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Stars drop rookie game to Blues, 4-1

by John Tranchina / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars rookies lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues rookies in a late-afternoon matchup Tuesday at the American Airlines Center that preceded the ‘regular’ pre-season game at 7:30pm.

With AHL Iowa coaches Dave Allison and Paul Jerrard behind the Dallas bench and most of the Stars’ participants likely to end up there this season, the Dallas rookies started slowly and gradually picked up their play as the contest continued.

Unfortunately, by the time they got their legs under them in the second period, Dallas trailed 2-0.  The Blues’ rookies looked much more polished than the Stars early, especially when they killed off a 57-second Dallas 5-on-3 power play midway through the first period, and then scored a pretty goal on their own extended two-man advantage late in the frame. 

Nikolay Lemtyugov popped a loose puck into an open net during a scramble in front to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead at 18:18, and then Roman Polak’s one-timer from the slot, off a nice cross-ice feed from David Perron, beat Stars’ netminder Steve Silverthorn over the shoulder with 47.1 seconds left in the first.

Stars vs. Blues Prospects Game Photo Gallery
Perron, the Blues’ first-round draft pick in June, had two assists, including a nice pass out of the left corner to Mike Glumac at the right side of the crease to make it 3-0 at 1:20 of the third.

Defenseman Trevor Byrne, signed as a free agent in the off-season, scored the only Dallas goal at 5:08 of the third period, cutting through the slot and skimming a backhander through St. Louis goalie Mike McKenna’s pads. 

“We were down a couple, so I had to be aggressive,” Byrne said. “I just came pinching down the boards there, just tried to throw a backhand on net.  Don’t really expect to score many backhands from the slot, but luckily there was some traffic there and the goalie never saw it, so it squeezed right through.”

The Blues added an empty-net goal with 3:13 remaining, by Michal Birner.

After the shaky first period, Dallas played much better, matching the Blues’ intensity and looking much more like a team rather than a bunch of individuals skating together in their first game.  Young wingers B.J. Crombeen and James Neal stood out in particular, generating multiple scoring chances and showing plenty of zip and feistiness.

“I didn’t think I played tonight the way I wanted to,” Byrne admitted.  “I think there’s a lot of guys that feel that way, but you know, everyone’s trying to put their best foot forward.  It’s tough, you’re trying to get used to new guys, new systems, but it was a good experience for us, first game out there as a group.”
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