The Texas Stars are moving ahead quite nicely this week despite the absence of some of their top players. After dropping the first game of the week to the Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks), the Stars rattled off three straight wins, scoring a total of twenty goals across the games.
Rookies Alex Chiasson and Austin Smith stepped up in the week. Smith scored his first and second AHL goals while Chiasson had four goals and two assists. Matt Fraser picked up goals nineteen and twenty to continue a seven-game point streak, where he has picked up six goals and four assists. Fraser is tied for second in the league for goal scoring. Tomas Vincour has picked up his play this week as well on the first line, tallying three goal and two assists.
The Stars also had contributions from names you may not have heard, such as Justin Dowling, who signed stnadard player contract earlier this month. Dowling, an ECHL All-Star had two game-winning goals this week. Among those less mentioned names, Patrik Nemeth is very quietly building himself a solid stat line. After starting the season with too many badly timed penalties, Nemeth has eleven assists and an eye-popoing plus-14 rating, best on the team. His plus-minus ranks him second in the league among rookies.
When it rains, it pours. Jamie Oleksiak has six assists in three games this week, and Toby Petersen is on a six game point streak. The Stars have the #2 ranked power play behind the rapidly falling Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers). Adding to all of this, the Stars released a player on PTO this week, meaning one of their veterans, Travis Morin or Francis Wathier, is healthy again.
And, by the way, 55 points is good enough for a tie with the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) and first place overall in the AHL. Like I said, when it rains...
Fraser and Oleksiak Named All-Stars
Matt Fraser and Jamie Oleksiak were named AHL All-Stars this past week. The two will compete for the Western Conference in the game and associated festivities. The game is usually broadcast on national television and will be played on Monday the 28th at 6:00 PM Central.
The loss broke the Stars franchise-record winning streak at six games. Brett Sterling collected two goals for the Wolves on the night. Matt Fraser had the Stars' lone goal. Jack Campbell took the loss, stopping 24 of 27 shots.
The Stars used a season-high four goal first period to power their 6-4 win over the Wolves Friday in Rosemont. Texas got two goals from Alex Chiasson and three assists from Jamie Oleksiak. In addition, Austin Smith collected his first career AHL goal in the first period. The six goal team effort was also a season high. Jack Campbell had 27 saves on 31 shots in the game.
Toby Petersen, Taylor Vause and MIke Hedden also had goals in the game.
The Stars vaulted themselves into a tie for first place in the conference with a franchise-record tying eight goal effort Saturday against the Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues). Seven Stars had multipoint nights including Tomas Vincour (2g,1a) and Alex Chiasson (1g,2a). Austin Smith picked up his second goal in as many nights.
Texas also got goals from Matt Fraser, Justin Dowling, Toby Petersen and Maxime Fortunus.
The Stars had a perfect special teams performance as well with three of three effort on the power play and four penalty kills on four attempts. Richard Bachman collected the win, stopping 30 of 34 shots in his first game action since the end of the 2011-12 season. With the win, Texas closed the season series with Peoria with a perfect 4-0 record.
Down three goals in the second period, the Stars put together six unanswered goals, including three power play goals, to win 6-3 over the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks). In the Monday matinee game, the Stars got points from their big contributors as Matt Fraser, Tomas Vincour and Antoine Roussel all had a goal and an assist. Alex Chiasson had a goal and Jamie Oleksiak and Toby Petersen picked up two assists each.
Maxime Fortunus and Justin Dowling each picked up their second goal in as many games.
Richard Bachman stopped 29 of 32 shots against in the game. The two points moved Texas into a tie with the Charlotte Checkers for first place in the entire AHL at 55 points overall. The Stars have won nine of their last ten as well.
The Week Ahead
Texas briefly stops at home before heading out to San Antonio to play the Rampage on Friday (Florida Panthers). The Rampage will visit the Cedar Park Center on Saturday. The entire league will then take an extended layoff to celebrate the AHL All-Star Break.
Scott Glennie continues his injury woes; this time, it's a broken finger. Francis Wathier and Travis Morin were out this week, but one is expected to return this weekend after the release of winger Joey Martin.