Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rocky Mountain Regional Tier 1 U18 Championship

A few weeks after the Dallas Stars Elites dominated the Tier 1 State Tournament from February 10-12. Both the Stars Elites & Alliance Bulldogs will now move on to the upcoming Rocky Mountain Regional Championships that will take place from March 1-4 up at Big Bear Arena in Denver as the Stars Elites & Alliance Bulldogs at the U12, U16 & U18 levels with the opportunity to represent the Rocky Mountain Region at the USA Hockey National Tier 1 Championship that will take place in Buffalo, N.Y. from March 28 through April 1.

Unlike the Tier 2 Teams where the State Champions go straight to Nationals, the Regional is used because of the small number of teams of each state (or none at all in some states like Oklahoma & New Mexico) to use to determine who will play at Nationals. After seeing the action of the Texas Amateur Hockey Association (TAHA) back earlier this month, I feel that Texas should have had only one team at Regional because of the great disparity of the Stars Elites & Alliance Bulldogs over the last couple of years.

For instance, in addition to the U12, U16 & U18 Tier 1 Teams getting sweeped by the Stars Elites at the State Tournament; the Alliance Bulldogs U14 Tier 2 Team made it the Final only to get crushed by the Ice Jets as well. So that tells you the decline of the Alliance Bulldogs Program in recent years (But that's another story for another day).

The U18's are coming off a very strong season in the Tier 1 Elite League where they went 27-8-5 where they ran away with the Pacific Division Title winning by 16 points over the LA Jr. Kings & finished in a tie for 2nd Place with the Chicago Fury with 59 points. Even in the Tier 1 Elite League Season Finale when the Stars Elites played Victory Honda, they were leading 2-0 at the end of 2 periods before 3 unanswered goals for Victory Honda helped them win 3-2 in a 3rd period comeback. If you include all their games, they finished the regular season 32-8-5 where most recently, the Stars Elites went 3-1 during their final Tier 1 Elite League Showcase of the season in the Detroit Area with wins over the Cleveland Barons, Oakland Grizzlies & Belle Tire over the course of the Showcase.

Coming up this we as they have been drawn with the Alliance Bulldogs again during the Regional Tournament Group Stage, they will also play the Pikes Peak Miners which compete in the North American Prospects Hockey League & finished  finished 3rd in the Colorado Tier 1 League behind power houses Colorado Rampage & Colorado Thunderbirds, as well as the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes who in 4 games this season, the Stars Elites went 3-0-1 during the Tier 1 Elite League Season.

It was a series where all 4 games were close including in the first head-to-head matchup of the season on October 10 where despite not trailing for the entire game, the Jr. Coyotes were able to get the game tied on every occasion to earn a 4-4 draw. Also back in the December, the Stars Elites had to comeback from a 3-2 deficit when Brad Ferguson started a 3rd period surge where the Special Teams shined big time by scoring twice in the final 7 minutes of the game. Ferguson tied the game with 6:48 left in the 3rd period to tie it at 3-3. He also scored a an empty netter in the final seconds to win 5-3. William Clark also scored the game winner with just under a minute left to eventually put the game out-of-hand for the Jr. Coyotes

These close games should provide the team with a big confidence booster to play them in the upcoming Regional. But the team shouldn't take them lightly knowing how they have challenged them over the course of the season. They should be seen at least as a slight favorite to possibly win the group. Despite the Pikes Peak Miners finishing 3rd in Colorado, the strong Crop of Tier 1 Talent in Colorado as well as the improving North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) should prepare them well for this tournament.

Alliance will be looked as a major underdog this year after losing 4 of 5 games overall this year against the Stars Elites. As well as struggling in events like their 2 High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) Events this year in early December & Mid-January where they lost every game in those Showcases. Including getting wipped by Honeybaked 10-0 on January 15th & a 6-3 loss to the Ice Jets back on December 3rd where in a game that got away from them after the Bulldogs had the game tied at 3-3 at one point only to lose 6-3.

Other low lights of the season came back in Mid-December where during a trip to Colorado in a game against the Colorado Rampage where a 5 goal 3rd period end any hopes of upset against one of Colorado's Best Teams at the Tier 1 Level. They went on to go winless that weekend which also included a 9-1 loss against the Pikes Peak Miners & a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rampage that weekend.

Also closer to home, saw the team tie the Dallas Oilers U18 AA Team 3-3 the weekend before the State Tournament. Even though this is part weakness' of the Alliance Bulldogs & part of the growing strength the Dallas Oilers are having in winning the U18 Tier 2 State Championship. No matter how strong a AA Team is, the AAA Team, especially a Tier 1 Team, should be a sizeable favorite no matter how good a team because of the amount of practice & Game Time differences have in the two levels. By pulling a tie against the Alliance Bulldogs AA, this should set them up well for a possible strong U18 Tier 2 Tournament Run in Michigan that starts up a month from today

In all, the U18 Tier 1 Tournament will have 8 teams divided into 2 groups of 4. Group A will feature the Colorado Powers in the Colorado Thunderbirds & Colorado Rampage as well as the Phoenix Firebirds & the Utah Regulators. While Group B will feature the Dallas Stars Elites & Alliance Bulldogs along with the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes & Pikes Peak Miners. Each team will play once per day during the Group Stage on Thursday, Friday & early on Saturday.

The Semifinals will take place on Saturday Night with the winners playing each other for the Regional Championship Game Sunday Afternoon. The winner will move on the National Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. from March 28 through April 1 in Buffalo, N.Y. Last year, both the Stars Elites & Alliance Bulldogs advanced to the Semifinals and even were matched up against each other where the Stars Elites defeated the Alliance Bulldogs 3-2 in the Semifinals only to roughed up in the Final where they lost to the Colorado Thunderbirds 7-2 for the Regional Championship when the Tournament was in Dallas.

With Nationals on the line, expect everybody to be putting everyone on the line as a spot in Nationals is on the line and everyone else bascially planning to wrap up their season after this weekend. One of the few execptions to this rule is the Dallas Stars Elites heading up Fairbault, Minnesota to play Shattuck St. Marys the weekend of 3/17-18 that will be used as a National Championship Tune up.

If they don't quailify, they will still play but it will be looking to end the season on a high and it will have a very different tune for the Stars Elites as Shattuck will be playing their final games before the National Championship with the Stars Elites as a team will have nothing to play for.

For Alliance, any kind of big victory would be a huge achomplishment after the down season the team has had this year as they will be viewed as one of the weakeast teams in this year's Rocky Mountain Regional Tournament. Especially with them being paired in the same group as the Stars Elites after losing 4-of-5 this season. It's most likely going to be a long weekend for the Bulldogs this weekend.

Here's the Full U18 Tier 1 Regional Championship Schedule in Denver, Colorado

Group A: Colorado Rampage, Colorado Thunderbirds, Phoenix Firebirds, Utah Regulators

Group B: Alliance Bulldogs, Dallas Stars Elites, Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, Pikes Peak Miners


Colorado Rampage VS. Phoenix Firebirds  5:45 PM

Utah Regulators VS. Colorado Thunderbirds 6:00 PM

Dallas Stars Elites VS. Phoenix Jr. Cyotes  8:00 PM

Alliance Bulldogs VS. Pikes Peak Miners  8:15 PM


Colorado Rampage VS. Colorado Thunderbirds  5:45 PM

Utah Regulators VS. Phoenix Firebirds  6:00 PM

Dallas Stars Elites VS. Pikes Peak Miners  8:00 PM

Phoenix Jr. Coyotes VS. Alliance Bulldogs  8:15 PM


Colorado Rampage VS. Utah Regulators  12:30 PM

Phoenix Firebirds VS. Colorado Thunderbirds  12:45 PM

Dallas Stars Elites VS. Alliance Bulldogs  2:45 PM

Phoenix Jr. Coyotes VS. Pikes Peak Miners  3:00 PM

SF #1: 1A VS. 2B  9:15 PM

SF #2: 1B VS. 2A  9:30 PM


Final: SF Winners  1:30 PM

Friday, February 24, 2012

This weekend's Junior Schedule 2/24-26

With the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament now behind the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The league is back to the regular season as the final month of the NAHL Regular season is getting into high gear as the fight for 1st Round Home Ice between the Topeka Roadrunners & Texas Tornado will be getting into high gear as both teams have tough road series' this weekend as the Tornado will travel to Amarillo to face the Bulls; while the Roadrunners head to the Northwest to play the Wenatchee Wild as they are looking to overtake the Alaska Avalanche for 2nd Place in the West Coast Division with both teams having 14 & 15 games left this season.

