The Steelheads continued their 5 game home stand this past week with a three game series against the Bakersfield Condors. While Bakersfield only came into the week with 8 points against the Steelheads 13, Bakersfield has had a tough schedule so far in that they had the majority of games against the Stockton Thunder and the Ontario Reign, the top two teams in the Pacific Division. So this was not a series that the Steelheads needed to take lightly.
An NHL lockout has not only knocked out the Dallas Stars but also made them lose the month of game for October and November. A total of 22 games have been lost so far and many fans are wondering if they are going to see their big brightest stars play in Big D. Many fans wanted to see Jamie Benn grow into the player he was last year and see if Michael Ryder can live up to the expectations of his career high season last year. Many fans wanted to see Jaromir Jagr do his salute for the fans after he scores a goal while others wanted to see that Ray Whitney do his famous “Where’s Whitney” interviews. They also wanted to see if this team, their Stars, try and make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 when they had their magical run to the Western Conference. Their journey was then ended by the Detroit Red Wings as they lost their series 4 games 2. After that they saw their team not make the playoffs. I know that fans are mad that the NHL season is currently locking out their favorite teams but there are other opportunities to see your players.
The Idaho Steelheads continued their winning ways this past week as they defeated the Ontario Reign twice (7-2 & 6-2) and lost in a shootout to the Utah Grizzlies (5-4) Here are my impressions from the past week of games.
Wednesday vs. Ontario Reign 7-2 Win
This was one of those games that at the end of it, you wonder why you were worried at the beginning of it. Kael Mouillerat got the Steelheads off on the right foot just 1:03 into the game and the crowd loved it. What they didn’t like was the fact that the Reign came right back and got the next two goals, so by the 6 minute mark of the period, the Steelheads were trailing 2-1. I for one was curious if this might be the night that Josh Robinson would come crashing down to reality as some rookie goaltenders have been known to do after having a few great starts. Boy was I wrong. The Steelheads proceeded to rattle off the next 6 goals including 3 on the power play to roll to a fairly easy 7-2 victory. Seven different Steelheads scored, including Austin Smith getting his 1st professional goal in the 2nd period on the power play. The big key in this game was that the Steelheads were 3 for 5 on the PP and they did not allow a Power Play against until the final 1:57 of the game. Plus there were a couple of fights to get the fans involved and leave the potential for a very exciting Friday.
This is will be the norm for the better part of the season for Steelheads coverage. I will be reviewing entire weekends as opposed to individual games. The reason is two-fold 1) Honestly; I don’t have the time to do game by game especially for road trips and 2) I believe that it is easier to look back on entire weekend/series to see how a team or individual performed. Of course if something of note happens (Tristan King scoring 4 goals) I’ll make sure to make an exception and report that as soon as I can. So with that is mind here is the Steelheads series recap against the Colorado Eagles.
The Idaho Steelheads and head coach Brad Ralph finally get their first win of the season and Tristan King scored four goals. The Idaho Steelheads started a 3-game series against the Colorado Eagles Wednesday night and it started with a bang, or should I say a goal horn?
Defense was at a premium on Wednesday night as the Steelheads defeated the Eagles 7-6 in a shootout (2-1). This game had just about everything that you could hope for as a hockey fan. It had goals, end to end action, some great scoring chances and even a penalty shot. But it really didn’t have a lot of defense.
The Idaho Steelheads announced their season opening roster earlier today and it’s a good one. There are 14 players (out of 23) that have either played in or tried out for the AHL this season. That doesn’t include the 52 games that new Steelheads captain Ben Ondrus has as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Here is the Steelheads roster broken down by position:
Goaltenders: Tyler Beskorowany and Josh Robinson
Defensemen: Gord Baldwin (A), Jeremie Blan, Matt Case, Deron Cousens, Patrick Cullity, Scott Fletcher, John Ryder and Scott Todd
Forwards: Andrew Carroll (A), Jacob Cepis, Justin Dowling, Austin Fyten, Neil Graham, Tristan King, Taylor McReynolds, Ron Meyers, Jake Morley, Ben Ondrus (C), Corey Tamblyn, Mike Towns and Andrew Wright
The Steelheads bring a stacked team into competition this season partially due to the lockout in the NHL. However, don’t forget that every other team in the ECHL will also have the benefit of the lockout. The Trenton Titans just had their starting lineup loaned to them by the Philadelphia Flyers. Not big NHL names, but certainly guys that can play at the AHL level at least.
The Alaska Aces have picked up some legit NHL talent as they have Joey Crabb (50 points in 144 games TOR & ATL) and Brandon Dubinsky (213 points 393 games NYR). Now this is more of the exception than the rule, however, it just goes to show that talent will find a job whether it’s the AHL, ECHL or overseas.
The obvious question is who got the better AHL talent. At this point I think it would be ridiculous to suggest one team over another, but being slightly partial here, I’m going to go with the Steelheads. With the Steelheads are returning 7 players who have played with this team in the past (Beskorowany, Case, Cousens, Cepis, King, Meyers & Ondrus) With the exception of Besko & Ondrus, the other 5 are familiar with each other and should bring some instant chemistry.
Obviously there are a lot of question marks about what will happen when the lockout ends and how quickly will the players pick up new Steelheads coach Brad Ralph’s systems, but for now, I think the Steelheads should be battling for the Western Conference Title come April.
Check back in this spot on a weekly basis to get weekend analysis of the games that were.
