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Traverse City: Stars End Tournament on a High Note, 7-3 Over the Blues

Dallas uses speed, odd man rushes to overwhelm a physical St. Louis squad. End tournament with a 1-3 record.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

The Dallas Stars fourth line started the game, and they set the tone with an aggressive forecheck. Payoff came early when Jacob Holmes picked a short side corner on a snap shot while cruising down from the point at 1:17.

The team earned two power plays, and although they didn’t pay off, it was indicative of how Dallas took the initiative. The Stars were able to set up the cycle when they had possession and their forecheck led to quite a few St. Louis Blues dumps. Coming up ice, Dallas had great north-south speed, using cross-ice passes to create space.

Riley Damiani paid it off on a 2-1 breakaway at 13:34, to give Dallas a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Shots were 12-2 Stars.

Second Period

There was a Riley Tufte fight at puck drop, which set the tone for a physical second period. In then end, the Stars outscored the Blues 4-3, but shots were 15-11 St. Louis.

All four of the Stars goals were off the rush, frequently into an open net after solid feeds. Scorers for Dallas were Francesco Arcuri (3:31), Conner Roulette (3:55), Ryan Shea (4:55) and Wyatt Johnston (13:02).

Early in the period, Tye Felhaber took a roughing penalty, and the ensuing power play gave the Blues their first goal and momentum. St. Louis kept up the offensive zone pressure throughout the period, but the Stars were able to break it down with speed - and they buried the shots when they got an opportunity.

The St. Louis prospect pipeline still appears to be built on size and physicality, and their announcers seemed genuinely surprised that the Stars group isn’t the same. Score after two: 6-3, with shots 23-17 Dallas.

Third Period

Relative calm returned in the third period. St. Louis was able to establish offensive zone time, with the Stars relying on breakout chances to counterattack. Remi Poirier stopped everything that got through and the outcome was never really in doubt.

The Stars scored the period’s only goal off the power play, with Riley Damiani setting Wyatt Johnston in the slot for a one-timer. Final score: 7-3 Dallas.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jacob Peterson (40) - Riley Damiani (13) - Yauheni Aksiantsiuk (48)
Francesco Arcuri (54) - Mavrik Bourque (45) - Antonio Stranges (71)
Conner Roulette (52) - Wyatt Johnston (53) - Logan Stankhoven (57)
Riley Tufte (27) - Oscar Back (37) - Tye Felhaber (43)

Thomas Harley (55) - Max Martin (51)
Artem Grushnikov (59) - Dawson Barteaux (65)
Ryan Shea (46) - Jacob Holmes (60)

Remi Poirier (50)
Adam Scheel (31)

Scratches

Luke Profaca (58)
Fredrik Karlstrom (41)
Ty Dellandrea (10)
Jordan Kawaguchi (42)

Standouts

Wyatt Johnston and Arten Grushnikov. Both were unknown quantities coming in, and the Stars first and second round picks both demonstrated an ability to impact the play on the ice. Grushnikov is a big kid, and if he can maintain his puck skills as he keeps growing, he’s going to be a force in the defensive end.

Peterson, Karlstrom and Bock all had some small ice issues, but improved as the tournament proceeded. Peterson, in particular, showed some top line talent - especially with Damiani.

For the veterans, Riley Tufte showed a game that is a major upgrade from last year in Texas. Admittedly, he was an older player in Traverse City, but it’s something to look at once the AHL season starts.

Closing Thoughts

Dallas played more prospects than any other team in Traverse City, so it’s not surprising that they came out with a losing record. They also brought a team that was pretty light on top end talent on the blue line. Goaltending was disappointing, but that is a least somewhat understandable given the periodic disarray in front of them.

On offense, the Stars looked fast and dangerous. Quite a few of these prospects who will be headed back for one more year of CHL action, but those who are headed to Cedar Park should combine with the veteran’s on the Texas Stars to make the AHL team a contender.

In spite of the record, there was a lot to like about what we saw in Traverse City, especially if you think that the team is due for a change of identity at the NHL level.