The Texas Stars opened the AHL Western Conference Finals with a whimper on Friday the 23rd. The Toronto Marlies scored early and often on their way to a 5 – 1 game one win. Texas seemed to dominate play in all aspects of the game except where it really counted, on the scoreboard. Marlies’ netminder Drew MacIntyre was the obvious star of the game considering the Stars outshot Toronto 50 – 19 on the night. Texas’ lone tally came at 15:33 of the third on a Chris Mueller power play goal. Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie logged the assists. Christopher Nilstorp had a rough night between the pipes allowing three goals on just 17 shots faced to suffer the loss.
The weekend gave the Stars plenty of time to mull over the game one debacle and they came out with a vengeance in game two Monday night. After allowing the Marlies to once again take an early lead, Texas came roaring back to take command of the game and grab a 6 – 3 win to even the series. Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie paced the attack with two goals apiece and rookie Mike Hedden pitched in with three assists. Chris Mueller’s game winner came with just over a minute to go in the second. For the second game in a row the Stars poured the rubber on net outshooting their opponent 52 – 30. Christopher Nilstorp returned to his previous level of play with a 27 save performance.
The series will now head north to Toronto for games three through five where the Marlies were 45 – 25 – 6 during the regular season and 3 – 0 – 0 in the playoffs. Texas was 19 – 10 – 9 on the road this season so they will have their work cut out for them.
Fri May 23 / Cedar Park Center / Toronto 5 – Texas 1
Mon May 26 / Cedar Park Center / Texas 6 – Toronto 3
Wed May 28 / Toronto Ricoh Coliseum
Thu May 29 / Toronto Ricoh Coliseum
Sat May 31 / Toronto Ricoh Coliseum **
Mon Jun 2 / Cedar Park Center **
Tue Jun 3 / Cedar Park Center **
** in necessary
Playoff Goaltending Comparison
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Inside the Game
The Marlies swept their way into the Conference Finals. In fact they did not trail in a game at any point until the 8:37 mark of game two against the Stars.
The Stars are 27 – 21 all time in the playoffs while the Marlies are 35 – 28. Neither team has ever won a Calder Cup Championship. Texas made it as far as the finals in 2010 while Toronto played in the finals in 2012.
Entering the Conference Finals the Stars power play was setting at 22.0% on nine goals in 41 opportunities. Their penalty kill was at 86.7% having allowed four goals on 30 times short handed. The Marlies were 25.0% with the man advantage scoring nine goals on 36 power plays. The Toronto penalty kill was at 89.7%, killing off 26 of 29 opponent power plays.
Toronto’s Drew MacIntyre has been in goal for all nine of the Marlies post season games.
Drew MacIntyre’s 1.89 GAA and .947 SV% are fourth and second among goalies in the playoffs. Christopher Nilstorp is fifth with a 2.07 GAA and sixth with a .918 SV%.
Jerry D’Amigo’s 13 points has him tied for third in the league with Travis Morin. Mike Hedden is tied for fifth with 12 points.
Stars’ rookie Brendan Ranford has goals seven goals in the post season, good for third in the league. Toronto’s Peter Holland is tied for fifth with six.
Travis Morin is leading the league with 10 assists in 11 post season games played.
Korbinian Holzer is leading the playoffs in +/- with a +12. Mike Hedden is second with a +9
The Marlies have scored first in all nine of their playoff games.
The NAHL will hold their 2014 Entry Draft on Tuesday June 3rd starting at 1:00 PM central standard time. Amateur players less than 21 years of age on December 31, 2014 who are not listed on an NAHL team roster or are listed on an NAHL team roster but played less than (10) NAHL regular season and/or playoff games during the 2013-14 season and did not accept a tender from an NAHL team prior to the 2014 NAHL Entry Draft are eligible for selection in the draft. The draft will be live on nahldraft.com and will be broadcast live on fasthockey.com.
Teams have been scouting players prior to the draft with 21 of the 24 teams holding pre-draft camps during the month of May. A total of 30 camps will have been conducted by the time the first draft selection is announced. Minnesota with a total of nine camps led a list of 11 states playing host to at least one pre-draft camp.
The number of players each team is able to draft is determined by the number of protected players on their current roster and the number of players tendered. Each team’s roster is comprised of veteran players and signed tenders only. That number is subtracted from 30 to determine the number of available draft selections for each team. Teams will make draft selections in each round in reverse order of their finish in the 2013-14 NAHL regular-season standings.
The NAHL is the oldest Junior A Hockey league in North America with a long history of moving players to the next level. There are currently 165, 2013/14 NCAA DI and DIII commitments listed on the league website with more being added on a regular basis. College coaches and scouts consistently praise the character of NAHL players.