Texas is in a part of the schedule where they are playing the Bulls 3 out of 4 weekend series as the Bulls were able to win a pair of 1 goal games where the Bulls won 5-4 & 3-2 in OT last weekend going into the Top Prospects Tournament which allowed Topeka to get a series split against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs who are leading the West Coast Division with 13 games left in the regular season. And are looking to defend the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship this year in Frisco coming up in May.

The only break from the Bulls will be on March 2nd & 3rd when the team heads to Kansas to play the Roadrunners for the final time of the regular season and possible 1st Round Playoff Preview which could be the decider to determine home ice advantage in a possible playoff series in Early April.

After this long road trip wraps up, the Tornado will finish the regular season with 4 of their final 6 at home with home series against the New Mexico Mustangs (3/16-17) & the Corpus Christi Icerays (3/30-31) to bring an end to the regular season. The Final Road of the regular season trip after this will be back in Corpus Christi on March 23rd & 24th.

Other important series in the region this weekend includes another #4 VS. #5 Series with the Corpus Christi Icerays & Odessa Jackalopes in a home-and-home this weekend where the IceRays are looking to get out of a bit of a tail spin they have been in recently after having a bit of a let down weekend against the New Mexico Mustangs where despite getting 3 out of 4 points, it didn't look that convincing as the Mustangs were able to control huge portions of both games last weekend.

New Mexico was able to have a rare strong series, it's not only the points back but the number of teams they have to jump over both Wichita Falls & Odessa to have a shot of taking down Corpus Christi for the 4th & Final Playoff spot in the South Division.

Also working against them is how the Mustangs have the fewest games remaining of the chasing pack. While Odessa (14 GR) & Wichita Falls (12 GR) still have chances to get ahead. New Mexico only has 11 games left in the regular season

The IceRays can put themselves in a position where they could be as many as 13 points up on Odessa and looking to put a knockout punch on the chasing pack of Odessa, Wichita Falls & New Mexico to end their playoff hopes as all 3 teams are looking to find a way to stay in the chase.

The WSHL has the Mid-West Division Leading El Paso Rhinos entreating the Dallas Ice Jets this weekend. With El Paso already clinching the Mid-West Division top seed, the Ice Jets are looking to use this as an opportunity to create some distance between themselves and the Texas Jr. Brahmas who are sitting in 3rd Place, just 5 points back of the Ice Jets as the Jr. Brahmas will be playing a home-and-home against the lowly Dallas Snipers who are just going through the motions of wrapping up the season as they have been out of playoff contention for weeks now.

There is also a lot of motivation for the Ice Jets after they got swept by the Rhinos just after New Years, and it wasn't just a bad weekend for the Ice Jets but a series that turned the tide in the Mid-West Division Race where the Rhinos took the Division Lead and haven't looked back ever since. Since then, the Rhinos have won 13 of their last 15 in which most of it has taken down some weak competition like scoring 14 & 10 goals in back-to-back games against the Phoenix Knights for example.

The Ice Jets on the other hand have had some issues since New Years where they are currently on a 5 game losing streak where they got swept by the Idaho Jr. Steelheads.

With the Ice Jets & Rhinos currently #1 & #2 in the Mid-West Division, this could be a possible preview for the Mid-West Division Final & a Round Robin Game in the WSHL Throne Cup as El Paso will be hosting and having an automatic spot in this year's Championship Tournament.

This weeks Junior Schedule

North American Hockey League


Texas Tornado VS. Amarillo Bulls  7:00 PM

Corpus Christi Icerays VS. Odessa Jackalopes  7:05 PM

New Mexico Mustangs VS. Wichita Falls Wildcats  7:05 PM


Texas Tornado VS. Amarillo Bulls  7:00 PM

New Mexico Mustangs VS. Wichita Falls Wildcats  7:25 PM

Odessa Jackalopes VS. Corpus Christi Icerays  7:35 PM

Western States Hockey League


New Mexico Renegades VS. Boulder Bison  8:15 PM

Dallas Ice Jets VS. El Paso Rhinos  8:30 PM

Dallas Snipers VS. Texas Jr. Brahmas  9:00 PM


Texas Jr. Brahmas VS. Dallas Snipers  7:30 AM

New Mexico Renegades VS. Boulder Bison  8:15 PM

Dallas Ice Jets VS. El Paso Rhinos  8:30 PM


New Mexico Renegades VS. Boulder Bison  1:00 PM

Dallas Ice Jets VS. El Paso Rhinos  5:30 PM

Poll Question: Will the Dallas Stars make the Stanley Cup Playoffs

After last night's 3rd period comeback to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 last night and a Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 Shootout victory last night. That put the Dallas Stars (8th Place), Calgary Flames (9th Place) & the Los Angeles Kings (10th Place) all tied with 66 points.

Tonight is a very critical night in the playoff chase as the Stars have a chance to claim 8th Place all by themselves with both the Flames & Kings having the night off tonight and to gain ground on the Phoenix Coyotes who helped them out after coming back from 2-0 down and fighting off a desperate Flames in OT after Calgary scored to tie the game with 1:48 left in the 3rd period by Olli Jokinen to save the Flames last night.

The Stars will look to win their 1st game on the 2nd night of a back-to-back all season and against another team in the Minnesota Wild who sit in 12th Place (27-24-9) and are just 3 points back of CGY, DAL & LA & can make this race even tighter by over taking the Colorado Avalanche who are playing the Columbus Blue Jackets who are currently the worst team in the league and are well on their way to having the #1 Overall Draft Pick this summer. So that makes tonight's Stars Game VS. Minnesota even more important tonight to get away from the playoff chase and to get further into the playoff race this season.

So the Poll question is simple, can the Stars end their 3 year Stanley Cup Playoff Drought and get back to the Playoffs this year? I want to hear from you with your comments & Votes on your thoughts on the Stars as they enter the final 21 games of the regular season which will wrap up on April 7 against the St. Louis Blues.

Here's a look at the next 5 games for the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames & Los Angeles Kings as the battle for the playoffs heats up at the end of February.

Dallas Stars

2/24: VS. Minnesota Wild  7:30 PM

2/26: VS. Vancouver Canucks  2:00 PM

2/29: VS. Pittsburgh Penguins  6:30 PM

3/2: @ Edmonton Oilers  8:30 PM

3/4: @ Calgary Flames  5:00 PM

Los Angeles Kings

2/25: VS. Chicago Blackhawks  7:00 PM

2/27: @ Nashville Predators  7:00 PM

2/28: VS. Minnesota Wild  6:30 PM

3/3: VS. Anaheim Ducks  9:30 PM

3/6: @ Nashville Predators  7:00 PM

Calgary Flames

2/25: VS. Philadelphia Flyers 9:00 PM

2/27: VS. St. Louis Blues  8:00 PM

3/1: VS. @ Phoenix Coyotes 8:00 PM

3/2: @ Anaheim Ducks  9:00 PM

3/4: VS. Dallas Stars  5:00 PM

2/22 Canadian Hockey League Scoreboard

The Kelowna Rockets ended up with one of the biggest wins of their season by taking down the Eastern Conference Leading Edmonton Oil Kings 6-4 with 2 goals each from Carter Rigby & Brett Bulmer to propel the victory with everyone playing such a great game over the course of the night and a strong way to kickoff their 5 game road trip with 4 of the games in the Province of Alberta. Kelowna will now have a 3 game in 3 day stretch with games in Lethbridge on Friday, Medicine Hat on Saturday which features the WHL's top Goal Scorer in Emerson Etem with 52 goals this season. Then the Rockets will wrap up the weekend on Sunday against the Calgary Hitmen.

