Texas Stars recall Zach Kamrass from ECHL

With three games in three nights the Texas Stars have recalled defenseman Zach Kamrass from the Idaho Steelheads.

Stephen Johns is still out with a lower-body injury while Stars coach Derek Laxdal said the team has other “bumps and bruises” that need to be sorted out.

Kamrass is on an AHL contract with Texas, but didn’t appear in training camp with Texas. He has 16 points in 37 games with Idaho.

Here is the official release:

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Thursday they have recalled rookie defenseman Zack Kamrass from their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Kamrass, 25, is on his first career AHL call-up after appearing in 37 games this season for Idaho with 16 points (3-13=16). The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Atlanta, Ga. is currently in his first full professional season after finishing a four-year career at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (NCAA) from 2011-2015. Kamrass (KAM-rihs) appeared in 147 career collegiate games and scored 64 points (13-51=64) over the four-year stretch.

The Stars begin a three-game road trip on Friday in Bakersfield at 9 p.m. CST.

‘Just blow it up right now’ after Texas Stars go 0-for-9 on the power play

Travis Morin battles for a face-off in the Texas Stars 5-3 loss to Stockton. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Travis Morin battles for a face-off in the Texas Stars 5-3 loss to Stockton. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK – If they could, the Texas Stars probably would have declined the penalties in a 5-3 loss to the Stockton Heat.

Texas went 0-for-9 with the man advantage on Saturday and allowed a pair of shorthanded goals against an undisciplined Stockton team.

And Texas didn’t even generate chances when it had the man advantage.

“Just blow it up right now,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “Right now are units aren’t working and our top guys aren’t working right now.”

Most of the power plays where spent chasing down Stockton clearances as Texas looked stagnant and couldn’t hold possession, even when they had a pair of 5-on-3s and then a 6-on-4 with 49.4 seconds remaining.

“There’s just no timing and no execution,” Laxdal said. “We’ve got to shake it up a little bit and see if we can spark it and get back to a basic power play.”

In fact, the power play inefficiency turned part of the chorus of fans who consistently shout “shoot” into boo birds when Texas left the ice without a shot during a 5-on-3 late in the first period.

That capped Stars worst period of the season as they trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes.

Texas consistently turned the puck over, allowed 16 shots, and the aforementioned power play induced a smattering of boos from the 4,350 announced fans at the Cedar Park Center.

Twice the turnovers ended up in the back of the Stars net – one by Julius Honka and one by Esa Lindell – while the penalty kill was a galvanizing moment for Stockton.

Turner Elson scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 1:58 remaining in the period. Sixteen seconds later Texas gifted a 5-on-3 for 84 seconds, but couldn’t contain the offensive zone and didn’t fire a single shot at Kevin Poulin.

Eventually the period came to an end with Texas failing to pull the trigger on the power play, prompting a couple more boos from the crowd.

The third and fourth lines dragged Texas back into the game in the second period.

First with their effort, than with some scoring touch.

Cole Ully, Cory Kane, and Branden Troock were Texas’ best unit during 5-on-5 play Saturday and started grabbing extra ice time, including more offensive zone starts in the middle stanza.

And they rewarded Laxdal’s confidence when Troock broke through with a twisting wrist shot 8:27 into the second period.

The shot was slightly misplayed by Poulin, but it lit a fire for the Stars.

Texas continued to pressure and eventually pulled within one on Gemel Smith’s fourth goal of the season. Smith won a face-off in his defensive zone on the shift, pushing the Stars into transition before the forward eventually shoveled home a rebound.

Troock, who was subbing in for Greg Rallo during an equipment issue on the third line, appropriately had the primary assist.

Cory Kane, another fourth-liner, tied the game in the third period, but Blair Riley restored Stockton’s lead with 5:06 remaining, beating Jack Campbell on a sharp angle shot.

Texas had chances to tie the game and was gifted the 6-on-4 advantage with 49.4 seconds remaining. But the ninth power play ended just like the first eight, and Elson added insult to injury with a shorthanded empty net goal.

Campbell finished with 29 saves on 33 shots in his second start of the season, while Poulin stopped 31 of 34 shots in the victory.

Morning Skate: Campbell to back-up Lagace when Stars and Rampage clash

The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage meet again tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage meet again tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — After playing on opening night the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage went nearly a month without clashing.

Tonight they’ll kick off a stretch where four of Texas’ next five games are against its Interstate 35 rival.

And both teams are entering tonight’s clash playing their best hockey of the young season.

Texas used that opening night victory to spark a 7-2-1 start, the best 10-game start in franchise history.

San Antonio has been just as good, and have yet to lose in regulation this season. The Rampage are 5-0-3 after a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Wolves on Friday.

San Antonio has been led by reigning AHL goalie of the month Calvin Pickard. Pickard has a .935 save percentage and 2.18 goals against average, and he’s been under constant siege behind a defense that’s willing to trade chances.

The Stars crease will also be in the spotlight tonight.

Jack Campbell was activated from the NHL injured reserve list and officially sent down to Texas on Saturday. He’ll back-up Maxime Lagace, who will make his third straight start, while John Muse will be a healthy scratch.

It should be a crisper start for Texas after last weekend’s first-period performance against the Bakersfield Condors. In those games Texas started slow, but battled back and won both contests.

Stars coach Derek Laxdal attributed that to Texas lack of practice, which can lead to a team “losing it’s game” early. The Stars had four days of practice before this game, plus a morning skate, so there isn’t an excuse for a slow start.

Projected lineup:

Remi Elie-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Derek Hulak-Justin Dowling-Greg Rallo
Cole Ully-Jason Dickinson-Matej Stransky
Cory Kane-Gemel Smith-Branden Troock

Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Mattias Backman-Julius Honka
Brennan Evans-Jesse Blacker

Maxime Lagace

Wrong Side of the Red Line Live: Brendan Ranford on pre-game routines and lacrosse

Brendan Ranford before a Texas Stars game this past weekend against the Bakersfield Condors. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Brendan Ranford before a Texas Stars game this past weekend against the Bakersfield Condors. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Sat down with Texas Stars forward Brendan Ranford for the fourth installment of Wrong Side of the Red Line Live earlier today.

Fun conversation with Ranford about his family lineage in the NHL, his pre-game routines, and lacrosse.

Check it out and subscribe here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wrong-side-of-the-red-line-live/id1042189167?mt=2

Even with 3-on-3 OT, shootouts will still have an impact on Texas Stars

Devin Shore has converted on both shootout attempts in his professional career. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Devin Shore has converted on both shootout attempts in his professional career. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Read this story in the Austin American-Statesman.

Making the switch to 3-on-3 overtime dramatically decreased the number of shootouts in the AHL last season. But it hasn’t completely eliminated the tiebreaker from coaches’ minds.

“There’s been so much of a focus on the 3-on-3. But you still have to be able to win a game with (a shootout) sometime,” Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “We saw that the other night.”