Dallas Stars prospects struck early and they struck often Monday night. Alex Chiasson scored two goals and Jamie Oleksiak registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick as the Stars defeated Columbus, 7-1, to take third place at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.
Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin, Matej Stransky and Taylor Peters also scored for the Stars, who got 24 saves from goaltender Jack Campbell.
“We played well. It was kind of like the first game. We jumped on them early,” said Campbell. “We’ve got a lot of great prospects. I am excited for the organization.”
The Stars finished the tournament with a 3-1-0 record. Their only blemish was a 4-2 loss to Detroit, which won the tournament championship with a 4-2 victory over Buffalo Monday night.
“I thought we had a good group here. Our scouting staff has done a good job and we have a lot of talented players. That makes a difference in this tournament,” said Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins, who coached the Dallas prospects at the tournament. “I think our young guys learned though. There were things to learn from this tournament. It was a good tournament for that. Overall, I thought we competed hard. It would have been nice to win that Detroit game, but they played well.”
The Stars, who were 0-9 on the power play in a 2-1 shootout win over Minnesota on Sunday, cashed in on both ends of a five-on-three power play early in the first period on Monday to take a 2-0 lead.
Oleksiak set up Ritchie, who whipped the puck into the net from the slot at the 6:21 mark to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.
About one minute later, Nichushkin tallied off a scorching one-timer from the right circle to put the Stars up 2-0.
“It was good to see the power play score,” said Desjardins. “Nichushkin made a heck of a shot on his. It was good to see because a couple of times last game he didn’t one-time it when it was there, and it was good to see him do it tonight.”
Stransky scored midway through the first and Peters scored off the rush late in the period to give the Stars a 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Chiasson made it 5-0 game, scoring off a nifty backhand shot off the rush early in the second period. The second period ended with Oleksiak dropping the gloves with Columbus forward Dalton Smith. It was Oleksiak’s second fight of the tournament.
“It was a quick little tussle there. It came out of nowhere, but I think all the boys kind of liked it,” Oleksiak said. “
After Columbus finally scored in the third period, the Stars answered with two more goals.
Nichushkin drove the net, put the puck on goal and Chiasson knocked home the rebound to put the Stars up 6-1 at the 8:49 mark.
Oleksiak made it 7-1 for the Stars a little less than five minutes later when he banged home the rebound of a Gemel Smith shot off the rush. That goal gave Oleksiak, who already had an assist and a fight in the game, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
“I’ll take it. I wasn’t really expecting anything like that,” Oleksiak said. “You get a Gordie and you always feel good about that. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. All the guys did a good job out there. I was fortunate to play with some good players, set up some good guys. Got a good pass there from Gemel off the goalie, a good shot by him. I put that away. It was a good effort by everyone overall.”
*Curtis McKenzie led the Stars in scoring at the tournament with 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in 4 games.
*McKenzie and Valeri Nichushkin tied for the team lead with 3 goals. Jamie Oleksiak and Alex Chiasson were next with 2 goals each.
*Nichushkin led the Stars with 16 shots on goal.
*Chiasson was tops with a plus-5 rating.
*Jack Campbell was 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and .938 save percentage in two games played in goal.
*The Stars wore their green uniforms for the first time at the tournament on Monday night.
Valeri Nichushkin-Radek Faksa-Alex Chiasson
Matej Stransky-Brendan Ranford-Brett Ritchie
Taylor Peters-Jason Dickinson-Curtis McKenzie
Nick Paul-Gemel Smith-Matej Paulovic
Patrik Nemeth-Jamie Oleksiak
Jyrki Jokipakka-John Klingberg
Rinat Valiev-Etienne Boutet
Jack Campbell (starter)
Max Lagace (backup)