Regardless of how the Kelowna Rockets do the rest of the season, expect them to be pretty much locked into the 6th seed as they sit a strong 18 points up on 7th Place Seattle Thunderbirds where the Rockets are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. In addition, the gap between them and 5th Place Spokane is 11 points as they will be looking to fight the Vancouver Giants for a home ice spot in the WHL Western Conference.

One of the biggest things they will have to fight off is putting the team into cruise control into the playoffs as they will more then likely play the Kamloops Blazers, Portland Winterhawks or Tri-City Americans who are all fighting it out for the #1 Seed in the WHL Western Conference, and quite possibly the #1 Overall Seed to get them home ice advantage in the entire Western Hockey League Playoffs depending on how the top Eastern Conference Teams like the Edmonton Oil Kings & Moose Jaw Warriors

It's possible that they could catch them if they get really hot. But with the team they have and some of the inconsistencies in their game, I wouldn't expect them to do it even if its a turtle that has been frozen in time.

The lone OHL Game went from a goaltenders duo in the first two periods where goaltenders JP Anderson & Scott Stajcer were stopping everything in sight to an offensive slug fest in the 3rd period. In the end after the Attack & Sting made it 3-3 after the 3rd period. It was Owen Sound defensemen Jay Gilbert who scored in OT to give the Sting a 4-3 victory in a very important game in what could be a possible 1st Round Series Preview in the OHL Western Conference as both teams are currently the #4 & #5 seeded teams with both teams having just over 10 games left this season.

Here's the Full Scoreboard from the WHL, OHL & QMJHL last night.

Western Hockey League

WHL Video

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mike Heika Chat for 2/23

Every Thursday during the NHL Season, Dallas Morning News Mike Heika does a chat with fans regarding the Dallas Stars & the rest of the NHL. Right now, the NHL Trading Deadline is on the mind of many fans right now after Nicklas Grossman got traded to the Flyers back on February 16 for a 2012 2nd Round Pick & a 2013 3rd Round Pick. Rumors are going around that Steve Ott could be on the trading block here coming up as the Trade Deadline will be coming up on February 27 at 2:00 PM CT.

Even though the trade deadline dominated conservation, other topics included about the relationship between GM Joe Nieuwendyk & Stars Owner Tom Galgardi, and an interesting question regarding prospects; and that is Does the Team take to long bringing up it's prospects?

Tonight's game will wrap up a quick 2 game road trip after shutting out the Montreal Canadians, 3-0 on Tuesday. It's a trip to Chicago to visit the Blackhawks and the Stars have a chance to get into the 8th & Final Playoff spot tonight with a Stars Victory and a Calgary Flames loss to the Phoenix Coyotes tonight which starts at 8:00 PM Tonight. This was possible thanks to a Los Angeles loss to Colorado last night. Also, Richard Bachman will be getting his 1st start since February 2nd where the Stars to the San Jose Sharks, 5-2.

It's a busy night across the NHL Tonight as other important games for Stars fans to follow include the Minnesota Wild playing Florida, Pacific Division Leading San Jose playing Toronto & the Anaheim Ducks playing the Carolina Hurricanes.

Central Hockey League Week Ahead for 2/22-26

Despite seeing both the Allen Americans going to the Shootout for the 4th time in the last 6 games. It was the Brahmas who the shootout and the game for the 2nd time in 11 days and the 3rd straight time as the Brahmas have owned the Americans as of late by pulling off their 3rd straight victory over the Rivals from Colin County in a 2-1 game where Mark Guggenberger had another outstanding performance by making 26 of 27 saves to earn his 7th straight win including giving up a goal or less in 6 of those games that earned him the CHL Goalie of the Week for the week of February 13-19.

Tulsa also had their game go to Overtime that saw them lost 2-1 to Ft. Wayne that saw their gap between them and 5th Place Rio Grande Valley grow to 5 points with 2 games in hand (Tulsa with 17 GR, RGV with 15 GR) this season.

As for the rest of the week, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees has a chance to climb back in the race as they sit 5 points back with 15 games left in the regular season as they will face South Texas Rival Laredo Bucks and then a pair of games against the Turner Conference Bottom Feeder Bloomington Blaze on Friday & Saturday and hope that Guggenberger and the Rock Hard Defense will be playing the Brahmas for a 3 game weekend starting in Tulsa on Friday.

Then coming back to Dallas to play on Saturday & Sunday as the Killer Bees have one of their better chances to close the gap with Tulsa for the fourth & final playoff spot in the Berry Conference.

With the entire league coming down to the final 15 games. We could have a battle possibly brewing for the 2nd spot as many thought the Americans & Thunder would comfortably have 1st Round Home Ice while battling for home ice advantage in the Southern Conference & taking on the Evansville Ice Men & Ft. Wayne Komets for home ice throughout the entire playoffs.

However, with the Brahmas winning 7 in a row and Mark Guggenberger starting to heat up in goal, it could have the Americans sweating (Not heavily yet) about a possible battle between the DFW Rivals for 1st Round Home Ice. One big advantage for the Americans is that Allen has 2 games in hand where they can easily extend & protect their lead.

Texas will be looking to bank on a 6 game homestand that will begin Saturday Night with a pair of games against the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday & Sunday. They will also play a pair of games against Rio Grande Valley as well as Missouri & Laredo to finish their final extended homestand of the regular season.




Laredo Bucks VS. Allen Americans  7:05 PM

Bloomington Blaze VS. RGV Killer Bees  7:30 PM

Texas Brahmas VS. Tulsa Oilers  7:35 PM


Allen Americans VS. Laredo Bucks  7:30 PM

Bloomington Blaze VS. RGV Killer Bees  7:30 PM

Tulsa Oilers VS. Texas Brahmas  7:45 PM


Bloomington Blaze VS. Laredo Bucks  4:00 PM

Tulsa Oilers VS. Texas Brahmas  5:30 PM

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Poll Question: Can the San Antonio Rampage make the playoffs

With the San Antonio Rampage on the borderline of the AHL Playoff Race. The new poll Question takes a look at whatever or not the Rampage can make the playoffs for only the 3rd time in their history.

I want to hear for you with your comments on why or why not the Rampage will be making the playoffs this season.

American Hockey League Week Ahead 2/22-26

As the Rampage enter the final portion of their annual Rodeo Road Trip, this week could be the most important 3-in-3 weekend sets of the season as San Antonio will be playing the Peoria Rivermen. Who till after last night, were in 7th & 8th Place in the Conference till the Rivermen got an important shootout win against the Abbotsford Heat after being down 2-0 just 6 minutes into the game.

Then were down, 3-2, for a majority of the 3rd period, until Adam Cracknell's 14th goal of the season tied the game with just 47 seconds left where the Rivermen was able to win in the shootout for a 4-3 victory where the Rivermen were able to jump to 6th Place in the Western Conference.

Abbotsford on the other hand has been falling in the West as they currently sit in 7th Place, this was after the Heat were in a very tight race with Houston & Oklahoma City for most of the 1st half of the season for both the Conference & Division Lead.

