Defenseman Dan Spang has been a bright spot for the Texas Stars this season. The AHL-only blueliner is #3 on the team in scoring.
Texas found themselves in a strange place this week, playing more than one game in 7 days. What a concept! The Stars put together a 3-1-0-0 record in their 4 games this week. Rookie goaltender Richard Bachman was the start of the week and earned AHL Player of the Week honors while the Stars released unfortunate news about one of their other goaltenders.
Texas called up Adrien LeMay from the Allen Americans on Tuesday to backup Bachman in Wednesday's game against the Chicago Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers). The temporary fix goaltender was sent down in favor of Tyler Beskorowany from the Idaho Steelheads. This pointed to a more serious issue for Brent Krahn. Krahn was held out of all the weekend's action with Beskorowany getting his first AHL start on Sunday. Krahn is currently listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury.
The Stars broke several records this week on offense in a blockbuster game against Chicago and also played defensively strong later in the week. Inside we'll discuss all of these things and more.
Texas Hangs Eight on Chicago, Set Multiple Scoring Records
(HDH blog link)
The Texas Stars have never precisely been known for their offensive prowess, scoring 6 goals just once in franchise history. However, three separate offensive records came tumbling down on Tuesday against the Wolves.
Texas was down 2-1 at the end of the 1st period but then turned on the jets. Texas got two early PP goals in the period and then didn't look back. Trevor Ludwig was boarded by Andrew Deveaux, which generated a 5 minute major penalty. The Stars collected 3 PP goals in the stretch, including a 5-on-3 goal when Boris Valabik took a minor for roughing. Texas would wrap it up with another goal in the third with under two minutes left in the game.
Texas set records for most goals in a game (8), most goals in a period (6), and most power play goals (5). Goal scorers for Texas included Tomas Vincour (2), Greg Rallo, Francis Wathier, Travis Morin, Luke Gazdic, Mathieu Tousignant, and Aaron Gagnon. Only three Stars were without a point in the game. Defenseman Dan Spang and forward Fabian Brunnnstrom had 3 assists each in the game.
Stars Need Shootout to Finish Barons, 2-1
(HDH blog link)
The last time Texas visited the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) it was a shellacking by the home team 6-1. Texas's Richard Bachman and OKC's Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers had a goalie battle in this one instead.
Travis Morin broke the scoring open in the first on the power play. Oklahoma City countered in the 2nd with a PP tally of their own from Hartikainen, assisted by rookie phenom Linus Omark. Bachman would turn away 35 of 36 shots against through 65 minutes of work while Deslauriers would turn away 34 of 35. The skills competition would decide the game with Tomas Vincour and Aaron Gagnon finding twine to eek out the 2-1 victory.
Bachman, Stars Shutout Milwaukee Admirals 2-0
(HDH blog link)
Another high-flying team, the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators), came to visit the Cedar Park Center for Saturday evening battle between divisional rivals. Another goalie battle ensued. Milwaukee tender Mark Dekanich came into the game sporting a 1.60 GAA and a .945 SV% in 12 games with an 8-1-1 record to boot.
Greg Rallo scored his 4th of the year with time winding down in the 1st period on a nasty wrister where he used the defenseman as a screen for his own goaltender. Raymond Sawada scored his first of the year on a tap-in in the crease just 3:45 into the second. That would be all she wrote on the scoring as Richard Bachman turned away all 26 Milwaukee shots. Texas looked strong, going so far as to kill off a 96 second long 5-on-3 power play opportunity by the Admirals.
Bachman has now dropped his GAA to 1.91 with a .937 SV% and a 5-2-0 record. "I though Bachman made the saves he had to tonight," said Coach Glen Gulutzan. "Last night I thought he won the game for us."
We're gelling more as a team," said Bachman postgame. "We know where guys are going to be and what to expect." Coach Gulutzan credited the streak to Texas's continuing maturation as a young team while tipping his hat to the veteran players who have helped to reinforce his system of play. "Our game is starting to develop an identity," added Coach Gulutzan. "I think we might have had it earlier last year, but we're certainly starting to develop it."
Houston Stop Streaking Stars, 4-2
(HDH blog link)
Texas came into the Sunday matinee game in Houston on a 4 game win streak, their best of the year. The Aeros (Minnesota Wild), also playing the third game of a three-in-three, would put an end to that.
Severin Blindenbacher scored his first goal of the year in the first period to knot the score at 1. Blindenbacher was sidelined for much of the early season with concussion like symptoms. Greg Rallo scored his fifth of the year on the power play in the second to take the lead. Former Stars Warren Peters got the game-tying goal on a tap-in with one second remaining in the second period.
With the game poised to go to overtime, rookie center Jarod Palmer found a rebound off Tyler Beskorowany and potted his fourth of the year. The Aeros collected an empty netter and handed the Stars their first loss of the week.
Of note in the game was a big hit by Colton Gillies on Tomas Vincour. Vincour left the game in the first and did not return. No word on his status.
The Week Ahead
Texas plays three games this week, all at home. Houston will come to town on Wednesday night. Then the Stars will host back to back games Friday and Saturday against the Admirals and San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes). If you're coming out to the games by chance, Texas and Texas A&M's club hockey teams will face off on Saturday after the Stars' game.
Obviously, Richard Bachman is on fire. Bachman went a perfect 3-0-0 in three starts for the Stars last week, stopping 87 of 90 shots (0.97, .967) along the way. Also of note is Greg Rallo. The forward, who was snakebit early in the season, has poured it on of late to become the #2 scorer on the team with 5-4-9. This week he had 3-1-4 and was plus-2.
Scott McCulloch has had a bit of trouble maintaining his early pace after coming back from an injury. McCulloch was Texas's leading scorer in the early going with 4-1-5 in four games. After coming back from a short injury stint, McCulloch has been limited to 0-2-2 in 6 games. The fan favorite plays on a line with Travis Morin and Greg Rallo.
Brent Krahn is day-to-day with a lower body injury. Tomas Vincour's condition has not been specified but it would not surprise me to see him held out of some games this week. Better safe than sorry, especially since Texas has some depth at forward with players like Cody Chupp, Sean Backman and Tristan King in the system.