Saturday night was a big night for the Stars organization. The Dallas Stars needed a win over the Nashville Predators to clinch the Central Division title. Meanwhile, down the road in Cedar Park, the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate for Dallas, took to the ice as well fighting for their own playoff battle.
With the Dallas Stars contending with injuries late in the season, many of the Texas Stars best players are currently filling holes left in the Dallas roster. So, it is with a patchwork roster of young players, including several just signed to contracts, that the Texas Stars are fielding in their playoff hunt.
Friday night, Texas dropped the first game of the home series against the San Jose Barracuda, 3-0, leaving the Texas Stars needing just 1 point in Saturday’s game to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Wearing Tiger Stripe camouflage jerseys as part of the Military Appreciation weekend, the Stars looked anything like fighters to start the game. Stars Goalie Maxime Lagace gave up two first period goals, and an early second period goal, before being pulled and replaced in the net by Jack Campbell. Campbell quickly gave up two more goals, and with 7:49 left in the second period the Stars were down 5-2 and looked destined to fall to a desperate San Jose team fighting to keep their own playoff hopes alive.
Pictures from Saturday’s game: here
However, the Stars weren’t done, and fighting back the Stars scored two late second period goals to put the game back in reach. Coming back onto the ice for the third period down 5-4, the Stars wouldn’t be down for long as Center Justin Dowling tied the game just 1:47 into the third period. The rest of the game was all Stars as they piled on three more goals, including a short-handed goal by Dowling giving him two goals for the game. With the 8-5 come from behind victory, the Stars showed their fighting spirit and clinched a place in the AHL playoffs. Players of the Game for Texas were Dowling, Right Wing Matej Stransky, who contributed two goals, and center Mike McMurtry. McMurtry is one of the newest players on the roster, in just his fourth game with the team, after recently finishing his senior year at Northeastern University.
So while Dallas Stars fans can certainly be excited about this year’s playoffs, they can also be confident that the pipeline of talent feeding into Dallas is doing well and that the next generation of Stars are developing into players capable of keeping Dallas in the playoffs in seasons to come.