After San Antonio finishes the 2 games in Illinois, they will head to Wisconsin to play the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday Afternoon. This could be a make-or-break weekend for the Rampage who sit in 8th Place and after the Rodeo Road Trip wraps up with a game in Chicago on 2/29, the stretch drive will have the Rampage play 12 of the team's final 18 games in March & April and will provide a prime opportunity to further established themselves in the playoff picture.

One thing to keep in mind about the Rampage is that San Antonio has only made the playoffs twice in their decade long history & has never won a Division Title or Playoff Series in their history. The last time the Rampage made the playoffs was in 2007 where they lost in 7 games to the Toronto Marlies.

Following tonight's Home Game against the Texas Stars, the Barons will start on a 6 game road trip starting with a battle of Division Leaders against the Mid-West Division Leading Charlotte Checkers where OKC will have a great chance to pull away even further from both Charlotte & Toronto as they currently sit 5 points up on the Toronto Marlies & 6 points up on the Charlotte Checkers.

Following the trip to North Carolina, OKC will head to the Mid-West for a pair of games against Peoria, sandwiched with games against Grand Rapids & Chicago during the Trip as well.

Time is beginning to run out for the Texas Stars to get into the playoff race as they sit in 13th Place and are 9 points back of in state rival San Antonio for the 8th & final playoff spot. Things won't get any easier with a road game to the Conference Leading Oklahoma City Barons, followed by a weekend series against their In State Rival Houston Aeros.

Houston will be looking to take advantage of one of their lightest stretches of the season coming up as they will have just 3 games over the next week-and-a-half. Not only is the number of games at a minimum, but travel shouldn't be an excuse coming up as they will be heading to Austin for a Friday/Saturday Series against a Texas Stars Team who are looking to get out of the Western Conference basement. The Aeros are looking to get this 11 game extended road trip back on track where Houston is 2-4 so far after losing 3 straight to Milwaukee & a pair against Abbotsford last week.

This will be a great chance for the Aeros to get back into 4th Place and into the final Home Ice Spot for the AHL Western Conference Playoffs when they get underway in Mid-April. The Aeros will look to get back on track during the extended road trip prior to their 1st home game back when they return to the Toyota Center on March 10 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Like the Rampage, the Aeros will have a heavy home schedule over the final 18 games where 13 of their final 18 will be at home. Including a stretch starting on March 29 where the Aeros will wrap up the regular season with 7 of their final 8 at home with their only road game during the final stretch drive against Oklahoma City on April 13 which is part of the regular season's closing weekend.

This Weeks AHL Schedule


Texas Stars VS. Oklahoma City Barons  7:00 PM


Oklahoma City Barons VS. Charlotte Checkers  6:00 PM

San Antonio Rampage VS. Peoria Rivermen  7:00 PM

Houston Aeros VS. Texas Stars  7:30 PM


Oklahoma City Barons VS. Charlotte Checkers  6:00 PM

Houston Aeros VS. Texas Stars  7:00 PM

San Antonio Rampage VS. Peoria Rivermen  7:30 PM


San Antonio Rampage VS. Milwaukee Admirals  3:00 PM

Is Austin Smith the NCAA's Best Hockey Player

This is the Question that was posted yesterday by Jason Cohen at the Texas Monthly Daily Post, which is kind of like the Daily Newspaper portion of the Texas Monthly Magazine. Going into the final weekend of the ECAC Hockey Regular Season which includes games against RPI coming up on Friday Night where Smith had a 4 goal game the last time the two teams played back on February 4th in a 8-3 victory.

Saturday Night, the Raiders will be ending the regular season on Saturday Night against Conference Leading Union where they looking to show that they are NCAA Tournament worthy, even if they don't win the ECAC Championship on, March 17. Many NCAA Hockey Experts are thanking that the ECAC could be a single team conference in this year's tournament when the NCAA Hockey Tournament 1st Round Games will be announced on March 18 (the day after the Conference Championships wrap up).

Colgate's main goal this weekend is to hold on to a top 4 spot as the gap from 3rd Place Colgate to 8th Place St. Lawrence is 4 points. If the Raiders do hold on to a top 4 spot, not only would that get them a 1st Round Bye but would also guarantee themselves a home series during the Quarterfinals which take place from March 9-11. That would be a huge advantage for the Raiders as they not only look to win the Conference but also to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. When they were in the NCAA Hockey Tournament in 2005, the Raiders lost, 6-5, to the WCHA's Colorado College Tigers.

However, his feature takes a look at his chances of possibly winning the Hobey Baker Award this year and compares to him to other major individual achievements like Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman Trophy as well as former Texas Longhorn Basketball Players T.J. Ford (2003) & Kevin Durant (2007) winning the Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Awards in College Basketball over the last decade.

Here's the Final Weekend of the Colgate Hockey Schedule, as well as the ECAC Playoffs Schedule.

2/24: VS. RPI  6:00 PM

2/25: VS. Union  6:00 PM

3/2-4: ECAC 1st Round (Best of 3 @ Campus Sites)

3/9-11: ECAC Quarterfinals (Best of 3 @ Campus Sites)

3/16-17: ECAC Championship Weekend (In Atlantic City, N.J.) 

By Jason Cohen of the Texas Monthly Daily Post

Baylor's Robert Griffin III brought the Heisman Trophy back to Texas in December. University of Texas hoops stars T.J. Ford & Kevin Durant have both won the Naismith College Player of the Year Award. And now a Dallas Native - and future Dallas Stars Player - just might win the biggest individual prize in college hockey: the Hobey Baker Award.

That's right: A hockey player. From Dallas. Named Austin.

Now it should be noted that Texas doesn't even have an NCAA College Program. And the state's two most famous NHL Players are NHL Hall of Fame defensemen Brian Letch, who was merely born in Corpus Christi, and Buffalo Sabres defensemen Tyler Myers, a 6'8" behemoth from Katy who spent a few years as a Houston Aeros Fan before moving with his family to Canada at the age of ten.

But we get to legitimately claim Austin Smith, the 23 year old senior at Colgate University. He learned the game in Texas, played all of his youth hockey around the metroplex (Hi Tim), as well as two years at Dallas Jesuit High, to finish his development, Smith spent two years at a Connecticut Prep School and one season in a Canadian Junior League before entering Colgate, a small private school in Hamilton, New York (which also produced Texas Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong), in 2008.

By then, Smith was already good enough to be selected by his hometown team, the Dallas Stars, in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Draft. Now he leads the country with 33 goals in 32 games - ten more goals then the next player behind him.

But will that be enough? Last week, Inside College Hockey, elevated Smith to the top of it's Hobey Tracker feature. He has sometimes led, but is currently running third, in Hobey Baker Fan Voting (which only counts for one percent of the awards final voting tally), behind Spencer Abbot of the University of Maine and Jack Connolly of the University of Minnesota-Duluth - players from two larger, more historic hockey programs that boast six past Hobey Winners and three National Championships between them.

In that sense, Smith is actually more of an underdog then RG3, who at least played in the Big 12. A closer comparison would be to Case Keenum of the University of Houston, who put up record setting numbers in a conference that was outside college football's power circle.

As Brian Sullivan of U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Wrote:

[Smith] has to be considered - at this point - a no brainer for the Hobey Hat Trick [Editor's Note: i.e., one of the three finalist]. It makes me sad to consider that where he plays will likely work against him.

[Other Players] are considered - by many narrow minded eyes - the "real" contenders, because they play in Championship conferences: Hockey East & and the WCHA, in these cases. They play real competition, where areas ECAC Hockey is well, somehow, not.

And I say, that's baloney.

