Texas Continues Home Winning Streak; Splits Weekend in CHA

Jan 21, 2014

First Place Stars Begin Seven-Game Homestand with Iowa, Grand Rapids This Week

2013-14 Record: 25-11-2-3, 55 points (16-2-0-1 Home, 9-9-2-2 Road), First Place – West Division

Week 16 Recap:

The Texas Stars began their three-game Week 16 with a solid 4-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Wednesday night to set a new franchise record for longest home point streak (11 games, 10-0-0-1) and extend their current team record home winning streak to 10 games. The Stars out-shot the Americans 20-4 in the first period and opened the scoring on a Jyrki Jokipakka power play goal halfway through the first. Rochester’s Alex Hutchings tied the game six minutes into the second period, only for Texas to answer back with a Justin Dowling goal at 9:30. Three minutes later, rookie Taylor Peters made it 3-1 Stars and then, in the third period, fellow rookie Matej Stransky found the net to round out the scoring. Texas out-shot Rochester 41-15 through the first two periods and ended up with a 49-27 final advantage, falling two shots on goal shy of their team record.

The Stars then flew to North Carolina for their second, and final, trip to Time Warner Cable Arena of the 2013-14 season. Friday night Texas routed the Charlotte Checkers 7-1, in spite of being out-shot in the game 29-27. Mike Hedden, Colton Sceviour and Travis Morin each lit the lamp in the first period and Justin Dowling made it 4-0 Stars at 3:19 of the second period. Aaron Palushaj broke the shutout bid for Stars’ goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, but that would be the only blemish on his record that night. Shortly after Palushaj’s goal, the Texas power play would put on a clinic, resulting in two Chris Mueller power play goals in a 4:43 span to blow the game wide open. Sceviour then added his second goal of the night at 17:41 of the middle frame, to wrap up the scoring before the third period was played. It was a night for offensive superlatives; in addition to two goals by both Mueller and Sceviour, Morin tied a single-game franchise record with five points (1 goal, 4 assists) and both Morin and Curtis McKenzie equaled the Stars’ single-game record with four assists.

Less than 15 hours after the first puck dropped on Friday night, the two teams were back at it for a 12:00 p.m. ET rematch. The shoe was on the other foot in Saturday’s matinee, as the Checkers quickly opened up a 3-0 first period lead on a goal from Justin Shugg and two from Aaron Palushaj. With 1:07 remaining in the frame, Curtis McKenzie scored a surprise goal on a shot from center ice, as the puck was misplayed by Checkers goalie John Muse, striking the top of his catching glove before dribbling over the goal line. The Stars had some life after the goal, but the period ended and in the second, goals by Zach Boychuk and Philippe Cornet put Charlotte in the driver’s seat. Josh Robinson, who replaced starting goalie Cristopher Nilstorp midway through the first period, kept the score from getting worse as he stopped three breakaways in the third period, only for Victor Rask to tack on a sixth goal with 48 seconds left to close out a 6-1 win over the Stars.

Week 17 Preview:

Texas carries a 10-game home winning streak and an 11-game home point streak (10-0-0-1), both franchise records, into Wednesday’s home game against the Iowa Wild as the team begins a seven-game homestand. Wednesday’s game against Iowa is another Winning Wednesday presented by H-E-B and is the third and final game against the Wild this year at Cedar Park Center.

The homestand continues this weekend with a massive two-game series with defending Calder Cup Champion, and Western Conference-leading, Grand Rapids Griffins. The showdown begins on Friday, January 24th at 7:30 p.m. for another $3 Beer & $4 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Night and is the Texas Stars Team Card Set Giveaway. The teams will again do battle on Saturday, January 25th at 7:00 p.m. for a Coke Zero Family Four Pack Night, a Texas Lottery Lucky Row Night and the Texas Stars Gym Bag giveaway presented by Shoal Creek Dental. This will be the only visit by Grand Rapids to Cedar Park Center during the 2013-14 regular season.

