The new look Texas Stars had a nice week, winning two of three games and maintaining their overall lead in the Western Conference. They clinched the division title with their win on Sunday night.
The Stars really outplayed their opponents in all three games and probably should have won their first game of the week. They outshot Charlotte by a 47-32 margin but gave up a late power-play goal in a 4-3 loss. Texas recovered for a 3-2 win in overtime in another game against Charlotte and then demolished San Antonio in an 8-2 victory.
With Cris Nilstorp in Dallas to back up Richard Bachman, Jack Campbell found himself starting all three games. He made 76 saves on 84 shots. He’s going to be the clear starter for Texas once the playoffs get underway. Nilstorp will be the backup once he returns to Texas.
Brett Ritchie continues to impress in his maiden voyage with the team. More on his week in his section.
With 14 goals scored, there were plenty of solid performances last week. The standouts were Travis Morin and new Star Cameron Gaunce. Both guys had a goal and four assists during the week, with Gaunce registering four assists in the Sunday game against the Rampage.
Off the ice, Texas made some news by adding another defenseman to the group with the assignment of Jyrki Jokipakka to the squad from Finland. The solid prospect will probably see a small amount of time on ice this week.
The regular season winds down this week for the AHL. Texas needs one win and a loss from Toronto to clinch the conference title.
Apr. 16 – Texas Stars @ San Antonio Rampage
Apr. 19 – Houston Aeros @ Texas Stars
Apr. 20 – Rockford IceHogs @ Texas Stars
Brett Ritchie - Niagara IceDogs, Texas Stars
As stated above, Ritchie continues to do well in his first couple of weeks of pro games. He played in two of Texas’ games last week and had two goals to add to his ledger. He also had 11 shots on net in his two games, showing his aggression and want-to in front of the net.
He’s scoring those garbage, scramble-in-front-of-the-net goals that are a result of hard work and toughness in front of the net. He’s now riding a three game points streak and has registered a point in four of his first five games with the team.
Season totals: 53 games, 41 goals, 35 assists, 40 PIM, +35 rating (With Niagara)
5 games, 3 goals, 1 assist, 0 PIM, +3 rating (With Texas)
Playoff totals: 4 games, 1 goal, 3 assist, 9 PIM, -1 rating (With Niagara)
Radek Faksa - Kitchener Rangers
Faksa, and Kitchener, entered this past week in a 2-0 deficit in their series against the London Knights. His team was able to win one game during the week, but they lost two games during the week and lost the series in Game 5.
Kitchener finally found its offense and scored 11 goals in the three games during the week, but Faksa only registered one point, a goal, in those three games. The only problem was that the defense wasn’t up to task and gave up 11 goals during the week.
It was a big, disappointing end to the season for Faksa. He looked great in the first series against Guelph and had five points in five games. In five games against the OHL’s best, the London Knights, he had only one goal.
Faksa finishes the year with 31 points in the regular season and six points in the playoffs. He had some injury issues this year, so his production in his second year in the OHL was a bit down.
Season totals: 39 games, 9 goals, 22 assists, 26 PIM, -1 rating
Playoff totals: 10 games, 4 goals, 2 assist, 4 PIM, -3 rating
Gemel Smith - Owen Sound Attack
The Attack had played four games during the week again Plymouth and only managed to win one of them. Owen Sound lost the series 4-2, ending the playoff runs for all of the Stars’ OHL prospects.
A big part of those losses for Owen Sound is the faltering play of Gemel Smith. In those four games this past week, Smith only had one assist. He registered only two points, one goal and one assist, in the six-game series and had a disappointing end, just like Faksa.
Smith had eight points in six games in the Attack’s first series and looked ready to take over this series when he scored in the first game against Plymouth. That never came to fruition though, and his season came to a sputtering end.
Smith ends the year with 52 points in the regular season and 10 points in the playoffs. He was fourth on his team in points, third in goals and sixth in assists during the regular season.
He led the team in goals during the playoffs and was second in points.
Season totals: 61 games, 23 goals, 29 assists, 54 PIM, +17 rating
Playoff totals: 12 games, 7 goals, 3 assists, 10 PIM, -2 rating
Matej Stransky - Saskatoon Blades
Stransky and the Blades were swept out of the playoffs by the Medicine Hat Tigers a couple of weeks back.
Stransky ended the playoffs with no points and really struggled at the end of the year. He didn’t score in the last five games of the regular season and only had three in the last nine games of the year.
Stransky ended the year 16th in the WHL in scoring with 85 points and 12th in goals with 40.
Season totals: 72 games, 40 goals, 45 assists, 88 PIM, +32 rating
Playoff totals: 4 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 4 PIM, -2 rating
Mike Winther - Prince Albert Raiders
Winther and the Raiders were swept out of the playoffs by the Red Deer Rebels a couple of weeks back.
Winther had an absolutely miserable last couple months of the year with only 10 points in 21 games to close out the season and really only had one good month the entire season.
In eight playoff games with the Raiders in the past three years, Winther has only one point so it doesn’t look like he’s producing when it really counts.
Season totals: 68 games, 22 goals, 28 assists, 61 PIM, +15 rating
Playoff totals: 4 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 6 PIM, -5 rating
Branden Troock - Seattle Thunderbirds
Troock played no games due to injury and won’t be back the rest of the year.
Season totals: 19 games, 5 goals, 6 assists, 19 PIM, -5 rating
Troy Vance - Prince Edward Island Rocket
Vance and the Rocket lost last week to the Val-d’Or Foreurs and exited the QMJHL playoffs.
It was a nice little year for Vance as he had a combined four goals and 22 assists with Victoriaville and PEI. The 22 assists and 26 points would both mark career highs.
Season totals: 39 games, 3 goals, 15 assists, 41 PIM, -6 rating (With Victoriaville)
28 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 16 PIM, +18 rating (With PEI)
Playoff totals: 6 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 PIM, +1 rating (With PEI)
Maxime Lagace - Prince Edward Island Rocket
Lagace didn’t start during the playoffs. He lost his starting job during the regular season and never regained it.
His numbers this year were barely better than last year, but that’s not saying much. It’s going to be tough for Lagace to break through the Stars goaltending ranks with so many guys ahead of him.
Season totals: 33 games, 13-12-1-0, 106 goals allowed, 4.05 GAA, .869 SV%, 1 shutout
Playoff totals: 1 games, 0-0-0-0, 1 goal allowed, 2.19 GAA, .857 SV%, 0 shutout