Despite missing some of their top players last week due to call ups to the NHL, the Texas Stars won two of three games to remain atop the American Hockey League’s Western Conference.
The Stars (38-17-8) and Grand Rapids (39-18-6) are tied at 84 points and have played the same number of games, but Texas holds the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker, 36-35, and that has them in the top spot in the conference. The Stars have a nine point lead over Abbotsford in the West Division.
Jack Campbell posted his second shutout of the season last week, improving to 8-1-0 with a 1.10 goals against average and .957 save percentage this season.
Here’s the latest on Dallas’ AHL affiliate.
Wednesday March 12: Charlotte 3, Texas 1
The Stars took the early lead on a goal by Matej Stransky, but the Checkers scored three unanswered goals to win 3-1 and snap Texas’ points streak at seven games. Jack Campbell got the start in goal and stopped 27 of 29 shots, and suffered his first loss of the season (7-1-0). The Stars outshot the Checkers 44-30, but Charlotte goaltender John Muse stopped 43 shots.
“We had some great chances, really, really good chances, especially late,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “I thought he (Muse) played well. I thought both goaltenders played well.”
Saturday March 15: Texas 3, Chicago 0
Campbell stopped 24 shots for his second shutout of the season and Taylor Peters had one goal and one assist as the Stars won 3-0 at Chicago on Saturday. Peters’ goal at 1:34 into the game would hold up as the game-winner for Texas. Taylor Vause and Brendan Ranford also scored for Texas, which was missing three top six forwards in Colton Sceviour, Travis Morin and Chris Mueller who were all with the Dallas Stars.
Sunday March 16: Texas 3, Chicago 1
Mike Hedden’s goal 35 seconds into overtime gave the Stars a 3-2 overtime win at Chicago Sunday and a sweep of the two-game weekend series with the Wolves. Recently acquired Kevin Henderson scored both regulation goals for Texas. Josh Robinson got the start in goal and stopped 23 of 25 shots.
The week ahead
Wednesday March 19, Texas at Iowa, 7:05 p.m.
Friday March 21, Oklahoma City at Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday March 22, Oklahoma City at Texas, 7:00 p.m.
Morin gets first NHL point
It took six call ups over four seasons and seven games, but Travis Morin finally notched his first point at the NHL level. Morin picked up an assist on an Erik Cole goal in Dallas’ 4-3 shootout loss to Calgary on Friday. Morin said he’s grown more comfortable each time he’s gotten the call to play in the NHL.
“The first time, a few years ago, it’s a bit of a whirlwind, you don’t know what to expect and personally I didn’t know a lot of the guys,” Morin said. “But now, I’ve played with a lot of them during the lockout. You’re a lot more comfortable as you keep coming back, and for me comfort level is a huge part of my game. Once I get comfortable somewhere and with something, usually I have been able to thrive.”
Morin’s recall was a brief one. After being recalled Thursday evening and playing one game, he was sent back to the AHL just prior to Sunday’s game.
*Texas goaltender Jack Campbell has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his nine starts this season. Campbell is 8-1-0 with a 1.10 goals against average, .957 save percentage and two shutouts this season. Campbell has stopped 223 of 233 shots.
*LW Kevin Henderson, acquired by Texas from Milwaukee last week, registered four points (two goals, two assists) in his first three games for Texas.
*Texas ranks second in the league in scoring at 3.52 per game.
*Texas ranks ninth in goals against at 2.71 per game.
*Texas leads the league in shots per game at 36.9.
*Texas ranks ninth in shots against per game at 29.6.
*Texas ranks first in the league on the power play at 26.3 percent.
*Texas ranks fourth on the penalty kill at 86.3 percent.
Here is the lineup Texas rolled out in its last game.
Mike Hedden – Justin Dowling – Brett Ritchie
Kevin Henderson – Taylor Peters – Taylor Vause
Patrik Nemeth – Derek Meech
Scratched: Hubert Labrie, William Wrenn
Injured: Toby Petersen
3/17: G Cristopher Nilstorp assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL)
3/16: C Travis Morin assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL)
3/14: C Chris Mueller recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL)
3/14: C Travis Morin recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL)
3/13: F Taylor Vause recalled to Texas (AHL) from Idaho (ECHL)
3/12: C Chris Mueller assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL)
3/11: C Chris Culligan signed to ATO
3/11: C Chris Mueller recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL)
3/11: RW Colton Sceviour recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL)
The Idaho Steelheads, Dallas’ ECHL affiliate, went 2-2-0 over the past week. The Steelheads are 32-24-7 on the season, ranking fourth in the Mountain Division and fifth in the Western Conference.
Defenseman Ryan Button, who had one goal and two assists last week, has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 26 games with Idaho this season.
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