That’s all that currently stands between the Texas Stars and a spot in the 2019 AHL playoffs.
Well, that and a bit of luck.
Texas has three games remaining in their 2018-19 regular season schedule. They currently sit in sixth in the AHL’s Central Division, one point behind both the Manitoba Moose and the Iowa Wild. They need to jump those teams and land in the No. 4 spot to make this year’s postseason.
The good news? All three of Texas’ remaining games are against the San Antonio Rampage, one of the worst teams in the AHL this season.
The bad news? Manitoba and Iowa both have three games remaining as well, as do the Rockford IceHogs, who are two points behind Texas.
Talk about a close race.
The Stars do have a bit of momentum going in their favor. They’re 4-0-1 in their past five games, with a 2-1 win and a 4-3 shootout loss last week to Rockford.
Once again, prospects were a big part of the equation for Texas in their two most recent contests.
Ty Dellandrea scored his first professional goal on Friday, and he did so in dramatic fashion, converting on a third period penalty shot with an absolute laser:
Penalty shot ✅— AHL (@TheAHL) April 6, 2019
First pro goal ✅
Have a game, Ty Dellandrea! pic.twitter.com/WUuTlxHaZa
Joel L’Esperance, fresh upon returning to Texas after his demotion from Dallas, potted his 30th AHL goal of the year on Saturday. Nick Caamano and Rhett Gardner also had goals in the match.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Jake Oettinger started both games in net over Philippe Desrosiers. What’s not surprising, however, is that Oettinger held his own, stopping 23 of 24 shots on Friday and then 18 of 21 on Saturday before allowing two goals on five shootout attempts.
Texas’ games this week come Wednesday at home, Friday in San Antonio, and then home again on Saturday. To say that it will be their biggest week of the season would be an understatement.
North American Juniors
Overage winger Tye Felhaber was bestowed the honor of OHL “On the Run” Player of The Week on Monday after recording six points in two playoff games, which also included a hat trick that he scored on Friday. So far, he’s posted 10 points in six playoff games for the Ottawa 67’s, who hold a 2-0 lead in their series versus the Sudbury Wolves.
Jason Robertson and the Niagara IceDogs currently hold a comfortable 2-0 series lead over the Oshawa Generals. Robertson, no surprise, is up to his old offensive tricks, with five goals and eight points in seven games so far. He also has a league-high 45 shots on goal. Robertson scored the game-winning overtime goal in Friday’s Game 1 victory:
Liam Hawel and the Guelph Storm are currently in a deep 3-0 hole at the hands of the London Knights in that series, which hasn’t been particularly close. Hawel has been held off the score sheet so far against the Knights.
Forward Jacob Peterson, one of the Stars’ top under-the-radar prospects, keeps ingratiating himself with Frolunda in the SHL and earning more ice time. He scored again for them on Sunday, bringing him up to four points in six playoff games. Frolunda is currently up 1-0 in their semifinal series against Lulea.
Albin Eriksson’s season came to an end last week when Skelleftea was eliminated in the SHL quarterfinals by Djurgardens. The 18-year-old winger finished with one goal in six playoff games. He’ll likely return to Skelleftea’s pro club against next season.