Texas Stars Report: The Illinois Road Trip

CHICAGO IL - DECEMBER 08: Brandon Segal #24 of the Dallas Stars is congratulated by teammate Philip Larsen #36 after scoring a second period goal against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 8 2010 in Chicago Illinois. Both are currently playing in Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Texas Stars (23-14-2-2, #5 West) struck it out on the road this week, visiting all three teams located in lovely and scenic Illinois over a 4 day stretch.  

As you're surely aware, Texas didn't return to Texas with all the players they left with.  Fabian Brunnstrom is now property of the Toronto Maple Leafs and will likely play for the Marlies.  It is a shame for Texas fans that he had to go to settle salary issues in Dallas.  He had just recently begun to pick up his play, earning 7 points in his last 6 games as a Star including a 4 game goal streak.

To 'replace' him we have Brandon Segal, who was the other sacrificial lamb to the salary dumping necessary to acquire Jamie Langenbrunner.  I haven't gotten a chance to see Segal play yet in person, but he has not been too much of a stand out player yet.  He collected an empty net goal in Saturday's game and is minus-1 so far.  There are high hopes for the winger though, as he collected 52 points in 69 games only two seasons ago with the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning).

In addition to all of the player transfer hub-bub, Travis Morin was selected to start the AHL All-Star Game.  Morin has very quietly been having a standout season, currently at 13-19-32 and a plus-11 rating.  Morin was signed by Dallas over the summer as an AHL depth guy but might turn into something more if he keeps up this play.  Two years ago, Morin was an ECHL All-Star. NHL All-Star in two years?

Stars Win The Day 4-2 Over Chicago
(HDH blog link)

The Stars played the first ever day game in Texas history in Chicago against the Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers).  The two teams skated through a scoreless first, but Chicago jumped out to a two goal lead in the second period.

Texas answered back with 3 goals in 4 minutes spanning the end of the second and into the third off the sticks of Dan Spang, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Colton Sceviour.  Texas didn't look back as Richard Bachman locked it down and Brunnstrom collected an empty netter to take his point total on the day to three. Travis Morin and Maxime Fortunus had two assists each as well.

IceHogs Best Texas 3-1 in Illinois
(HDH blog link)

Historically, Texas has done extremely well against the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks).  The Hogs were eliminated by the Stars in last year's playoffs in 4 games and Texas held a 7-3 advantage all time coming into the game.  None of that mattered Friday night in Rockford.

Kyle Beach and Colton Sceviour traded goals, but then Jeremy Morin's tally only 69 seconds after Sceviour's goal turned out to be the game winner.  Richard Bachman again performed admirably, earning third star honors but ultimately coming up short, stopping 30 of 32 Rockford shots faced.

More inside including the Stars unexpected win over Peoria and some status updates on Dallas prospects...

Stars Pick Up Important Two Points Against Peoria In 3-1 Win
(HDH blog link)

If the Rockford game was a "should win", the Peoria Rivermen game was certainly a "should lose".  Peoria is the #1 team in the West and rookie netminder Jake Allen is on fire with a 15-4-0 record and a starting slot at the AHL All-Star Game.

The Stars never trailed in this one as Philip Larsen collected his first professional goal in North America on a great cross-ice feed from Colton Sceviour.  Greg Rallo continued the offense at the end of the first period with a power play goal from Francis Wathier and Dan Spang.

Brandon Segal scored an empty netter to seal it all up.  Tyler Beskorowany got his first start since New Year's Eve and received first star honors after stopping 33 of 34 Rivermen shots.

The Week Ahead

The Stars return home on Tuesday to face the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) then strike out on the road for a Friday game at the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild).  Texas then returns to Cedar Park for a game that will surely be a nice goalie duel between Bachman and Mark Dekanich of the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators).

Who's Hot

Ignoring Fabian Brunnstrom's stats for the time being, Colton Sceviour, Maxime Fortunus and Greg Rallo have all had good weeks.  Rallo was 1-2-3 with a plus-2 rating; Sceviour was 2-1-3 with a plus-3 rating, and Maxime Fortunus starting showing some offensive spark with a 0-3-3 and a plus-3 on the week.  Kudos to Philip Larsen as well for scoring his first goal in Texas.

Who's Not

It's been a tough week for Ondrej Roman, really perhaps a tough year. Being a Dallas product, there had to be some expectations there for performance.  Roman has managed 3-8-11 in 36 games.  This week he was minus-3 with no points and was scratched for Saturday's game in Peoria.

Injuries

Brent Krahn and Scott McCulloch are both still out with lower body injuries. Severin Blindenbacher continues to be out with an upper body injury.

You can always follow the Texas Stars by reading my blog at HundredDegreeHockey.com, following me on Twitter @100degreehockey, or becoming a fan on Facebook.

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