Stars prospects played their best game in Traverse City Monday, but they came up short in the goals for/goals against department, falling 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild.
“We didn’t win the game but sometimes you play well, and you don’t win. That was one of those games tonight,” said Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who is coaching Dallas prospects in Traverse City.
That pretty much sums up the effort. The Stars and Wild played a fast paced first and the Wild scored just as a five-on-three power play expired late in the period to take a 1-0 lead. Two quick goals in the second, the first on the power play, and the Stars were in a 3-0 hole, and they couldn’t recover.
They came close though. Goals by Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov pulled them to within one. Hintz has shown steady improvement throughout the tournament, and this was his best game. He had the goal, a game-high six shots and a plus-two rating. Gurianov, who was flat the first two games, came to life on Monday. He had a goal, four shots and a plus-two rating.
“Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov, that’s absolutely what we expect to see. They were outstanding,” Laxdal said. “That’s the Denis Gurianov we need to see on a consistent basis. He was unbelievable.”
Jason Robertson was pretty quiet the first two games, but he showed some life Monday as well. He had two assists and was a plus-two playing on a line with Gurianov and Hintz. A great save by Wild goaltender Adam Vay kept Robertson from adding a goal to his day’s work.
“You saw some of the sneaky goal scoring plays from Robertson,” said Laxdal. “He dug one out of the pile in the slot, and the goalie made a big save on him.”
Nick Caamano had what I would call a quiet three points through the first two games, but he was noticeable Monday especially early in the game.
Defenseman John Nyberg had his best game of the tournament. He was very active and strong defensively. He was a lot more sure of himself than in his first game on Friday.
“John Nyberg had a much more improved night,” Laxdal said. “He was moving his feet; he was up on the play. He’s not an offensive defenseman, but he was trying to play outside the box a little bit. … If you look at his game over the [three games], you see a huge improvement.”
Nyberg’s a good prospect. I wrote about him for the official site tonight.
Niklas Hansson had a good game as well. Just a lot more solid game all around. He’s been better in every game.
I’ve liked Gavin Bayreuther. He’s had a few rough spots, but he’s a good player. I like the way he handles himself, especially off the ice and around the other players. He’s the team captain for the tournament, and you can see the leadership qualities.
Jeremy Brodeur, a free agent invite, played a nice game in goal, stopping 28 of 32 shots. He was particularly strong in the first period until Minnesota scored as a five-on-three power play expired. Another power-play goal and a point-blank shot off the rush early in the second, and it’s 3-0.
“He played well. He played well,” Laxdal said. “He had some fun out there which is great. And I thought the guys played well in front of him.”
Landon Bow, who started the first two games, will get the nod in goal Tuesday.
Defenseman Chris Martenet didn’t play Monday due to illness. He’s not expected to play Tuesday.
“Just precautionary that we sat him out,” Laxdal said. “He won’t play tomorrow.”
Here is Monday’s lineup:
Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Denis Gurianov
Nick Caamano – Sheldon Dries – Tomas Soustal
Samuel Laberge – Shaw Boomhower – Max French
Cole Tymkin – Brett Davis – Vince Loschiavo
Gavin Bayreuther – Niklas Hansson
Eric Sweetman – John Nyberg
Shane Hanna – Ondrej Vala
Scratched: Chris Martenet (illness), Zach Roberts