Sullivan goes on to highlight some of the Smith's best performances against teams from other conferences. He also dismisses the fact that Connolly and Abbot have more "points". (That is goals plus assists) then Smith, not only because goals are more important, but because it's easier to pile up assists, both in practice (If your the second to last guy to touch the puck before a goal is scored you get one, even if you went off your skate) and conspiracy theory: "Some rinks/teams/scorers have a reputation for handing out assists with unjustifiable exuberance, and there's no time like a Hobey race to inflate the states at every possible opportunity," Sullivan writes.

Below, Smith is interviewed for Colgate's Youtube Channel. Like many hockey players, he's both humble and milquetoast (but check out that sweet mustache):
Fan voting for the Hobey Baker Award continues through March 1. The Hobey Winner will be announced on April 6 during the Frozen Four Weekend in Tampa, Florida (Florida? There's Hockey in Florida?!).

Dallas Stars Week Ahead 2/22-26

Since battling a bit of a head cold the last few days, so I'm looking to catch up despite the Stars VS. Canadians Game last night where the Stars won 3-0 against a Montreal team that is falling in the Eastern Conference as last night's loss takes them to 14th Place with a 24-27-10 record (58 PTS) and 7 points back of 8th Place Toronto with just 21 games left in the regular season. It last night's win for the Stars last night included just the 3rd shutout of the season and Ryan Garbutt who scored his 1st career NHL Goal in just his 3rd game.

The Stars on the other hand are at 30-26-4 with 64 points and are now just 2 points back of the 8th Place Los Angeles Kings for the 8th & Final Playoff Spot in the Western Conference with 22 games left. Overall the gap from 7th Place Phoenix to 13th Place Anaheim is just 9 points right now. However, they left some valuable points on the table with 3 straight losses last week with OT Losses to Phoenix & Calgary as well as a 3-2 loss to Nashville as all 3 games had opportunities to not only close the gap in the West but be able to make it easier to jump over teams without needing help from opposing teams.

The Stars have another opportunity to play some critical opponents as the Stars will finish their quick 2 game road trip in Chicago tomorrow night, then it's back home for a 3 game home stand with Minnesota on 2/24, Vancouver for the first time this season Sunday Night & then a Nationally Televised Game in both the USA & Canada on February 29 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It's been an up-and-down month of February as the team is nearing the end of a very hectic February where they were playing 16 games in 29 days this month as they currently sit 6-4-2 this month, which sounds good. Until you look at some of the victories which included the likes of the Columbus Blue Jackets who's the absolute worst team in the league, as well as some critical losses in the Pacific Division where 3 of the 4 regulation losses have come from which could have helped in the Pacific Division Race.

Despite those losses, the Stars are just 5 points back of Division Leading San Jose but they would have to get on a run to leap frog past the LA Kings & Phoenix Coyotes are tied with 66 points right now. Anaheim on the other hand is sitting in 13th Place in the West and just 4 points back of the Stars, that's how tight the Race for the final 2 playoff spots in the West with most teams having just over 20 games left in the season.

Here's the Schedule for the rest of the Week

2/23: Dallas Stars VS. Chicago Blackhawks  7:30 PM (FSN Southwest)

2/24: Minnesota Wild VS. Dallas Stars  7:30 PM (FSN Southwest)

2/26: Vancouver Canucks VS. Dallas Stars  2:00 PM (FSN Southwest)  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rio Grande Valley Falls to Evansville for the 2nd straight night

After nearly pulling off a SO Victory on Tuesday Night, the Killer Bees couldn't find a way to keep the Turner Conference Leaders from getting a series sweep as the Icemen continue to keep a slim lead over the Ft. Wayne Komets for the Conference Lead, while the Killer Bees, paired with the Brahmas victory over the Dayton Gems last night are now 4 points out of the Tulsa Oilers for the final playoff spot in the Berry Conference with 18 games left to play.

The bad news for the Killer Bees is that in addition to seeing their chances of catching up to Tulsa are beginning to diminish (Especially after a 9-6 loss on Sunday), they have also played the most games in the Conference shard with Texas as both teams are nearing the 50 game mark of the season.

Rio Grande Valley was able to keep it at a 1-0 game till just after the 3rd period where Sean O'Connor was able to score for the 2nd straight game against the Killer Bees to make it 2-0. Despite being down 2-0 & Thomas Klempa made it 2-1 with just over 5 minutes left in the 3rd period. He also came close on a couple of occasion's including missing an open net early in the 3rd period that could have tied the game at 1-1 and could have changed the outlook of the game.

The Killer Bees failed on an opportunity that they still could have been serious playoff contenders and not only make the playoffs. But look to show that they could play tough against anybody in the League as they were only able to get a point in the 2 games against Evansville. Lucky for them, Tulsa has been off since the 9-6 victory against the Killer Bees back on Sunday Afternoon; so the Oilers couldn't take advantage of the Killer Bees missed opportunities.

Next up for Rio Grande Valley is an important road trip to the Dallas Area for a weekend series against the Texas Brahmas as they look to close in on the 3rd Place Brahmas and once again close in on the playoff gap.

As for the Oilers who the Killer Bees are chasing is a game on Friday Night against the same Evansville Icemen finish off their 3 game Road Trip. This is the Oilers' only game of the weekend as they continue their 5 game home stand. So far, the Oilers are 2-1 on the home stand with a 4-1 loss against Evansville, as well as a 4-2 win over the Dayton Gems back on Tuesday Night.

From Hildago, Texas: Dan Gendur tried to take the blame for the Killer Bees' 3-1 loss Wednesday to the Evansville Icemen.

He pointed out a breakaway on which he was stopped by Evansville Goalie Bryan Gills and an open net he missed early in the 3rd period. But Gendur - who assisted on Thomas Klempa's 3rd period goal - wasn't nearly the problem for the Bees (20-22-7 47 PTS) during a loss that kept them four points behind Tulsa for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Berry Conference.

Instead, that would be the Bees' struggles on the special teams. Evansville first two goals came on its power play while the Turner Conference Leading IceMen (30-13-4, 64 PTS) stopped the Bees on their four chances with an advantage.

Those issues overshadowed an improved performance, albeit one not good enough for a win and two crucial points.

"I thought it was even game. I feel like I may have cost the team the game tonight," Gendur said. "Missed a wide open and missed a breakaway I probably should have scored on. I'll take a responsibility and I feel pretty bad considering it would have made it a 2-2 game and possibly could have gotten us a point."

Bees coach Terry Ruskowski didn't see it that way.

What he saw was a team that played a solid defensive game in front of goalie Wylie Rogers (26 Saves on 29 Shots), but one didn't do enough on special teams or get enough production from anybody besides the Gendur-Klempa-Brandon Campos line.

"It's just not all fitting together in one spot but I thought we played hard today," Ruskowski said. "I'd like to see us play more physical but we just don't have that physical team."

What the Bees also seem to be lacking is an ability to put everything together at the same time. On some nights they score plenty but break down defensively, like in Sunday's 9-6 loss at Tulsa. On Wednesday, they matched one of the league's best teams at even strength.

But the difference was special teams. Evansville's Malcom Gwilliam scored on the power play in the second after a failed clearance. Then with 8:16 left in the game Sean O'Connor got lost in the shuffle and beat Rogers from the goalie's right side after receiving a sharp diagonal pass from IceMen defensemen Steve Makway to double Evansville's lead.

Though Klempa's goal with 5:16 left in the game cut the deficit in half, Evansville held and clinched the win when former Bees center Brian Bicek hit an empty net with five seconds remaining.

"I thought it was a better performance (than Tuesday). We were moving the puck," Ruskowski. "They're a good hockey team. They move the puck very well. They play good position and when you make a mistake they make you pay for it."

The Bees learned that Wednesday.

