Texas stumbled into the Christmas break with a 1-1-1 week. The Stars (11-9-8-0, 30 pts, 11th Western Conf.) went to OT against a good Utica team after leading 2-0 in the first period. They beat a bad Toronto team and then got crushed by another playoff bubble team in Hamilton.
The Stars have a long break here and will not play another game until Friday in San Antonio. When they do resume play, they will be without Julius Honka, who will be facing off against the United States in Montreal as part of the 2015 World Junior Championship.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, Texas would not score again in Friday's game. The host team, Utica (Vancouver Canucks), tallied three unanswered goals and handed the Stars their league-leading eighth overtime loss by a 3-2 final.
The Stars drew an early penalty and managed to score before Jussi Rynnas could even make it off the ice for the extra attacker. Greg Rallo, who drew the call, assisted on Radek Faksa's 3rd of the year. Scott Glennie piciked up his third of the year off the assist from Brendan Ranford and Jesse Root as the period closed and the Stars appeared to be in pole position. Former Star Dustin Jeffrey opened the Comets' scoring account on the night in the second period. A wrister from Brendan Gaunce in the third tied the game up at two a piece.
In overtime, Bobby Sanguenetti scored on the breakaway to end the game during the 4-on-4 segment. Jussi Rynnas finished with 28 saves on 31 shots.
The Stars got the exact type of game they needed Saturday afternoon in Toronto, scoring in each period and allowing just a single goal the other way. The club was perfect on the penalty kill and scored on the power play as well. Jack Campbell saw his first game action since December 3rd and stopped 32 of 33.
Derek Hulak opened the scoring in the first period off the assist of Taylor Stefishen, his first point as a Texas Star. The rebound goal was the only scoring in the first period, where Texas just shellacked Christopher Gibson in the Marlies' net. They outshot Toronto 14-5 in the frame.
Toronto outshot Texas 13-12 in the second period, but it didn't matter for the score in the frame. The only scoring of the period came as the Stars had a man advantage. Derek Meech had his fourth of the year with an assist from the newest Stars, Matt Mangene. Mangene played last night in Florida and earned his first point for the Stars less than 16 hours later. Mangene had a solid game as the Stars dressed seven defensemen. William Wrenn shuffled out of the lineup as Scott Valentine and Mangene stepped in. Valentine had been out since last week's shot block against Charlotte that sent him limping off the ice.
The teams traded goals in the third period. Brendan Ranford got his fifth of the year in the opening two minutes of the frame. Jesse Root had the lone assist. Toronto's Matt Frattin broke up Jack Campbell's shutout a few minutes later to make it 3-1.
The Stars took a few late penalties and found themselves down 6-on-4 and 6-on-5 in the final five minutes of the game. They would bend but not break to collect two points.
Texas dropped their final game before the Christmas break by a 5-2 final against the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens). Greg Rallo got a goal to stay hot with four in his last five games. Still, Texas dropped the contest with Jack Campbell taking a loss, stopping 22 of 26 shots. Justin Dowling scored the other Texas goal. Hamilton's Connor Crisp earned a three game suspension in the contest for leaving the bench to join a fight.
The Week Ahead
The Stars will resume their schedule on Friday in San Antonio against the Rampage (Florida Panthers). Saturday and Sunday will see them return home to face the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) and San Antonio again.
Branden Troock missed all three games this weekend. Brett Ritchie missed Saturday and Sunday. The condition of both is currently unknown.