There won’t be any playoff hockey for the Dallas Stars this spring, sadly, but if it’s any consolation, Stars fans can at least cheer on the playoff dreams of some of the organization’s prospects.
Two of the team’s top forward prospects are plying their trade over in the Ontario Hockey League, and both players capped off strong weeks by helping their teams advance to the second round of the postseason.
Jason Robertson picked up four goals and three assists as the Kingston Frontenacs eliminated the North Bay Battalion in five games. The Fronts, a high-scoring team led by Robertson and other draft players such as Gabe Vilardi, Cliff Pu, Sean Day, and Jeremy Helvig, will now face an even better offensive team in the the Barrie Colts, in what should be a guns-blazing affair.
Nick Caamano is also off to the second round after the Hamilton Bulldogs eliminated the Ottaws 67’s - the first-ever playoff series win for the young Bulldogs franchise. Caamano had two goals and three assists in the five-game series. Hamilton will now face the Niagara IceDogs in a series where the Bulldogs are the heavy favorites.
Interestingly, if both Kingston and Hamilton advance through the second round, the two teams will face each other in the OHL semifinals, ensuring that one Stars prospect would make the league’s finals.
It wasn’t all good news for Stars prospects in the OHL, however, as Liam Hawel and the Guelph Storm were eliminated. Hawel had six points in six games for Guelph.
North American Juniors
Over in the WHL, defense prospect Ondrej Vala also advanced to the next round of the playoffs, picking up one goal and one assist in five games as the Everett Silvertips closed out the Seattle Thunderbirds. Everett’s opponent in the second round is not yet determined.
After a week’s break, the NCAA Frozen Four will begin on Thursday. Riley Tufte and Minnesota-Duluth will take on Ohio State in the early game, and then Joseph Cecconi and the University of Michigan will face off against Notre Dame immediately afterward. The championship game is set for Saturday evening and could very well feature both players.
Miro Heiskanen is off to the semifinals in the Liiga after HIFK eliminated JYP in six games. The Stars’ top prospect had five points in the series. HIFK will now face Karpat, with the first game happening today.
Right now, there's no player I enjoy watching more than Miro Heiskanen. Here are some quick highlights from the 3rd period - this is just what he does day in and day out. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/5AUefJKBaZ— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) March 28, 2018
The Stars’ last remaining Swedish player, John Nyberg, just had his SHL season end as Frolunda was eliminated in the playoffs in six games. However, there might still be hockey for him left to play. He’s been invited to try out for the Swedish national team for an upcoming series against Slovakia, and there is also a chance that he could come over to North America and join the Texas Stars in their playoff push.
The Texas Stars keep hanging on in their race for a spot in the AHL playoffs, and goaltender Landon Bow is arguably the biggest reason why right now.
Bow has started the past five games for Texas, producing a combined 0.937 save percentage and a record of 2-2-1. This stretch included two back-to-backs for Bow and two games where Texas got doubled up in shots, so he’s certainly had to overcome some adversity.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, Denis Gurianov has not played very well during this most recent stretch of hockey. He is without a point in his past four games, and has gone three straight games without even registering a shot on goal. Simply put, the Stars need a lot more than that out of him in the coming weeks.
Another Texas Stars note: Roope Hintz was injured during Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals and did not play in Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Wolves. His injury status is not publicly known.