Playoff hockey is in full swing and the state of Texas is making a run for the cup in four different leagues.
Texas is represented by the Dallas Stars are locked in a heated battle with the Anaheim Ducks in their first round series. Anaheim took the first two games of the series in California before the contest shifted back to American Airlines Center where the Star have one of the best home records in the league. Dallas brought a physical play to the ice in game three to nab a 3 – 2 win. They will be looking to even the series with a win Wednesday to take momentum back to the Pond in Anaheim.
Through three games Jamie Benn is leading the Stars with 2G – 1A, Colton Sceviour has three points as well with 1G – 2A. Eight other Dallas skaters have put up two points in the series. Stars netminder Kari Lehtonen won his first playoff game in five career starts. He has a 2.37 GAA and a .923 SV% against the Ducks.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf leads all skaters with 2G – 2A three others have two points apiece. Getzlaf and Antoine Roussel had a short bout in game three. Getzlaf picked up a roughing minor while Roussel picked up a double minor with his big blow to Getzlaf’s jaw. Rookie Frederik Andersen has two wins with a 2.67 GAA and a .914 SV%. Former Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas who broke his right leg early in the season with Dallas, suffered another broken leg in the second period of game three.
The road to the AHL Calder Cup gets underway on Wednesday night with the regular season champion Texas Stars taking on the Oklahoma City Barons. With a 48 – 18 – 3 record the Stars finished one point ahead of the Manchester Monarchs.
Two Stars players finished the regular season among the top 10 in scoring. Travis Morin racked up 32G – 56A in 66 games played to pace the league while Curtis McKenzie finished ninth on 27G – 38A in 75 games. Christopher Nilstorp handled the majority of the goaltending duties for the Star this season finishing with a 27 – 12 – 4 record including 3 shutouts and a 2.45 GAA and a .918 SV%.
Texas ran up an 8 – 3 – 1 record against Oklahoma City this season.
After downing the Brampton Beast four games to one in their first round tilt, the Allen Americans have split the first two games of round two against the Quad City Mallards. Quad City took game one 4 – 2 after entering the third period with the score knotted at two. The Americans rebounded to even up the series with a 2 – 0 win in game two. The first 56 plus minutes of game two came and went in a scoreless tie before Allen broke through at 16:32 of the third before adding an empty netter with just 17 seconds to go.
Bruce Graham 4G – 6A and Anthony Maiani 3G – 7A lead the Americans in scoring through seven post season games. Former Texas Tornado defenseman Tyler Ludwig 2G – 6A leads all blueliners in playoff scoring. Bryan Pitton has played in all seven games for Allen and is 5 – 2 – 1 with a 2.01 GAA and a .933 SV%.
Thomas Frazee 5G – 5A through eight games and Vladimir Nikiforov has nine points with 2G – 7A to lead the Mallards. Thomas Heemskerk is leading all goalies in the post season with a 1.67 GAA and a .943 SV% in six games. He has a 4 – 2 – 0 record in the process.
Two thirds of the Texas teams in the NAHL playoffs were eliminated in the opening round. Rio Grande Valley was swept by Topeka in a very tight series. Two of the three games went to overtime before being decided. In the other series involving Texas teams, Amarillo swept the Wichita Falls Wildcats sending the defending Robertson Cup National Champions on to the second round against Topeka.
The Road Runners jumped out to a two game lead over the Bulls last weekend at the Cal Farley Arena in Amarillo. The series now moves to Topeka for game three and four in necessary.
Topeka’s Tyler Poulsen and Jake Kamrass finished the regular season scoring chase in fourth and fifth place overall. Poulsen 3G – 5A is currently second in post season scoring, Kamrass 2G- 3A is tied with rookie Yu Hikosaka 2G – 3A. PJ Bridges has carried his strong play into the playoffs and is 5 – 0 – 0 with a 1.31 GAA and a .949 SV%. His goals against average is good for second among playoff goalies and his save percentage is third.
Roman Ammirato 3G – 5A is tied wit Poulsen for second in scoring and Tyler Gernhoffer 2G – 4A has chipped in six points for the Bulls so far. As they did during the regular season, Collin Delia and Paul Berrafato have split the net minding duties for the Bulls. Delia is 2 – 1 – 0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .939 SV% while Berrafato is 1 – 1 – 0 on a 3.53 GAA and a .883 SV%.