100th assist of his professional career. Dowling, who currently tied for second on the team in assists (31), has 146 points (46 goals, 100 points) in 195 career pro games, including 135 career AHL games with Texas and Abbotsford.
· APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – LW Mike Hedden is 1 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 2 GP away from his 500th career pro game, 6 GP away from his 350th career AHL game and 2 goals away from his 100th career AHL game. LW Kevin Henderson is 2 GP from his 300th career pro game, 8 GP from his 300th AHL career game, 3 points from his 100th pro point and 4 points from of his 100th AHL point. C Justin Dowling is 5 shy of his 200th career pro game. D Jamie Oleksiak is 5 GP away from his 150th career pro game. D Hubert Labrie needs 6 GP to record his 100th career AHL game. C Chris Mueller is 7 points shy of his 250th career AHL point. C Toby Petersen is 5 GP from his 950th career pro game and 3 goals from his 150th career AHL goal.
Stars Week 26 Transactions:
March 31 – DELETE – Patrik Nemeth (D) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL)
March 29 – ADD – Chris Mueller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL)
March 29 – DELETE – Chris Mueller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 28 – ADD – Alex Guptill (LW) – Signed ATO.
March 28 – ADD – Chris Mueller (C) – Returned on loan from Dallas (NHL)
March 27 – DELETE – Chris Mueller (C) – Recalled from loan by Dallas (NHL).
March 26 – ADD – Derek Hulak (LW) – Signed PTO.
Texas Stars Team Leaders:
Games Played: Mike Hedden & Curtis McKenzie (68)
Goals: Colton Sceviour (32)
Assists: Travis Morin (49)
Points: Travis Morin (80)
Plus/Minus: Patrik Nemeth (+19)
Penalty Minutes: Curtis McKenzie (76)
Power Play Goals: Chris Mueller (14)
Short Handed Goals: Brendan Ranford (2)
Game-Winning Goals: Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots: Colton Sceviour (228)
Shooting Percentage: Scott Glennie (16.0%)
Saves: Cristopher Nilstorp (1,098)
Wins: Cristopher Nilstorp (24)
GAA: Jack Campbell (1.58)
Save Percentage: Jack Campbell (0.937)
Shutouts: Cristopher Nilstorp (3)
The Texas Stars will continue their home stand as they face the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, April 4th for a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Friday’s game is Mike Modano night, including a pre-game ceremony and Signature Edition Rally Towel giveaway. It is also Toby Petersen Mini-Bobblehead night, as well as a $3 Beer and $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.