Game Notes: Bicek's goal is his 30th of the season and makes him the first player in the league to reach that total.   Evansville played with 14 skaters.   The Bees play again on Friday & Saturday when they visit the Texas Brahmas. The Brahmas beat Dayton 2-0 on Wednesday to pull 9 points ahead of the Bees for third place in the Berry Conference.  The Bees are winless in their last four games.

2/15 Canadian Hockey League Scoreboard

On a very busy night in the Canadian Hockey League saw the Edmonton Oil Kings comeback after letting the Kamloops Blazers comeback on Tuesday Night by storming the Kelowna Rockets with Tyler Maxwell scoring twice in the 2nd period to take his total to 34 goals on the season. But it was Michael St. Croix was had a goal and an assist on the Power Play along with Kevin Lowe who together scored three times in a minute and-a-half late in the 2nd period to break open a 2-2 game to a 5-2 lead where the Oil Kings never looked back.

To Kelowna's credit, they were taking the body to the Oil Kings to keep the game close and Zach Franco registered a hat trick in the game including a penalty shot late in the first period.

They were also a couple of possible playoff matchups out west as the top seeded Tri-City Americans traveled South to Oregon to take on the Winterhawks as Sven Bartschi's 3 points helped make him the #1 Star of the Game to help beat the Americans 5-3; while Vancouver & Spokane played in a goaltenders duo where the Giants came out with a 2-1 victory. At where the standings are right now, the Vancouver Giants & Spokane Chiefs would play each other in the Western Conference Quarterfinals right now. With big gaps on both sides of the standings at the current moments, it's looking more and more like that this will more then likely be the #4 VS. #5 Series in the Western Conference Quarterfinals with seeding and home ice to figure out over the final month of the regular season.

Belleville was able to give the Eastern Conference Leading Ottawa 67s a scare where Power Play Goals by Danill Zharkov & Stephen Silas were scored just 44 seconds apart. Ottawa after that showed why the Eastern Conference Leaders to eventually win 6-4 who were able to take over Niagara Ice Dogs surprisingly lost to the Erie Otters 2-1 who won just their 8th game all season.

Western Hockey League 

Current WHL Playoff Picture

Eastern Conference

#1 Edmonton Oil Kings VS. #8 Brandon Wheat Kings

#2 Moose Jaw Warriors VS. #7 Regina Pats

#3 Medicine Hat Tigers VS. #6 Calgary Hitmen

#4 Kootenay Ice VS. #5 Saskatoon Blades

Western Conference

#1 Kamloops Blazers VS. #8 Victoria Royals

#2 Tri-City Americans VS. #7 Seattle Thunderbirds 

#3 Portland Winterhawks VS. #6 Kelowna Rockets

#4 Vancouver Giants VS. #5 Spokane Chiefs

Ontario Hockey League

Current OHL Playoff Picture

Eastern Conference

#1 Ottawa 67s VS. #8 Peterborough Petes

#2 Niagara Ice Dogs VS. #7 Mississauga St. Michael's Majors

#3 Brampton Battalion VS. #6 Oshawa Generals

#4 Sudbury Wolves VS. #5 Barrie Colts

Western Conference

#1 London Knights VS. #8 Sault St. Marie Greyhounds

#2 Plymouth Whalers VS. #7 Windsor Spitfires

#3 Kitchener Rangers VS. #6 Saginaw Spirit

#4 Sarnia Sting VS. #5 Owen Sound Attack

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Current QMJHL Playoff Picture

#1 St. John Seadogs VS. #16 Rouyn-Nornda Huskies

#2 Shawinigan Cataractes VS. #15 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

#3 Blaineville-Boisbriand Armada VS. #14 Val-dor Foreurs

#4 Victoriaville Tigers VS. #13 Drummondville Voltigeurs

#5 Quebec City Remparts VS. #12 Gatineau Olympiques

#6 Rimouski Oceanic VS. #11 Baie-Comeau Drakkar

#7 Chicoutimi Sagueneens VS. #10 Moncton Wildcats

#8 Halifax Mooseheads VS. #9 Acadie-Bathurst Titans

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In the Crease Podcast with Justin Quenneville

It's time for another In The Crease Podcast with Corpus Christi Icerays Beat Writer Greg Rajan as he talks to Corpus Christi Icerays Head Coach Justin Quenneville as he discusses the current playoff race, Anthony Stolarz's great season he's having which included making both the NAHL U18 Selects Team for the upcoming Prospects Tournament; and him making the NHL Draft Rankings.Also what he was going through he was offered a coaching job when the IceRays made the transition from Minor League's to Juniors.

Quenneville also reflects on his favorite moments during his Pro Career with the Ice Rays and why he thanks that Junior Hockey in the NAHL has worked so well in their first 2 seasons. A big part of the appeal Quenneville thanks that has made a big impact including the entrainment factor. "The Energy, they hit so much harder and so much faster," said Quenneville. "Were going to explain first what this level is and explaining what this represents'." Showing current fans and trying to attract new fans as well as they look to show that they are capable of playing in the NCAA & Pro Ranks later in their career.

A good example of this is Anthony Stolarz who not only has made a NCAA Commitment to the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) but was also ranked 21st among NHL Goalies when the NHL Central Scouting Mid-Season Rankings came out back in January.

Also joining Greg Rajan was Brian Sandalow of The Monitor in Mcallen who covers the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in the Central Hockey League discusses' one of the most wild and wacky Games of the Central Hockey League season between the Killer Bees & Tulsa Oilers back on Sunday Afternoon that the Oilers won 9-6 back on Sunday Afternoon.

It included the Killer Bees having to comeback from a 5-1 deficit to a 5-5 tie only to lose 9-6 in what was a very important game in the CHL Berry Conference Playoff Race for the 4th & Final Playoff Spot with about a month-and-a-half left in the regular season. A huge offensive explosion for the Oilers helped them in their victory where 8 players had multiple point games.

He also gives his take on the Berry Conference Playoff Race where the Wichita Thunder are currently 4 points up on the Allen Americans for the Conference Lead and pulled off a critical victory against the Americans back on February 9th, 4-2.

2/14 Canadian Hockey League Scoreboard

Here's a look at the Scoreboard & Reviews from last night's Action in the Western Hockey League which included Coppell Native Colin Jacobs scoring the 1st Shootout Goal that helped be a big game changer as the Thunderbirds got a critical win over the Kelowna Rockets to get away from the Chasing Pack for the Final 2 Spots in the WHL Western Conference Race as they continue to battle teams like the Everett Silvertips & Prince George Cougars over the final month and change of the regular season.

Other WHL action included a possible WHL Championship Preview between the Kamloops Blazers & Edmonton Oil Kings where the Blazers were able to comeback from a 2-0 deficit at the 2nd intermission, into a 3-2 victory in the 3rd.

The Big difference maker saw the Blazers transforming the game from a 2-0 hole to a 2-2 tie with goals by Brandon Herrod & Austin Maddisky in just under 2 minutes to turn a 2-0 hole to a 2-2 tie early in the 3rd. With just a minute left in the game, Blazers Center Matt Needham scored the game winner in a battle of WHL Conference Leaders. This game was huge in the fact that the Blazers are 5 points ahead in the race for WHL Home Ice Advantage with both teams having just 15 games left in the regular season.

Elsewhere the Brandon Wheat Kings took down Kootenay 4-3 and the Western Conference Leading Tri-City Americans lost in a Shutout to the Vancouver Giants 5-4. In the lone QMJHL Game last night saw the Quebec City Remparts just crushed the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 9-1 thanks to a 5 point night from Frederick Roy.

