It was a pretty difficult, though in the end rewarding, week for the Texas Stars. The team had four games last week, all on the road, and came out of it with a 3-1-0 record. There was a squeaker 5-4 win and another that ended after a 10-round shootout. There was a little bit of everything last week.
Jack Campbell and Cristopher Nilstorp alternated starts for the four games and Nilstorp is still looking to be the more impressive goalie (this year at least). Campbell was 1-1-0 and allowed seven goals on 76 shots. Nilstorp went 2-0-0 and allowed four goals on 64 shots (not including stopping nine out of 10 shots in the shootout win).
A good number of skaters had a good week (like Alex Chiasson and Colton Sceviour) but the two that stood out for me were Reilly Smith and Jordie Benn. Smith scored the first pro goal of his career on Tuesday and had two more by the end of the week. He had the most shots among all the forwards last week (11) and was active all over the ice. He had a lot of promise coming out of college and it's nice to finally see him getting on the scoresheet.
Meanwhile, Benn was just as dangerous a sniper as Smith was last week. Benn had three goals of his own, along with one assist, and had the most shots out of anyone of the team (13). It's the best offensive output Benn has had since November of last year.
One worrisome note from last week was the puck possession for the Stars. Texas was outshot in three of the four games and outshot overall by a 137-101 margin. Opposing teams are controlling the game and putting a ton of pressure on Campbell and Nilstorp. It hasn't been a problem for most of the year though so hopefully it doesn't become a recurring issue.
Dec. 05 - Texas Stars @ Milwaukee Admirals
Dec. 07 - Houston Aeros @ Texas Stars
Dec. 08 - Peoria Rivermen @ Texas Stars
The Overseas Pros
Jamie Benn - Hamburg Freezers
The Freezers only had one game last week and Jamie Benn wasn't around to see all of it. Benn got himself a game misconduct during the third period of a 5-0 win over the Iserlohn Roosters after a heated tangle with Mark Bell after Bell took expection to a clean (and rather tame) hit that Benn put on one of Bell's teammates.
Benn went pointless in the game and has now gone two weeks without a point. He did play well though and just couldn't get some help from his line in the shooting department. He is now below the point per game pace though.
Season totals: 16 games, 7 goals, 8 assists, +3 rating
Dec. 04 - Dusseldorfer EG @ Hamburg Freezers
Dec. 07 - Kolner Haie @ Hamburg Freezers
Dec. 09 - Hamburg Freezers @ Hannover Scorpions
Jaromir Jagr - HC Kladno
The Czech Extraliga cannot contain Jaromir Jagr. The yet-to-suit-up-in-a-Stars-sweater Dallas Star had another goal and two assists in two games last week for HC Kladno. That's now six goals and seven assists in the last eight games for veteran. Unfortunately I'm now resigned to the fact that despite signing with the Stars, we'll never see Jagr play a game for the team. He leads the team in points and assists.
Season totals: 24 games, 16 goals, 23 assists, +17 rating
Dec. 04 - Kladno vs Kometa Brno
Dec. 07 - Kladno vs Vitkovice
Dec. 09 - Kladno vs Sparta Prague
Stephane Robidas - HIFK Helsinki
Helsinki had two games last week and Robidas did not register a point in the one game that he played in.
Season totals: 15 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, -11 rating
Dec. 05 - Helsinki vs SaiPa
Dec. 07 - Helsinki vs Hameenlinna
Dec. 08 - Helsinki vs Ilves
Tom Wandell - Severstal Cherepovets
Two games for Wandell and Severstal last week and he was back to his usual no point self. It's difficult to imagine that Wandell actually did explode for three points during the Thanksgiving week.
Season totals: 19 games, 1 goal, 6 assists, -2 rating
Dec. 03 - Severstal vs Avangard (already played. Wandell actually had an assist in a 2-1 OT win)
Dec. 05 - Severstal vs Barys
Dec. 07 - Severstal vs Yugra
Philip Larsen - Rauman Lukko
Larsen had one assist in Lukko's three games last week. Larsen ended November with a solid couple weeks of play with five points in three weeks.
