Traverse City Championship Game: Stars Play Well, But Lose 6-5

Relentless forecheck disappeared in third period, which led to a four-goal explosion by the Red Wings.

The Dallas Stars came out ready to play in the championship game at the 2019 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City against the hosting Detroit Red Wings. For two periods, the Stars used a four-line, relentless forecheck to dominate play, and after a last-minute Emil Djuse tally, entered the third period with a 4-2 lead.

Starting with puck drop in the third, however, the Red Wings found their energy and their game, while the Stars grew a bit tentative. A Ryan Kuffner bank-shot off of Ben Gleason’s skate at 8:40 in the third opened the floodgates to a disastrous 10-minute stretch for the Stars. During that time, Dallas gave up four unanswered goals turning a 4-2 lead into a 6-4 deficit.

A last-minute extra attacker blast from the point by John Nyberg made things interesting, but ultimately a solid effort by Red Wing netminder Sean Romeo held up for the win.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Tye FelhaberTy DellandreaJoel Kiviranta
Riley TufteRiley DamianiJason Robertson
Adam MascherinRhett GardnerNick Caamano
Josh MelnickDiego CugliettaNicholas Porco

Dawson BarteauxBen Gleason
Emil DjuseThomas Harley
John Nyberg — Tanner Jago

Jake Oettinger


Over the four days of the tournament, there was solid play by most of the Stars players. A handful of players either lived up to their hype or exceeded solid expectations.

Ty Dellandrea

The question coming in was whether Dellandrea has the game to jump from the OHL to the NHL. Centering the Stars’ top line, Dellandrea lived up to his reputation as an offensive catalyst and solid two-way center. Going into training camp, the NHL remains a solid possibility.

Jake Oettinger

The Stars traded up to make Oettinger a first-round pick, which was a risky move. The third period in Traverse City didn’t end well, but by his body of work, Oettinger looks the part of a quality goaltender. He should challenge for the starting position with the Texas Stars, and has a great shot at taking that slot.

Ben Gleason

Last year, Gleason turned a great Traverse City tournament into a contract. This year, Gleason looked completely comfortable as the go-to guy on the first defensive pair.


Joel Kiviranta & Tye Felhaber

Both wingers worked their way onto the first line with Dellandrea. Kiviranta showed an ability to get quality shots off in tight quarters and to find the back of the net. Felhaber was relentless on the forecheck, and it was frequently his efforts that led to finishes by his linemates.

Emil Djuse & Thomas Harley

Djuse started off a bit shaky in his first game, but once paired with Harley, he exhibited good puck-moving skills and a solid shot. Harley just made the proper play at the proper time; a solid defender who can get up ice.

Riley Tufte

Concerns have been expressed within the Stars fanbase about Tufte, especially given his underlying numbers while playing at Minnesota-Duluth. Tufte showed passing skills, a shot, solid skating, and perhaps most importantly, a comfort level with his 6-foot-6 frame and a willingness to use it.

Rhett Gardner

Defensively dependable, with just a bit of offensive flair. Players like Gardner find spots on NHL rosters.


Jason Robertson

Robertson wasn’t bad, per se. He just never got going. Robertson is going to end up with Texas this year, and given his potential it might be nice to see him on a line with Tufte and Tanner Kero.

Colton Point

Colton Point looked off in taking the loss against the New York Rangers, his only action. With Oettinger and Landon Bow slated for Cedar Park, Point will be sharing duties with Tomas Sholl with the Idaho Steelheads. Sholl was on the ECHL all-rookie team, and was second team all-ECHL, so Point will need to up his game to find ice time.

Looking Forward

In addition to Dellandrea, the Stars featured several under-agers who will be returning to the juniors teams sometime in the next week or so. Solid contributions were made by fifth-round picks from the last two years, Riley Damiani and Nicholas Porco.

Kitchner Rangers’ Damiani centered the Stars’ second line, and a smaller size and younger age didn’t affect his contributions. Saginaw Spirits’ Porco, who is not yet under contract, showed good instincts and a nose for the puck on what was a somewhat lackluster Dallas fourth line.

There is a quick turnaround for these Stars, many of whom are headed to training camp on Friday. The NHL isn’t in the immediate future for most of them, and quite a few will be filling out the Texas Stars roster for the upcoming season. Based on the showing in Traverse City, Texas has the makings of a team that could make some noise in the Calder Cup playoffs next spring.