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Prospects advance to championship game

by Dallas Stars Staff / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars aren’t doing it the easy way at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich.


But they are getting it done.

Raymond Sawada
For the third consecutive game, the Stars prospects got behind by two goals. And for the third consecutive game, they rallied for victory.

Dallas’ 3-2 comeback win over Minnesota vaulted the Stars into Wednesday’s championship game against the Atlanta Thrashers, 3-2 shootout winners over the Detroit Red Wings. Dallas, 3-0-0, won the Western Conference Pool, while Atlanta, 3-0-0, won the Eastern Conference Pool.

"It’s a huge deal," said Jamie Benn, who had his third goal of the tournament. "We’re going to be rarin’ to go."

While Stars management has stressed development and individual assessment in the prospects tournament, co-general manager Les Jackson said he was impressed with the team’s ability to keep its head in some very tough third periods.

"It’s obviously a good sign," Jackson said. "Players are being put in competitive situations, and they’re competing."

Benn and James Neal continued their assault on the scoring charts. Neal had two assists and now leads the tournament in scoring with six points (three goals, three assists). However, Colton Sceviour was the hero with two goals, including the game-winner.

Sceviour, 19, played last season for Portland and Lethbridge and had 64 points (33 goals, 41 assists) in 69 games. He showed some of that skill Tuesday when he finished off a nice transition goal that went through the hands of Neal, Tyler Shelast and Ivan Vishnevskiy in the second period, and then had a tap-in off of a nice Neal pass in the third that was also featured an assist from Shelast.

"James and Shelly just worked hard and I got the puck," Sceviour said. "The last one, I didn’t even have to move my stick. That was a tape to tape pass."

But getting to that point wasn’t easy. Dallas got down 2-0 in the second period, and fought back to make it 2-1. However, the Stars were whistled for two penalties late in the second period, and that meant Minnesota started the third period with 1:22 of 5-on-3 power play. Dallas killed the two-man advantage thanks in large part to a couple of blocks from tryout defenseman Matt Stephenson and that sent the Wild scrambling. Then, Benn picked up a loose puck and headed up ice, scoring short-handed to tie the score at the 1:37 mark. Benn, who was foiled earlier on a forehand-backhand move in which he tried to go around the pads, learned his lesson and went forehand-backhand and then slipped the puck between the pads.

"He’s a smart player," Jackson said. "He adjusted."

Neal and Sceviour then combined on the game-winner just 18 seconds later.

Ivan Vishnevskiy
"I think it does show a lot of character," Jamie Benn said. "It’s a great feeling when you’re behind and you feel like you’re not out of it. I think we get excited when we get down, we know we want to come back."

That said, the Stars say they don’t want to make a habit of it.

"I don’t know what it is, but that’s a trend that probably shouldn’t continue too long," Sceviour said. "You don’t want to continue to get down like that."

The Stars will play the Atlanta Thrashers at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Dallas leads the tournament in scoring with 12 goals in three games. Atlanta leads the tournament in fewest goals allowed with two in three games.

"It’s great to get the opportunity to play in this game," said winger Ray Sawada. "That’s why we came here."

STARGAZING

-- Matt Climie got the win in goal, stopping 20 of 22 shots. Tyler Beskorowany is expected to get the start in goal Wednesday.

-- Tryout defenseman Guillaume Monast has been invited to Stars training camp, Jackson said.

-- Jackson said James Neal has been the team’s best player: "He’s engaged in the game, he’s engaged with the team, and he’s on a mission. He wants to make the big club," Jackson said.

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