Season totals: 20 games, 5 goals, 6 assists, +8 rating
Dec. 17 - Rauman Lukko vs Assat
Radek Faksa - Kitchener Rangers
The Rangers had three games last week and Faksa was pretty quiet until the Saturday game. He scored one goal and had an assist in that game. It's his first goal since Nov. 6 and only his seventh of the year.
Season totals: 26 games, 7 goals, 17 assists, +3 rating
Dec. 04 - Guelph Storm @ Kitchener Rangers
Dec. 07 - Belleville Bulls @ Kitchener Rangers
Dec. 09 - Ottawa 67's @ Plymouth Whalers
Brett Ritchie - Niagara IceDogs
Another three goals and another two assists for Ritchie in three games this past week. It's just the usual for him now. He had points in all three games and managed a goal against the toughest defensive team in the OHL (Belleville). He has at least a point in 14 of the past 15 games and is now on a renewed three game point and goals streak.
In our weekly look at Ritchie's goals and Ryan Strome's influence, Strome was again a huge part. He had the primary assist on all three of Ritchie's goals last week. 17 of Ritchie's 24 goals this season has a Strome assist listed beside it.
Season totals: 30 games, 24 goals, 23 assists, +27 rating
Dec. 06 - Ottawa 67's @ Niagara IceDogs
Dec. 07 - Niagara IceDogs @ London Knights
Gemel Smith - Owen Sound Attack
Smith had three assists in three games last week as the Attack took on three of the lesser teams in the OHL. It's not as much as I would have hoped from him, especially since the Attack scored 12 goals last week, but at least he's staying consistent.
Season totals: 29 games, 13 goals, 19 assists, +18 rating
Dec. 05 - Plymouth Whalers @ Owen Sound Attack
Dec. 07 - Owen Sound Attack @ Guelph Storm
Dec. 08 - Belleville Bulls @ Owen Sound Attack
Matej Stransky - Saskatoon Blades
Stransky had a solid week with one goal and three assists in three games last week. Stransky is riding a hot streak and has a point in nine of the last 12 games. He's mixing in a good number of goals with assists as well so he's doing well with his overall game. His team actually did well and won two of those games.
Season totals: 27 games, 11 goals, 16 assists, -1 rating
Dec. 05 - Spokane Chiefs @ Saskatoon Blades
Dec. 08 - Regina Pats @ Saskatoon Blades
Dec. 09 - Saskatoon Blades @ Regina Pats
Mike Winther - Prince Albert Raiders
Winther had four goals and one assist as the Raiders went on a scoring explosion last week as they scored 17 goals in three games. He had a solid November and now enters December on a roll.
Season totals: 26 games, 13 goals, 14 assists, +23 rating
Dec. 04 - Spokane Chiefs @ Prince Albert Raiders
Dec. 07 - Prince Albert Raiders @ Kootenay Ice
Dec. 08 - Prince Albert Raiders @ Medicine Hat Tigers
Branden Troock - Seattle Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds had four games last week and Troock rode the bench for all four of them. He's only played in three games since Oct. 16.
Season totals: 7 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, -3 rating
Dec. 06 - Seattle Thunderbirds @ Tri-City Americans
Dec. 07 - Seattle Thunderbirds @ Everett Silvertips
Dec. 08 - Portland Winterhawks @ Seattle Thunderbirds
Troy Vance - Victoriaville Tigers
It was another tough week for Vance and the Tigers as they lost three of their four games and Vance was held pointless for the third straight week.
Season totals: 27 games, 2 goals, 9 assists, -4 rating
Dec. 07 - Moncton Wildcats @ Victoriaville Tigers
Dec. 08 - PEI Rocket @ Victoriaville Tigers
Maxime Lagace - Prince Edward Island Rocket
The Rocket had four games last week and Lagace started two of them. He actually didn't do too bad and stopped 56 of the 62 shots he faced and won both of his games. It's only the second time all year that he's been able to string together two wins in a row.
Season totals: 16 games, 7-5-1, 58 goals allowed, 4.17 GAA, .867 SV%, 1 shutout
Dec. 05 - Quebec Remparts @ PEI Rocket
Dec. 08 - PEI Rocket @ Victoriaville Tigers
Dec. 09 - PEI Rocket @ Rimouski Oceanic