The Texas Stars won both their games over the past week and climbed back into first place in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference.
The Stars (32-16-7) and Abbotsford are tied at 71 points, but the Stars hold the first tiebreaker, which is regulation/overtime wins.
Rookie forward Brett Ritchie continues to produce for the Stars, scoring two more goals over the past week to give him 10 in his last 18 games played.
The Stars, who had a two-game homestand over the weekend, play their next five games on the road.
Here’s the latest on Dallas’ AHL affiliate.
Friday, February 21: Texas 4, Charlotte 1
Brett Ritchie scored two goals as the Stars opened a two-game homestand with a 4-1 victory over Charlotte at Cedar Park Center Friday night. Curtis McKenzie and Mike Hedden also scored for Texas, which got a 36-save effort from Cristopher Nilstorp.
Ritchie scored twice in the first period as Texas built a 3-0 lead. The two goals gave Ritchie six over an eight-game span.
“Sometimes it is luck. I’ve been getting shots and chances all year, and sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re not,” Ritchie said. “You’ve got to ride with the flow and be as consistent as you can.”
Saturday, February 22: Texas 3, Charlotte 2
The Stars made it two straight against Charlotte, defeating the Checkers 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night at Cedar Park Center. Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller scored in regulation for Texas. Dustin Jeffrey, Sceviour, Brendan Ranford and Matej Stransky scored in the shootout. Christopher Nilstorp made 34 saves in regulation and overtime and then stopped four of seven in the shootout.
“That was probably one of our best games of the year,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “It was close all the way through.”
The week ahead
Tuesday February 25, Texas at Lake Erie, 9:45 a.m.
Wednesday February 26, Texas at Lake Erie, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday March 1, Texas at San Antonio, 7:00 p.m.
Notes: Gaunce suspended one game
*The AHL suspended Texas defenseman Cameron Gaunce one game as the result of a match penalty for slew footing in the Feb. 22 game against Charlotte. Gaunce will miss Tuesday’s game at Lake Erie.
*Texas goaltender Jack Campbell, who has been out since Dec. 18 with a knee injury, skated in Frisco Monday morning. Campbell said he is getting close to a return. Campbell has played only five AHL games this season due to knee issues.
*RW Colton Sceviour continues to lead the AHL in goal scoring. He has 31 in 48 games.
*C Travis Morin ranks third in goals scored with 28 in 49 games.
*C Chris Mueller is tied for fourth in goals with 23 in 53 games.
*Morin leads the league in points with 70 (28 goals, 42 assists).
*Sceviour ranks third in points with 57 (31 goals, 26 assists).
*LW Curtis McKenzie ranks seventh in the league with 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists) in 54 games. McKenzie leads all AHL rookies in scoring.
*Mueller is tied for eighth in points with 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists).
*RW Brett Ritchie is tied for 15th in rookie scoring with 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) in 49 games.
*Texas ranks second in the AHL in scoring at 3.62 goals per game.
*The Stars rank first in the league on the power play at 27.9 percent.
*The Stars rank first in the league in shots per game at 37.5.
Here is the lineup Texas rolled out in its last game.
Curtis McKenzie – Travis Morin – Colton Sceviour
Dustin Jeffrey – Chris Mueller – Scott Glennie
Mike Hedden – Justin Dowling – Brett Ritchie
Brendan Ranford – Taylor Peters – Matej Stransky
Jamie Oleksiak – Derek Meech
Patrik Nemeth – Jyrki Jokipakka
Cameron Gaunce – Maxime Fortunus
Injured: Jack Campbell, Toby Petersen, Taylor Vause
2/24: D Russ Sinkewich assigned to Idaho (ECHL) from Texas (AHL)
2/20: D Ryan Button assigned to Idaho (ECHL) from Texas (AHL)
The Idaho Steelheads, Dallas’ ECHL affiliate, went 0-1-2 over the past week. The Steelheads are 27-18-7, ranking fourth in the Mountain Division and fifth in the Western Conference.
Defenseman Ryan Button scored a goal in each of his first three games back with the Steelheads after being assigned to Idaho from the Texas Stars last Thursday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.