Texas Stars lose 3rd Straight at School Day Game

The Texas Stars Woes continue after losing their 3rd straight game and 7 of their last 8 overall with a 4-3 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters in front of nearly 9,000 screaming kids as the Monsters hosted their annual Grade School Field Trip Game at the Quicken Loans Arena in the Cleveland Area. Texas is looking for anything to get out of this slump as they continue to sit in the bottom of the Western Conference as they now sit 9 points back of the Peoria Rivermen for the 8th & Final Playoff Spot in the Western Conference. With just

Texas was almost able to get back in this game as Francis Wathier, Colton Sceviour & Scott Glennie were able to score their goals in a 4 and a half minute span late in the period after Lake Erie took a 3-0 lead late in the first period. However, the Stars couldn't find any other offensive action after that as an opening minute goal by Patrick Rissmiller put the Monsters over the top to give the team a 4-3 victory.

The Stars will look to turn around their fortunes at home after losing all 3 games on this road trip which also had losses to Rochester Americans (9-4) on 2/10 & the Hamilton Bulldogs (2-0) on 2/12. Next up will be a weekend home series against the San Antonio Rampage on Friday Night (7:30 PM) & Saturday Night (7:00 PM).

Lake Erie will head out on the road for a home-and-home series against the Rochester Americans on Friday & Saturday coming up this weekend. The Monsters have been red-hot recently by winning 6 of their last 7 games which have helped the Monsters climb to 9th Place and just a point out of the Playoff Race right now.

From Cleveland, Ohio: The Texas Stars (21-25-4, 46 PTS) were defeated by the Lake Erie Monsters (25-22-4, 54 PTS) in front of 8,933 fans at the Quick Loans Arena on Wednesday. Monsters Winger Patrick Rissmiller broke a 3-3 tie just 45 seconds into the third period and Lake Erie held on for a one goal win, extending the team's points' streak to seven games (6-0-1).

The Stars fought back with three goals in the last six minutes of the second period, earning a 3-0 deficit from the first period. Left Wings Francis Wathier registered the Gordie How hat trick, as Texas fell to 10-17-1 on the road this season. Forwards Angelo Esposito (2A) and Scott Glennie (1G, 1A) each had multi point games as the Stars concluded three game road trip. Lake Erie Goalie Gerald Coleman (8-2-1) made 30 saves in his ninth straight start. Texas Goalie Tyler Beskorowany (6-13-0) made 40 saves in the defeat, including 17 saves in the second period. Texas returns home to hose San Antonio on Friday, February 17th at 7:30 PM.

The Monsters started the scoring at 6:55 of the first period with a power-play goal by Greg Mauldin. The Lake Erie Forward snapped a wrist shot past Texas Goalie Tyler Bedkorowany for his tenth goal of the year and a 1-0 Monsters Lead. Right wing Brad Malone set up left wing Justin Mercier at 11:37 to make it 2-0 Monsters. Mercier finished off a two-on-one for his 12th goal of the year. Lake Erie closed out the first frame with its third its third goal of the period at 18:11. Center Mark Olver set up Dean Strong for his second goal of the season and a 3-0 lead. The Monsters out shot the Stars 18-8 in the opening frame.

The Stars responded with three goals in the last six minutes of the second period. The scoring spree started at 14:27 of the middle frame with a rebound goal by left wing Francis Wathier. Angelo Esposito and Stephen Schultz each had an assist on Wathier's tenth goal of the year, trimming the Lake Erie lead to 3-1. Texas struck again less then three minutes later at 17:13. Esposito and Scott Glennie each had an assist on Colton Sceviour's 12th goal of the year to make it 3-2. Sceviour found a rebound in the Monsters crease and shuffled it past Lake Erie goalie Gerald Coleman to bring his team within in a goal. Texas scored it's third unanswered goal in the closing minute to tie the game 3-3. Rookie Scott Glennie scored on the power play off a rebound at 19:06 of the middle period. His 11th goal of the season  came from defensemen Brad Lukowich and Wathier, tying the game 3-3.

Just forty-five seconds into the third period, Lake Erie's Patrick Rissmiller skated to the right-wing circle in the Texas zone and lifted a backhand shot over the glove of Beskorwany. Rissmiller's seventh goal of the year pushed the Monsters in front for good at 4-3.

Texas returns home on Friday, February 17th for a 7:30 PM, faceoff against the San Antonio Rampage, presented by Farmers Insurance. Friday's Game is a 3-2-1 night featuring $3 domestic drafts, $2 Sodas & $1 Hot Dogs. The Stars will take on the Rampage again on Saturday, February 18th at 7:00 PM, presented by the Texas Lottery Commission. The first 2,500 fans to the game will receive a team poster, compliments of ABC Home and Commercial Services. Saturday is also a State Farm Family Four Pack consisting of four tickets, four sodas and four hot dogs starting at $48.

Individual tickets for all home games are on sale now. Tickets are available online at the Texas Stars Tickets  or by calling 512-GO-STARS (512-467-8277).

2011-12 season seat packages are on sale now. For more information on Texas Stars Season Tickets call 512-GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.texasstarshockey.com Anyone interested in purchasing season tickets, suites, group tickets or mini-plans may call the Texas Stars Ticket Office.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gameday Audio: Houston Aeros VS. Milwaukee Admirals

As the Houston Aeros & Milwaukee Admirals get ready to play in Milwaukee, Wisconson tonight at 7:00 PM. Here's some Pre-Game Audio discussing both the Admirals Forecheck. Back on February 5th, the Aeros lost in a very tightly contested 2-1 game against the Admirals. Milwaukee is coming off a 4-2 loss against the Peoria Rivermen who currently sit in the 8th & Final Playoff Spot in the AHL Western Conference. Right now, the Admirals are in 11th Place in the AHL West with a 24-21-3 (51 PTS) and are 4 points back of the Rivermen.

The Aeros were in Grand Rapids, Michigan coming off a weekend sweep of the Grand Rapids Griffins with a 5-1 win Friday Night, followed by a 5-4 victory on Saturday to keep the Aeros are in 4th Place in the Western Conference.

Up-to-Date Playoff Scenarios in the AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League

With just 3 games left for all 22 teams in the AT&T Metroplex HS Hockey League and the playoff picture beginning to come into focus. I wanted to show you the latest Playoff Clinching & Other Scenarios that would result from the upcoming Schedule coming up this Thursday Night at the McKinney, Euless & Farmers Branch Stars Centers.

There is without a doubt that the most exciting battle going into the final 3 weeks of the season will be the battle for the #1 Seed in the Silver Tier South Division as Midlothian, Southlake Carroll & Keller ISD who are separated by just 2 points for the South Division Title. Last week, Midlothian won a convincing 4-1 victory where Midlothian Forward Joseph Dancy scored twice in the 3rd period to break open a 1-1 game at the 2nd intermission into a 4-1 victory. In addition to Dancy's 2 goals, Brent Jones took his scoring total 70 points with a goal and two assists in last weeks victory.

Also thanks to a 4-2 win for the Carroll Dragons over Flower Mound which has allowed the 2 point gap to persists. Midlothian will go back into the 1st Place Battle as they will take on the Dragons on Thursday Night at 9:15 PM at the Euless Stars Center. The Midlothian/Southlake Carroll Winner paired with a possible Keller ISD Loss to Flower Mound would have a 1st Place Tie with 2 games left in the season. Expect this race to go to the Final Night of the season on March 1st when Keller ISD takes on Denton County, Southlake Carroll takes on Mansfield ISD & Midlothian takes on FM Marcus.

Elsewhere in the South Division, they will be an important game for the 4th & Final Playoff spot as Mansfield ISD take on FM Marcus as it will be a huge result regardless of the outcome this week. If Mansfield ISD Wins paired with a Grapevine/Colleyville ISD victory over Denton County will officially knock out the Marauders from Playoff Contention. However, if FM Marcus can pull off a critical win would put them just a point back of Mansfield.

