The Texas Stars won two of three games over the weekend (2-1-0) to improve to 13-10-8 on the season and climb into eighth place in the AHL’s Western Conference. Forward Brett Ritchie had a big week with five goals, and Gemel Smith tallied three times. Here’s the latest on Dallas’ American Hockey League affiliate.
Friday December 26: San Antonio 7, Texas 3
The Stars lost 7-3 in San Antonio Friday night despite outshooting the Rampage 36-18. Jussi Rynnas got the start in goal for the Stars but was pulled late in the first period after giving up three goals on five shots. Jack Campbell played the rest of the game and stopped nine of 12 shots. Rampage goaltender Dan Ellis made 33 saves. Gemel Smith, Matej Stransky and Scott Glennie scored for Texas. Smith’s goal was his first as a professional.
Saturday December 27: Texas 4, Charlotte 2
Brett Ritchie scored three goals to lead the Stars to a 4-2 victory over Charlotte at Cedar Park Center Friday night. Greg Rallo also scored, and Jussi Rynnas stopped 28 of 30 shots.
Ritchie scored his three goals on a game-high ten shots.
“It was good for [Ritchie’s confidence]. He’s been a little spotty here with some injuries,” Texas coach Derek Laxdal told media after the game. “His biggest thing is finding that consistency. If we can get him up and running and do our job, we won’t see him here.”
Sunday December 28: Texas 6, San Antonio 3
Gemel Smith got top line minutes Sunday and responded, scoring two goals to lead the Stars to a 6-3 victory over San Antonio at Cedar Park Center.
“He (Smith) has played very well here the last month,” Texas coach Derek Laxdal told media after the game. “We saw some things that we liked offensively. He’s hard on the puck down low; he has good speed. We thought he could take a step on that line and give them a puck possession game. And I thought he took advantage of that.
Smith centered Curtis McKenzie and Brett Ritchie in the game. Ritchie scored two goals and McKenzie tallied one goal and one assist. Scott Valentine also scored for the Stars. Jussi Rynnas stopped 37 of 40 shots.
The week ahead
Saturday January 3, Texas at Charlotte, 6:00 p.m.
Sunday January 4, Texas at Charlotte, 2:00 p.m.
Notes: Ritchie AHL’s Player of the Week
*Texas forward Brett Ritchie was named the AHL’s Player of the Week after tallying five goals and a plus-seven rating in three games over the weekend.
* Ritchie now leads Texas with 11 goals in 22 games this season.
*Texas is 6-3-1 in its last nine games.
*Texas is 4-1-0 in its last five home games and has points in eight of its last nine games at Cedar Park Center (5-1-3).
*Here is where Texas ranks in some key statistical categories.
Goals for: 2.81 (12th)
Goals against: 3.03 (23rd)
Shots for: 33.1 (4th)
Shots against: 31.4 (21st)
Power play: 16.7 (15th)
Penalty kill: 85.3 (8th)
Here is the Texas lineup from the last game. Defensemen Mike Dalhuisen skated at forward. Radek Faksa, Justin Dowling and Branden Troock were among the forwards out with injury. Goaltender Jack Campbell sat out the last game with an injury as well.
Curtis McKenzie – Gemel Smith – Brett Ritchie
Brendan Ranford – Greg Rallo – Scott Glennie
Derek Hulak – Jesse Root – Matej Stransky
Kevin Henderson – Taylor Peters – Mike Dalhuisen
Jamie Oleksiak – Maxime Fortunus
Cameron Gaunce – Derek Meech
Matt Mangene – Scott Valentine
12/29: D Jamie Oleksiak recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL).
12/28: D Cameron Gaunce assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL).
12/27: D Cameron Gaunce recalled to Dallas (NHL) from Texas (AHL).
12/27: G Henri Kiviaho recalled to Texas (AHL) from Idaho (ECHL).
12/24: D Jamie Oleksiak assigned to Texas (AHL) from Dallas (NHL).
The Idaho Steelheads, Dallas ECHL affiliate, went 1-0-1 last week. The Steelheads are 18-10-3 and are in first place in the Pacific Division.
Dallas defense prospect Troy Vance registered one goal and one assist last week. Vance has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 24 games.
Dallas goaltending prospect Maxime Lagace, who is playing for Missouri of the ECHL, stopped 19 of 22 shots in a 5-3 win over Rapid City on Friday. Lagace is 5-2-1 with a 2.36 goals against average and .901 save percentage for the Mavericks.
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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.