The number of Lone Star State based teams still in the race to hoist their league championship cup took a big hit over the past week. Post season play got underway with six Texas teams, that number now stands at just two.
The Dallas Stars, in their first playoff appearance since 2008, played a spirited series against the Anaheim Ducks. After falling behind 2 – 0 in Anaheim the Stars came roaring back on home ice to pull even at two games apiece. The series moved back to the West Coast where the Ducks grabbed a lopsided 6 – 2 win. Dallas was just 130 seconds away from once again tying up the series at the American Airlines Center on Sunday. Unfortunately, Anaheim scored two extra attacker goals in the final 2:10 of regulation to send the game to overtime. The only time the Stars trailed in game 6 was when Duck’s forward Nick Bonino scored the game winner at the 2:47 mark of the extra period.
Stars’ netminder Kari Lehtonen finished up with a 2 – 4 – 1 record on a 3.29 GAA and a .885 SV%. Offensively it was Shawn Horcoff leading the way in points scored with 1G – 5A. Captain Jamie Benn led in goals scored with 4G – 1A while Trevor Dailey and Cody Eakin each had 2G – 3A. Ryan Garbutt contributed 3G – 0A.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf leads all skaters with 3G – 4A. Corey Perry also had seven points on 2G – 5A and Nick Bonino’s 3G – 1A led five Ducks with four points apiece. Rookie Frederik Andersen carried the majority of the load for Anaheim in net posting a 3 – 2 – 0 record with a 3.40 GAA and a .892 SV%. Jonas Hiller’s only decision came in game six after he replaced Andersen midway through the second period. Hiller ended up 1 – 0 – 0 on a 0.00 GAA and a 1.000 SV% in 41:22 minutes played.
The Stars won the five on five play averaging 1.09 goals per game full strength compared to 0.92 for the Ducks. Where Anaheim held the upper hand was with the man advantage. The Ducks power play finished at 20.7% which was twice as good as Dallas’ 10.3%.
The Stars are a young team with 10 players 25 years old or younger. They earned a great deal of experience in this series against a worthy opponent. If they apply the experience gained next season, only positive things can come of it the playoffs next year.
Dallas’ top affiliate in the AHL the Texas Stars, have started their chase for the Calder Cup on the right foot. Texas took a pair of 3 – 2 overtime wins against the Oklahoma City Barons on the road. During the regular season the Stars had an 8 – 3 – 1 record against the Barons.
Travis Morin who led the league in scoring during the regular season has continued into the post season. Morin has 2G – 1A in the first two games. Mike Hedden has 2G – 0A and Justin Dowling leads in assists with 0G – 3A. Christopher Nilstorp was in net for game one allowing two goals on 28 shots in 65:35 time on ice. Jack Campbell was called on for game two and was equally impressive making 38 saves in 74:24. The two have combined for a 1.71 GAA and a .941 SV%.
Oklahoma City has no skater with more than one point in the two games. Austin Fyten, Roman Horak and Jujhar Khaira all have 1G – 0A. Former Dallas Star, Richard Bachman, has been between the pipes for the Barons in both tough luck losses. So far he has put up a 2.56 GAA and a .917 SV%.
The CHL Defending Champion Allen Americans extended their second round series with a 6 – 1 victory over the Quad City Mallards on Tuesday. Quad City had won the previous two games at home, both in overtime, to take a one game lead in the series. As the series shifted back to North Texas the Americans were faced with a potential elimination in game six. They responded with a dominating performance scoring twice in each period and holding the Mallards off the board for more than 44 minutes. Game seven is set for 7:05 Wednesday evening at the Allen Events Center. The winner of game seven will advance to face the Denver Cutthroats for the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup.
Bruce Graham 4G – 1A and Anthony Maiani 2G – 3A each have five points to lead the Americans in the series. Greger Hanson, Spencer Asuchak and Alex Lavoie each have 2G – 2A. Tyler Ludwig has 1G – 4A against the Mallards and 10 points overall to lead all blueliners in the post season. Graham, Maiani and Hanson are tied for third in post season scoring. Bryan Pitton has been in net for Allen in all post season games. He is 3 – 1 – 2 in the second round series with a 1.89 GAA and a .934 SV%. Overall Pitton is second in goals against average and is third in save percentage.
Quad City has been paced by Jordan Mayer 4G – 3A and Michael Monfredo 2G – 2A. Thomas Heemskerk has compiled a 3 – 2 – 0 record on a 2.00 GAA and a .934 SV%. So far in the post season he is ranked number one in goals against average and second in save percentage. Ty Rimmer has seen the ice twice against Allen and is 0 – 1 – 0 with a 3.70 GAA and a .868 SV%.
In the NAHL it is the South Division that reigns supreme with the South representative winning the Robertson Cup seven of the last 10 years. If the division is to continue it’s league dominance the responsibility will fall on the only team in the division that does not call Texas home.
Amarillo saw their bid to defend the cup come to an end when they lost the final game of their five game second round series to Topeka. The Road Runners controlled game five from the drop of the puck and skated to a 6 – 2 win in Amarillo. All five games in the series were won by the visiting team.
Tyler Poulsen’s 4G – 4A paced the Road Runners in the series while Yu Hikosaka pitched in 3G – 2A and Jake Kamrass had 0G – 4A. PJ Bridges was the only Topeka netminder to see ice time compiling a 3 – 1 – 1 record with a 2.55 GAA and a .913 SV%.
Roman Ammirato 2G – 5A did all he could to extend the Bulls season but came up short. Tyler Gernhofer added 1G – 3A and Kyle Gattelaro had 1G – 2A. After splitting the regular season fairly equally, Collin Delia took over the number one goalie position over Paul Berrafato in the post season. Delia finished the second round series with a 2 – 2 – 0 record with a 2.60 GAA and a .927 SV%. In limited action Berrafato was 0 – 1 – 0 on a 3.16 GAA and a .906 SV%.