Matt Fraser in the 12/21 game at Houston (Credit: Houston Aeros)
Between callups and games lost, it's been a rough two weeks for the Texas Stars (14-16-0-1, 29 pts, #14 Western Conference). The AHL gives a much more significant Christmas break, so the Stars only had one game in the week surrounding the 25th, a strong win over Houston to send them to the break.
After Christmas, Texas returned home to beat the San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers) in overtime 3-2. Colton Sceviour scored the game winner. Texas then traveled to Abbotsford, BC, via Seattle for two games against the Heat (Calgary Flames). They dropped both contests just before the New Year and now sit idle until the weekend. Given the callup carousel, that is probably best right now.
As Stars fans know, Jordie Benn and now Brenden Dillon have been called up to Dallas, giving Texas just five blue liners: Brad Lukowich, Maxime Fortunus, Dan Spang, Jace Coyle and Hubert Labrie. Texas GM Scott White will have to add at least one defenseman as Lukowich had been battling a nagging injury and may not be 100% quite yet. Such is life in the AHL.
In other Dallas prospect news, Texas called up Jake Hauswirth, who was not expected to make the jump to the AHL, and liked what they saw. Hauswirth has gotten into four games since the callup and has recorded no points.
Inside we'll break down each individual game and take a look at some winnable weekend games...
Ryan Garbutt had a break out game for Texas in Houston. With Houston (MInnesota Wild) up early 1-0, Hubert Labrie tied things up with his second of the year. Garbutt scored two in the span of 68 seconds at the end of the second to make it 3-1. Houston would add another, but it would not be enough.
Stars Rally for 3-2 OT Win Over Rampage
Texas had yet to tally a come-from-behind victory in the third period on the season. Texas was down 2-1 after forty with the only goal coming from Matt Fraser, assisted by Sceviour and Lukowich. Down by one in the third, it was again Matt Fraser tying things up and sending it to OT. Linemates Travis Morin and Francis Wathier assisted on the game tying goal.
In the overtime period, Colton Sceviour was your hero. Putting his fourth of the year past goalie Dov Grumet-Morris for the 3-2 victory, assisted by Mike Hedden and Dan Spang. The win maked the first time Texas has rallied from behind after 40 on the season.
Abbotsford Burns Texas 5-3
Despite 45 shots on net, Texas dropped a 5-3 decision in British Columbia on the 29th. Texas was going punch for punch with the Heat through the second period, trailing 4-3 after two. None of the Stars' thirteen shots made it through in the final period and the Heat added one to salt it away at 5-3.
Texas got goals from Scott Glennie, Colton Sceviour, and Stephen Schultz. Tyler Beskorowany took the loss with 24 saves on 29 shots.
Heat Slip By Stars 2-1 in Low-Scoring Affair
Stephen Schultz, recently added to the power play, started things out early for Texas with a PPG at the 3:35 mark of the first. Unfortunately, it would be Texas's only goal in the game. The Heat tied things just 38 seconds later and then pushed past Texas in the 3rd with Lance Bouma's third of the year.
Jimmy Spratt got the start for Texas, stopping 26 of 28 shots. Beskorowany was the backup, as the Stars waited for Andrew Raycroft to join the team back in Cedar Park.
The Week Ahead
With all the callup tumult, it's a good thing that Texas doesn't play again until Friday at San Antonio. They will continue a 3-in-3 weekend with home games against the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks), the only team in the West with a worse record than their own.