Till next week…
Today, the Texas Stars have announced they are reducing their roster today during training camp. For more information on the release of these seven players from the roster, here is the release on the seven players being cut from the training camp roster on the Texas Stars Website:
Texas Stars Reduce Roster By Seven
Three Reassigned to Idaho, Four Released, 27 Remain As Season Opener Approaches
CEDAR PARK, TX – The Texas Stars announced today that they have released defenseman Matt Case and forwards Jacob Cepis, Austin Fyten and Andrew Carroll from their training camp roster and have assigned defenseman John Ryder to the Idaho Steelheads, their ECHL affiliate. The Stars also announced that Dallas has reassigned goaltender Tyler Beskorowany and forward Tristan King from Texas to Idaho.
The second wave of roster transactions leave 27 players on the Stars training camp roster, consisting of two goaltenders, nine defensemen and 16 forwards. Texas is currently preparing for their 2012-13 AHL season opener on Saturday, October 13th as they travel south to square off with the San Antonio Rampage.
Texas then has their home opener on Sunday, October 14th as they host the Charlotte Checkers for a 7:00 pm faceoff at Cedar Park Center. 2012-13 season seat packages and individual game tickets are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
– Texas Stars –
The Texas Stars are trying to reduce their roster in time for their season opener which is on Sunday as they host the Charlotte Checkers. With no hockey playing with the Dallas Stars, check out the future of the Stars in Cedar Park, Texas!
For some people, a preseason game does not mean anything. For the players on the ice, even though the final result does not count in the standings, it means everything. Players like Taylor Vause, Austin Smith, and Tyler Beskorowany have something to prove every time they get a chance to play. Some will stay. Some will go.
Unfortunately for Besko, I think the lackluster performance last season set the tone for his time with the Stars. He was a scratch in the first preseason win over the Houston Aeros on Wednesday. He was backup to Nilstorp in last night’s 4-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage but did not get any time in net. Nilstorp looked very solid, stopping 18 of 19 shots against. There were some dicey moments in the third period where there could have easily been a goal but thanks to Nilstorp and some solid defense, none went through. My prediction is that Jack Campbell and Nilstorp will stay in Cedar Park, whereas Beskorowany will head to Idaho. From Josh Robinson’s tweet this morning, it seems that he is already headed to Boise.
— Josh Robinson (@robotendy30) October 6, 2012
There were plenty of power play opportunities last night but the Stars first efforts were nothing to write home about. They kept turning the puck back over to the Rampage, and spent just as much time in their zone as they did in the offensive zone. Fortunately, the Rampage players kept on taking penalties and the Stars were able to convert two of those efforts into goals from Tomas Vincour and Brenden Dillion
The Stars looked pretty solid in their second effort. Two preseason games is too early to make a prediction for the rest of the season but with Desjardins at the helm, I am confident in this team.
Today, the Dallas Stars have sent 26 players to the Texas Stars and the rest to their junior teams as as the NHL looks like it will be heading into a lockout. I was hoping for no lockout but looks like we are heading into one. Here is more info about the Stars assiging players to the minors from the Dallas Morning News:
Again, these moves would have normally been made during training camp, but they need to be done before the current CBA expires on Sept. 15.
Here is the press release.
DALLAS STARS MAKE ROSTER MOVES
Frisco, TX – The Dallas Stars announced today that 26 players have been assigned to the Texas Stars, Dallas’ affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). The club also announced that five players have been assigned to their respective Junior club teams.
The following players have been assigned to Texas (AHL):
The following players have been assigned to their respective Junior teams:
Radek Faksa (Kitchener – OHL)
Maxime Lagace (PEI – QMJHL))
Brett Ritchie (Niagara – OHL)
Matej Stransky (Saskatoon – WHL)
Troy Vance (Victoriaville – QMJHL)
Hopefully the NHL can come up with a deal and save the season for us the fans but for right now looks like Stars fans can see their favorite prospects in the juniors and the Texas Stars.
Yesterday the Dallas Stars organization announced the signing of Max Lagace to a entry-level contract, Lagace was an invitee to Dallas Stars development camp. He spent last season in the QMJHL with the Prince Edward Island Rocket.
Official Press Release from the Stars yesterday:
Frisco, TX – The Dallas Stars announced today that the NHL club has signed goaltender Max Lagace to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Lagace, 19, played 56 games last season for the Prince Edward Island Rocket in the Quebec Major-Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he posted a 12-34-5 record with a 4.51 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .867 save percentage (SV%).The 6-foot-2, 168-pound goaltender finished 2011-12 ranked sixth in minutes played (2,911:58), fourth in saves (1,422) and fourth in shots against (1,641) among all QMJHL goaltenders.
Earlier this year, the native of Longueuil, Quebec was selected as one of three goaltenders who will represent Hockey Canada in the Canada-Russia Challenge this August, an event that is replacing Canada’s Junior Team summer development camp. Lagace also participated in Dallas’ Development Camp earlier this summer.
Lagace had a very impressive rookie camp and caught the eye of coaches running the camp and General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. This signing brings the Dallas Stars Organization goaltender depth to eight goalies and seven of them already signed to contracts.
Lagace numbers are not impressive by any means, but the PEI Rockets had the worst regular season in the teams history since relocating to PEI from Montreal before the 2003-2004 season began with a record of 19-43-6. The QMJHL is also not the most successful place for goalies. In 68 regular season games Lagace had the decision in 61 of them, which means he can be a work horse for a team which is common for a lot of the goalies in the Stars organizations.
Let’s take a look at the Stars and their minor league affiliates to see how this goalie depth is panned out.