C Travis Morin (24-31-55) leads the AHL in points and power play points (23), is tied for the league lead in assists, ranks second in goals and has 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) and a +2 rating in his last nine games. RW Colton Sceviour (25-18-43) leads the AHL in goals and game-winning goals (6), is tied for the league lead in power play goals (10), ranks second in the league in shots (149), is third in points and has 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) and a +2 rating in his last nine games. LW Curtis McKenzie (13-25-38) leads all AHL rookies and ranks sixth overall in the league in points, is fourth in power play points (21) and has nine points (2 goals, 7 assists) and a +1 rating in his last six games. C Justin Dowling (5-12-17) has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and a +4 rating in his last five games.

Week 17 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)

Wednesday, January 22 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Iowa Wild (17-16-3-2, 39 pts.)
Fifth Place, Midwest Division
Team Notes: Sitting at the bottom of the Midwest Division, the Iowa Wild are still just three points back of the eighth, and final, playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Wild are coming off a sweep of the Lake Erie Monsters at home and they are 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. Last time the Stars and Wild met was in early December at the Cedar Park Center, when the Stars won both, by scores of 4-2 and 2-1 in overtime. Overall the Stars are 3-1-0-0 so far against the Wild in their inaugural season in Iowa. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper is third in the league in save percentage (0.929), but has been on NHL call-up with the Minnesota Wild since January 2nd due to injuries to both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom in St. Paul. Fellow Iowa netminder Johan Gustafsson was recalled by Minnesota on January 20th, leaving John Curry, who has only played six games this season, as the only goaltender currently on the roster. In his last game, at home against Lake Erie on January 18th, Curry posted a 45-save shutout. On the power-play the Wild have the league’s worst home power-play rating (12.9%), but are third in the league for road power-play (23.4%). While on the road, Iowa has the 21st rated penalty kill (76.9%), and are also 21st in the league for overall penalty kill (79.4%). The Wild are 29th in the league in shots allowed per game (33.37). Currently three of Iowa’s top ten scorers (LW Erik Haula, D Jonathon Blum and Jason Zucker) are on NHL call-up with Minnesota; leaving C Carson McMillan and C Zack Phillips as leading forward scorers.
Leading Scorer: Brian Connelly (D) – 22 points (2 goals, 20 assists) and is -15 in 36 GP.
Leading Goaltender: John Curry (G) – 1.95 GAA, 0.942 save pct., 3-2-1-0 and 1 SO in 6 GP.
Who’s Hot: D Brian Connelly (2-20-22) leads the team and is tied for eighth in the league in defensemen points and has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in his last three games. C Carson McMillan (8-9-17) has six points (4 goals, 2 assists) and a +2 rating in his last eight games. C Jake Dowell (6-6-12) has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) and a +4 rating in his last six games. Former Texas Stars C Warren Peters (5-11-16) has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +1 rating in his last four games.

Friday, January 24 – 7:30 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (27-11-1-2, 57 pts.)
First Place, Midwest Division


Saturday, January 25 – 7:00 p.m. – Cedar Park Center – Cedar Park, TX
vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (27-11-1-2, 57 pts.)
First Place, Midwest Division
Team Notes: The Grand Rapids Griffins sit atop the Midwest Division and Western Conference, currently two points ahead of the Texas Stars. The Griffins took both games from the Stars in late November at Van Andel Arena, winning by the scores of 5-4 and 5-1. Grand Rapids is 3-2-0-0 in its last five games and 6-6-0-1 its last 13 games. After starting the season 2-2-1-1, the Griffins went on a 15-2-0-0 run, including two separate seven-game winning streaks. Both the power-play and penalty-kill for Grand Rapids is in the top ten in the AHL, ranking eighth on the power-play (19.4%), and fifth in the league in penalty-kill (86.7%). The Griffins have not suffered a regulation loss this season when leading after two periods, posting a record of 21-0-0-2. Defensively, Grand Rapids has given up a league low 2.27 goals per game. Goaltender Tom McCollum has played in the last 18 games, starting 17 of them, building his overall record to 17-8-0-1. McCollum is tied for second in the AHL in wins (17), ranks fourth in goals-against average (2.11) and is tied for fourth in save percentage (0.928). Rookie defensemen Ryan Sproul (7-15-22) is tied for eighth among defensemen in points and is tied for 11th amongst all AHL rookies in points. Four of the Griffins’ top ten scorers (RW Tomas Jurco, C Cory Emmerton, RW Gustav Nyquist and C Riley Sheahan) are currently playing for their NHL affiliate Detriot Red Wings. Jurco and Emmerton were recalled to Detroit on January 14th and 16th respectively.
Leading Scorer: Teemu Pulkkinen (RW) – 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) and a +16 rating in 41 GP.
Leading Goaltender: Tom McCollum (G) – 2.11 GAA, 0.928 save pct., 17-8-0-1, 2 SO in 29 GP.
Who’s Hot: RW Teemu Pulkkinen (13-18-31) is the team’s active point leader and is tied for 12th in the league in points and has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) and a +1 rating in his last 10 games. RW Jordin Tootoo (3-6-9) has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating in his last four games. D Adam Almquist (0-22-22) leads the Griffins in assists and has three assists and a +2 rating in his last four games. RW Mitch Callahan (16-8-24) leads Grand Rapids in goals and has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) and a +3 rating in his last four games.

