This past week couldn't have gotten much better for the Texas Stars. They had two back-to-back games on the road against the Abbotsford Heat (the top team in the AHL at the time) and came away with three out of four points. They've gotten 10 out of 14 points since the beginning of December and have been on roll since mid-November.
The Stars outplayed the Heat in both games and probably would have won the second game if not for the goaltending of Barry Brust (he stopped 39 of 40 shots). He was able to hold on to beat Jack Campbell and the Stars in the shootout.
Campbell and Cristopher Nilstorp split the two games and both guys did well. Nilstorp saved 20 of 21 shots in the Stars 3-1 win while Campbell saved 25 of 26 shots. It's one of Campbell's best games of the year sothat was really good to see as he had been struggling for the past month.
It was another week and another goal for Reilly Smith as he continues to play very well in December. He now has four goals in December and his six points this month has doubled his yearly total.
Cody Eakin had a goal and two assists last week and he now has a three games point streak. He has a point in five of the last six games and continues to lead the team in points with 18 (which really isn't all that much). No Stars player is in the top-60 in the AHL in scoring so it's good to see this team succeeding as a team.
Dec. 19 – San Antonio Rampage @ Texas Stars
Dec. 21 – Texas Stars @ OKC Barons
Dec. 22 – Texas Stars @ OKC Barons
The Overseas Pros
Note: Just about all European leagues had last week off so there's not much to write here.
Jamie Benn – Hamburg Freezers
The DEL was the one league in Europe that didn't go on a holiday but as luck would have it, the Freezers somehow had no games scheduled last week. Benn returned to North America during that time and should be back in Germany this week as the NHL lockout is still in full effect.
There were some rumblings that he might stick around here until after New Year's so who knows. Hamburg has three games this week so it'll be interesting to see if he suits up.
Season totals: 19 games, 7 goals, 13 assists, 30 PIM, +8 rating
Dec. 18 – ERC Ingolstadt @ Hamburg Freezers
Dec. 21 – Ausburger Panther @ Hamburg Freezers
Dec. 23 – Hamburg Freezers @ Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
Jaromir Jagr – HC Kladno
A week of rest should only make Jagr more unstoppable as he spends the week soaking in the fountain of youth. He enters this week with eight goals and nine assists in his last 11 games.
Season totals: 24 games, 18 goals, 25 assists, 24 PIM, +15 rating
Dec. 19 – Kladno vs Pardubice
Dec. 21 – Kladno vs Chomutov
Dec. 23 – Kladno vs Ceske Budejovice
Loui Eriksson – HC Davos
Loui has only had a short debut week of hockey so far this year so it's good to see him back on the ice. He certainly didn't need the rest last week and has to be itching to go again.
Season totals: 2 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 0 PIM, +1 rating
Dec. 18 – Davos vs Servette
Dec. 21 – Davos vs Kloten
Dec. 22 – Davos vs Zug
Tom Wandell – Severstal Cherepovets
Expect more of the same from Wandell this week. Lot's of ice time and not too much on the scoresheet.
Season totals: 21 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 12 PIM, -3 rating
Dec. 20 – Severstal Cherepovets vs Vityaz Chekhov
Dec. 22 – Severstal Cherepovets vs Dinamo Minsk
Philip Larsen – Rauman Lukko
Just one game for Larsen this week. Larsen and his team have much of next week off as well for Christmas so this will be the only game played from Dec. 9 till Dec. 27.
Season totals: 21 games, 5 goals, 7 assists, 22 PIM, +9 rating
Dec. 18 – Lukko vs Jokerit
Stephane Robidas – HIFK Helsinki
Robidas' contract ran out with Helsinki and the team chose not to bring him back. Thus, the Stephane Robidas overseas experiment is over and done with.
Final season totals: 15 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 22 PIM, -11 rating
CHL Prospects – Just about all Canadian leagues have this week off.
Radek Faksa – Kitchener Rangers
Faksa was training with the Czech World Junior Championship's team this past week so he wasn't around for the Rangers three games this past week.
Season totals: 29 games, 7 goals, 18 assists, 22 PIM, +1 rating
Brett Ritchie – Niagara IceDogs
Like Faksa, Ritchie was at a WJC training camp (only he was with Canada) and missed all three of the IceDogs games. It looks like he'll be on a line with Ryan Strome so that'll be fun to watch.
Season totals: 32 games, 27 goals, 23 assists, 25 PIM, +28 rating
Gemel Smith – Owen Sound Attack
The Attack had two games last week but Smith was held scoreless against both London and Brampton. He's struggled a bit in December as he only has four points in seven games this month.
Season totals: 34 games, 14 goals, 20 assists, 30 PIM, +15 rating
Matej Stransky – Saskatoon Blades
Stransky again took advantage of an easy schedule as he had five goals and three assists in four games last week. He and his team went up against poor defensive teams and that really showed on the scoreboard as they won all four games by a 21-12 margin.
He now has a seven game point and goals streak and has started off December in insane form. He has 10 goals and six assists in just eight games this month and has just carried his team. Luckily the Blades have a game this week so he can stay in form.
Season totals: 34 games, 21 goals, 22 assists, 37 PIM, +7 rating
Dec. 18 – Saskatoon Blades @ Swift Current Broncos
Mike Winther – Prince Albert Raiders
It was a bit of a disappointing week for Winther and the Raiders. They took on three of the four worst teams in the WHL and lost two of the three games. Winther only managed one goal and one assist (both against the Kootenay Ice),
Winther has been pretty inconsistent but when he does get points, they come in pairs. His multi-point game against the Ice was his 11th such effort of the year.
Season totals: 32 games, 14 goals, 18 assists, 37 PIM, +24 rating
Branden Troock – Seattle Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds had three games last week and Troock is still out due to injury. He's only played in three games since Oct. 16. There's really no timetable for his return.
Season totals: 7 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 4 PIM, -3 rating
Dec. 18 – Tri-City Americans @ Seattle Thunderbirds
Troy Vance – Victoriaville Tigers
It wasn't a bad week for Vance as he had a couple of assists in four games last week (though his team lost three of four). The Tigers actually have a pretty busy week as they play two games heading into the weekend.
Season totals: 33 games, 3 goals, 12 assists, 32 PIM, -3 rating
Dec. 20 – Quebec Remparts @ Victoriaville Tigers
Dec. 21 – Shawinigan Cataractes @ Victoriaville Tigers
Maxime Lagace – Prince Edward Island Rocket
Lagace had found himself between the pipes in two of the three games for the Rocket last week. He stepped in midway through a game against the Halifax Mooseheads after their starting goalie had allowed three goals midway through the second period. He closed out the game and stopped all nine of the shots he faced.
Lagace then started the Rocket's second game last week and stopped 19 of 21 shots en route to a 5-2 victory. He's been a bit better in the past month (though he's still allowing about three goals a game in that stretch) and has been able to put up some wins.
Season totals: 20 games, 9-6-1, 68 goals allowed, 3.93 GAA, .870 SV%, 1 shutout
Dec. 19 – PEI Rocket @ Moncton Wildcats
Dec. 21 – PEI Rocket @ Acadie-Bathurst Titan