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Sunday, September 09, 2007

332 Miles to Hockey; Traverse City Journal

Traverse City, Michigan-- The big news here is the lack of performance by the Dallas Stars prospects. In two games here they have only scored one goal in a disorganized and what I can guess is a disappointing performance for these kids and the Dallas organization.

It was the Minnesota Wild that took them apart first, on Friday, in a 5-1 defeat. J.C. Blanchard, 19 year-old from Montreal who recently played for Victoriaville of the Quebec juniors league, was given the loss after allowing three goals in the first thirty plus minutes of play. Iowa Stars veteran Stephan Tobias, a Swiss goalie who let in two more goals, replaced him.

Mark Fistric, Matt Nickerson, Richard Clune and John Lammers joined the team from Iowa and were also noticeable on the ice with eight of the team’s 39 of 72 shots on goal and 42 of the 83 penalty minutes posted.

Blanchard is a try-out and his performance this weekend has been disappointing. However, it is not just a story of weak performance in the nets, but a frustrating inability to find the twine: only one goal in 68 shots by the Stars, and a frustrated Stars putting people in the box repeatedly, 82 minutes in two games, leading the tournament.

Starting in the second game, Blanchard gave up five goals, three in the first period, and a total of eight for the tournament so far. Although Iowa put 41 shots on goal in the second game, St. Louis Blues try-out Mike McKenna had an outstanding game, shutting the Stars prospects down. The 24 year-old McKenna played in the ECHL for Las Vegas last season, posting a .927 save and recording 24-4-7 with a 2.21 GAA.

Among the try-outs on the Atlanta roster, Arron Alphonso, an 18 year-old player from Ottawa, scored a goal, with assists by 18 year-old try-out Bosjan Golicic of Slovenia and 23 year-old try-out Jordan Fox of the Flint Generals.

Bryan Little, a 19 year-old 1st round Atlanta draft in 2006, scored three goals in the tournament, one against the New York Rangers in a Saturday loss and two against the Detroit Red Wings in a Friday win.

Dan Turple, who played for the Gwinnett Gladiators last season, made 25 saves in the loss against the Rangers, giving up five goals, including a power play goal. Atlanta prospect Ondrej Pavelec scored a win in a contest that saw him turn away 19 shots, letting in a power play goal and another goal in the win against the Wings.

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