Week 16 Game Results:

January 15, 2014                               Rochester 1 @ Texas 4
January 17, 2014                               Texas 7 @ Charlotte 1
January 18, 2014                               Texas 1 @ Charlotte 6

Stars Player of the Week: (Week 16)

Justin Dowling – C – #10                               3 GP, 3 points (2 G, 1 A), +2, 0 PIMs
Center Justin Dowling is starting to heat up his goal-scoring account as the Texas Stars passed by the midpoint of the 2013-14 season. The Cochrane, Alberta native with a virtuoso performance on Wednesday night, stealing the puck from Rochester goalie Nathan Lieuwen for an unassisted goal in the second period, which turned out to the be the game-winner, and then making a stellar pass to set up Matej Stransky’s breakaway goal in the third period. Friday night in Charlotte, Dowling scored his fifth goal of the year, his third in his last five games, in a 7-1 triumph over the Checkers. For the year he is eighth on the team in points with 17 (5 goals, 12 assists) and a +4 rating and he is the only player to skate in all 41 games of the season for Texas; he is also the only active skater with zero penalty minutes.

Stars Quick Hits:

·         NOT IN OUR HOUSE – The Stars beat the Rochester Americans last Wednesday games to extend their current franchise record home winning streak to ten games and set a new club record for longest home point streak (11 games, 10-0-0-1). Texas has not lost a game at Cedar Park Center since November 22nd, a 4-3 shootout loss to the San Antonio Rampage. The Stars 16-2-0-1 at Cedar Park Center this season and lead the AHL in home point percentage (0.868) and home goal differential (+39), while sharing the league lead in home wins and home points (33) with Grand Rapids.

·         RECORD-TYING NIGHT – Center Travis Morin tied two single-game franchise records with four assists and five points (1 goal, 4 assists) during Friday’s 7-1 blowout win at Charlotte. Rookie Curtis McKenzie also tallied four assists in the game to equal the Stars’ single-game mark. Colton Sceviour was the first player in Texas Stars history to record five points in one game on October 20th vs. Abbotsford. Five players have notched four assists in one game for the Stars: Morin, McKenzie, Philip Larsen, Matt Fraser and Cameron Gaunce.

·         AND THEN THERE WAS ONE – Center Justin Dowling is the only player on the Texas Stars roster to appear in all 41 games so far this season. The Cochrane, Alberta native has played in 79 career games for Texas, missing only two games due to injury during the 2012-13 campaign after signing with the Stars in January 2013 following the end of the NHL lockout.

·         600 CLUB – Defenseman Maxime Fortunus played in his 600th career AHL game last Wednesday against Rochester. The La Prairie, Quebec native has appeared in 602 career AHL games and has 198 points (52 goals, 146 assists) and 248 penalty minutes.

