The Dallas Stars saved their best game of the tournament so far for Monday’s matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Needing a victory in regulation and a little cooperation from the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers, the Stars got both to advance to the Traverse City Championship Game that takes place tonight.
Second overall draft pick Kaapo Kakko scored the goal of the day, to push the Rangers to an overtime victory over the Wild, but that wasn’t enough to keep this group of Stars from winning the group. If you haven’t seen it by now, take a look here.
This Stars roster may be missing last year’s third overall pick, but the group does include a first round pick from each of the last four years. There is a lot of talent on display in Victory Green.
Against the Blue Jackets, special teams were the key to victory. The Stars went 3-for-4 on the power play while holding Columbus to just one of six, including an extended 5-on-3. Adam Mascherin cashed in for two goals and two assists to lead the team, but once again it was a balanced offensive effort.
The Stars scored in a variety of ways. Rhett Gardner scored off a two-on-one break on a nice doorstep feed from Mascherin. The whole play was set up by a tape-to-tape cross ice setup entering the zone. On the next goal, Mascherin was able to get a hold of the puck in a net-front power play scramble to knock it in. Dallas ended the first up 2-0.
The Stars’ third goal, again on the power play, came off an unassisted, length-of-the-rink rush by Riley Tufte. Tufte found a short-side hole to finish the solo effort.
With momentum and the scoresheet tilting the Stars’ way, a wave of penalties hit. Nicholas Porco took three in total, but he was also the lone bright spot on a fourth line that didn’t show well for the game. Two Blue Jackets goals, only one officially on the power play, but both related, tightened the game up and for much of the period, Columbus carried the play. Ty Dellandrea reestablished a two-goal lead late in the second when the puck found his stick in the high crease, again on the power play. The second ended 4-2.
The third period played a bit tighter, but the Blue Jackets made things interesting at 4:30 left with a deflection that beat Jake Oettinger high glove-side. With the game on the line, however, Oettinger robbed Columbus on an apparently open wraparound, and Mascherin sealed the win with a last-second empty netter.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Tye Felhaber — Ty Dellandrea — Joel Kiviranta
Riley Tufte — Riley Damiani — Jason Robertson
Adam Mascherin — Rhett Gardner — Nick Caamano
Josh Melnick — Diego Cuglietta — Nicholas Porco
Dawson Barteaux — Ben Gleason
Emil Djuse — Thomas Harley
John Nyberg — Tanner Jago
Jake Oettinger continues to impress. He has a calm demeanor in net, and seems to be in position to make the saves that he should make. He also stopped a breakaway, several open shots in the crease, and with the game on the line, somehow got his right pad to the post to stone a Blue Jackets wraparound.
Ty Dellandrea isn’t a sleeper, but the other teenagers have been impressive. Riley Damiani and Nicholas Porco were both fifth round picks. Both will be back in juniors this year, but they have demonstrated that they have the ability to be productive against professionals.
Dawson Barteaux looked solid, and as a sixth-round pick he doesn’t get much attention, but he did not look out of place with any of his partners, and was getting top-pair minutes for a good portion of this game.
The Stars are in the championship final. We’re not going to nitpick.
Things To Look For On Tuesday
Jake Oettinger will be in goal for championship game tomorrow. Stars last won tournament in 2008. This is what they are playing for pic.twitter.com/a9ukchGKS9— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 9, 2019
This is the last chance to impress or a great way to hit stride going into training camp.
Gametime is 4:00 p.m. CDT. Play is on the West Rink at Centre Ice Arena. Detroit has played all three of their games on the West Rink sheet and are 2-0-1. Dallas played on the West Rink once, losing to the New York Rangers on Saturday.