Realistically though, to keep FM Marcus' Playoff hopes alive, they would need a victory plus a Denton County Victory over GCISD where if that scenario happens, FM Marcus would be just 1 point back of both teams for the 4th & Final Playoff Spot in the South Division with 2 games left. Also FM Marcus could be viewed as a possible Spoiler as they have won 6 of their last 8 including important wins over both McKinney & Grapevine/Colleyville who are in the midst of the playoff race in the Silver Tier.

Finally, even though Flower Mound & Denton County are technically not out of the playoff race. Both teams face daunting challenges this week as Flower Mound take on Division Leading Keller ISD, while Denton County takes on a motivated and desperate GCISD Team where a loss from either team will basically take them out of the playoff hunt. Not only that, even just one point from either Mansfield ISD or GCISD would also knock them out of the race, so they need not only to take care of business but need a lot of help to hang on to their slim playoff hopes.

Up North were getting ready to possibly crown a Division Champion as the Plano East Panthers can clinch the North Division Title this week if they can beat Richardson/Rockwall along with a desperate Frisco Team which currently sits in 5th if they can beat the Highland Park Scots in McKinney. That Frisco ISD VS. Highland Park Game will be important in both the North Division Title Race and for 3rd & 4th as both McKinney (Currently in 3rd) & Prosper (Currently in 4th) could be in position to clinch playoff spots this week.

For both teams, a win for either side paired with a Highland Park Win would clinch a playoff spot for either McKinney or Prosper. However, if both team win paired with a Highland Park Victory over Frisco; both McKinney & Prosper would clinch the last two playoff spots and knocking Frisco ISD Out of contention in the process.

That could put the spotlight on a possible 3 way battle between Highland Park, Prosper & McKinney for the 2nd Spot in the North Division. Garland ISD has been out of playoff contention in the last three weeks. Fellow Division Bottom Feeders Richardson/Rockwall & Bishop Lynch were eliminated from playoff contention last week with both teams losing to Highland Park & Garland last week in a 9-8 thriller last week just after the League All Star Game.

Even though no one can officially clinch a QF Round Bye in the Gold Tier this week, Thursday's games will tell us a lot going forward. Both Arlington ISD & Plano West can put themselves in great shape if both teams win their games this week as Arlington ISD faces Plano Senior & Plano West plays Dallas Jesuit.

If both Arlington ISD & Plano West win, they would be on the cusp of clinching the QF Round Byes as 3rd Place Dallas Jesuit could only hope to be in a 3 way tie for 1st with by winning their final two games with Arlington ISD & Plano West would have to lose their remaining games for that scenario to happen. Jesuit's best hope of setting themselves up for a Quarterfinal Round Bye would be beating Plano West & Arlington ISD losing to Plano Senior in McKinney this week which would set up a 3 way tie for first, especially if Coppell pulls off an upset of Allen this week where neither Allen or Plano Senior would be able to earn enough points to even catchup with the top 3 in the final 2 weeks of the regular season.

If they is a 3 way tie for first place in the Gold Tier, it more then likely lock Allen & Plano Senior into the #4 VS. #5 Quarterfinal Matchup when the Gold Tier Playoffs starts on March 5. assuming who ever finishes in the #3 Seed and a favorable QF Matchup against Coppell, could set up a very tough Semifinal Matchup against who ever finishes on top of the Gold Tier. So it's going to be important to at least finish in the top 3 when the regular season ends on March 1.

As for Coppell who sits way back in 6th Place, last week's win against Plano Senior wasn't enough for them to get them back in the battle for the 2 1st Round Byes. With a maximum of 19 points along with Plano Senior & Allen tied for 4th with 20 points each, Coppell is locked into the 6th & Final Seed for the start of the Gold Tier Playoffs which begin on March 5.

If the playoffs would begin today, these would be the 1st Round Matchups in both Tiers.

Gold Tier

#1 Arlington ISD & #2 Plano West would have QF Round Byes

#3 Dallas Jesuit VS. #6 Coppell

#4 Allen VS. #5 Plano Senior

Silver Tier

#1N Plano East VS. #4S GCISD

#2N Highland Park VS. #3S Southlake Carroll

#1S Keller ISD VS. #4N Prosper

#2S Midlothian VS. #3N McKinney ISD

Here's this weeks Schedule

Gold Tier

Arlington ISD VS. Plano Senior  7:00 PM @ McKinney Stars Center

Allen VS. Coppell  8:15 PM @ Farmers Branch Stars Center

Dallas Jesuit VS. Plano West  8:45 PM @ McKinney Stars Center

Silver Tier

Garland ISD VS. McKinney ISD  6:30 PM @ Farmers Branch Stars Center

FM Marcus VS. Mansfield ISD  7:00 PM @ Euless Stars Center

Highland Park VS. Frisco ISD  7:15 PM @ McKinney Stars Center

Denton County VS. GCISD  7:30 PM @ Euless Stars Center

Flower Mound VS. Keller ISD  8:45 PM @ Euless Stars Center

Bishop Lynch VS. Prosper 9:00 PM @ McKinney Stars Center

Richardson/Rockwall VS. Plano East  9:00 PM @ Farmers Branch Stars Center

Southlake Carroll VS. Midlothian  9:15 PM @ Euless Stars Center

2/13 CHL & NCAA Hockey Scoreboard

Up in Boston last night was the Final & 3rd Place Game of the annual Bean Pot Tournament where Boston College defeated arch rival Boston University 3-2 in a very gritty and back-and-fourth OT Game that saw the BC Eagles win the 2012 Beanpot Title and looking to go into the final 3 weeks of the Hockey East Regular Season as they fighting UMASS-Lowell for the top spot in Hockey East with just 6 games left for both teams in the regular season. Boston University returns to Hockey East Action with a home-and-home against UMASS-Lowell while Boston College plays Merrimack this weekend also in a home-and-home.

In the 3rd Place Game as Harvard was able to finish Northeastern off a scrappy Northeastern Team 3-2 as the Harvard Crimison will look to use this momentum to fight off the likes of Clarkson & Quinnipiac to get the last of the 1st Round Byes when the ECAC Hockey Playoffs begin on March 2. Northeastern will be most likely fighting UMASS for the 8th & Final Playoff Spot in Hockey East as the Huskies will play Providence this weekend.

Just one game in the Canadian Hockey League last night as the Regina Pats used a SH unassisted goal by Regina Pats Leading Scorer Jordan Weal in a 1-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades to claw within 3 points of 6th Place Calgary Hitmen. And just 5 points back of the Saskatoon who are 5th in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference with each team having 15 games left in the regular season.

Tonight's CHL Schedule has both Dallas Area Natives going head-to-head as Colten Martin Kelowna Rockets team will travel to Washington to play the Seattle Thunderbirds (Colin Jacobs) as the T-Birds are looking to stay ahead of the Victoria Royals & prevent the Everett Silvertips from jumping them as well in the WHL Western Conference Standings.

But the game of the night will be in Kamloops, B.C. as both Conference Leaders in the Kamloops Blazers & Edmonton Oil Kings will rumble on Canada's West Coast as both teams look to show that they could possibly be the favorites to win the WHL Championship this season.

Just one game in the QMJHL tonight as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar take on the Quebec City Remparts in Quebec City tonight.

NCAA Hockey

Beanpot Tournament

Championship Game

3rd Place Game

Western Hockey League

Tonight's Canadian Hockey League Schedule


Baie-Comeau Drakkar VS. Quebec City Remparts  6:00 PM


Brandon Wheat Kings VS. Kootenay Ice  8:00 PM

Edmonton Oil Kings VS. Kamloops Blazers  9:00 PM

Kelowna Rockets VS. Seattle Thunderbirds  9:05 PM

Vancouver Giants VS. Tri-City Americans  9:05 PM