·         PENALTY KILL LOCKDOWN – The Texas Stars’ penalty kill rating has risen to third best overall in the AHL (87.7%) and they have allowed a league-low 19 power play goals against in 155 times shorthanded. The Stars have successfully killed off all 17 opposition power plays over the last five games and they have gone 47-for-50 (94.0%) in their last 15 games. Texas has the second fewest penalty minutes in the AHL (526) and the second lowest PIMs per game average (12.83).

·         GAME-WINNER – Colton Sceviour scored his team-leading sixth game-winning goal on Friday at Charlotte, putting him into sole possession of the AHL lead in that category. The Red Deer, Alberta native is the Texas Stars all-time franchise leader in game-winning goals with 22 in his five seasons in Cedar Park.

·         CENTENNIAL – Defenseman William Wrenn played in his 100th career pro game on Saturday at Charlotte. The Anchorage, Alaska native is technically a rookie by AHL definitions, but is in his second pro season and has appeared in 49 career AHL games; 46 with Texas and three with Worcester. Wrenn has 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists) and 63 penalty minutes in 100 pro games (49 AHL and 51 ECHL).

·         150 POINTS – Defenseman Derek Meech recorded his 150th career pro point, part of a two assist game against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday night at Cedar Park Center. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native has 151 points (34 goals, 117 assists) in 527 career pro games, including 144 NHL games, 350 AHL games and 23 KHL games. He needs one assist to record his 100th career AHL assist.

·         OFFENSIVE SURGE – The Stars currently lead the AHL in goals (150) and goals per game average (3.66), while also ranking first in the league in shots on goal (1499) and shots per game average (36.56).

·         100 IS A ROUND NUMBER – Left wing Mike Hedden notched his 100th career AHL point with an assist on Jyrki Jokipakka’s first period power play goal Wednesday vs. Rochester. The Dunnville, Ontario native has 102 points (47 goals, 55 assists) in 176 career AHL games primarily with Texas, but also with Rochester, Rockford and Grand Rapids. Hedden needs one game to reach his 300th career pro game.

·         APPROACHING STARS MILESTONES – LW Mike Hedden needs 1 GP to reach his 300th career pro game and needs 3 goals to reach his 100th career pro goal. D Derek Meech needs 1 assist to reach his 100th career AHL assist. D Maxime Fortunus is 2 points away from his 200th career AHL point. C Toby Petersen is 4 GP shy of his 550th career AHL game and 6 GP shy of his 950th career pro game. D Jamie Oleksiak is 6 GP shy of his 100th career AHL game. LW Francis Wathier is 4 points shy of his 200th career pro point and 3 assists shy of his 100th career AHL assist.

Stars Week 16 Transactions:

January 21 – DELETE – Russ Sinkewich (D) – Loaned to Toledo (ECHL).
January 17 – DELETE – Brock Montgomery (RW) – Returned on loan to Idaho (ECHL).
January 15 – ADD – Russ Sinkewich (D) – Signed SPC.
January 15 – DELETE – Russ Sinkewich (D) – Released from PTO.

Texas Stars Team Leaders:

Games Played:                     Justin Dowling (41)
Goals:                                   Colton Sceviour (25)
Assists:                                 Travis Morin (31)
Points:                                  Travis Morin (55)
Plus/Minus:                          Travis Morin & Colton Sceviour (+11)
Penalty Minutes:                   Curtis McKenzie (53)
Power Play Goals:                Chris Mueller & Colton Sceviour (10)
Short Handed Goals:            Six Tied (1)
Game-Winning Goals:          Colton Sceviour (6)
Shots:                                   Colton Sceviour (149)
Shooting Percentage:          Travis Morin (19.2%)
Saves:                                  Cristopher Nilstorp (690)
Wins:                                    Cristopher Nilstorp (14)
GAA:                                    Jack Campbell (1.40)
Save Percentage:                Jack Campbell (0.947)
Shutouts:                              Three Tied (1)

The Texas Stars begin a seven-game homestand by hosting the Iowa Wild on Wednesday, January 22nd for a 7:30 p.m. face off at Cedar Park Center. Wednesday’s game is a Winning Wednesday presented by H-E-B. 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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