In this edition of Stars’ News & Rumors, Riley Damiani scores his first NHL goal in his first game, and two Stars prospects are named to Canada’s 2022 World Junior Championship team.
Riley Damiani Scores First Goal in First NHL Game
Following his recent call up to the NHL level, Riley Damiani made his NHL debut on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues. The 21-year-old forward was a top contender to crack the Stars lineup out of camp this fall and has been dominant with 18 points in 21 games in the American Hockey League. Playing alongside Jacob Peterson and Luke Glendening, Damiani had a high-event debut. After skating his rookie lap in warmups, he was welcomed with an overturned goal against, a big hit, and a roughing penalty that knocked him to the ice. As he usually does, he popped up with a smile as his team headed to the power play because of his hard work. Then, late in the second period with the game tied 0-0, he made his mark on the game even further.
On an extended shift in the offensive zone, a slick interchange between Jason Robertson and John Klingberg gave the skilled defenseman some space near the right side of the net. Klingberg fired a cross-crease pass to Damiani, who took his time and ripped a shot under the bar to give his team the lead. His teammates erupted and surrounded the rookie, who was all smiles as he headed back to the bench.
“Guys made a couple of good plays,” Damiani said about the shift leading up to his first goal. “One, I just kind of popped up and I totally fanned on it, puck didn’t even come off the ice so I felt like I was gripping the stick a little tight. Next play, I just fanned out to the backdoor and Klinger [Klingberg] made a great play and I think he would be pretty mad if I missed that one. It was exciting, I am happy it went and it is just an all-around good feeling.”
Damiani has certainly shown his ability to remain in the NHL but would need to earn a spot over some underperforming NHL regulars to do so. The likable 5-foot-10 forward has an incredible work ethic and loves to get under the skin of his opponents, something the Stars desperately need within their game right now. Does that size and skillset sound at all familiar to Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins?
Two Stars Prospects Named to Team Canada World Juniors
With the 2022 World Junior Championship on the horizon, NHL fans have been keeping a close eye on the final rosters from each country. When Team Canada released their lineup this week, two Stars prospects had made the final cut. Mavrik Bourque and Logan Stankoven are two highly-touted draft picks from 2020 and 2021 respectively. The two forwards have had success this season across two different leagues. Bourque has recorded 20 points in 10 games with Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, while Stankoven has been lighting it up with 32 points in 22 games for Kamloops of the Western Hockey League. Canada is comprised of 14 forward, eight defensemen, and three goaltenders.
“We are excited to unveil the 25 players who have earned the opportunity to represent Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship, as we believe this group will give us the best chance to win a gold medal on home ice,” Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel Alan Millar said in a statement. “We were impressed with the level of competition at camp, and we knew we were going to have to make difficult decisions when it came time to name a final roster. Our players and staff look forward to the opportunity to compete in front of Canadian fans again, and we know this team will embrace the opportunity of wearing the Maple Leaf as we continue to build towards our goal of winning gold.”
The tournament is set to begin on Dec 24 with Canada taking on the Czech Republic. As usual, Canada will be among the heavy favorites to take home the gold medal after falling to the United States in the final game of the 2021 tournament.
The Stars look to snap a four-game losing streak as they head into an immediate rematch against the Blues on Friday night. Currently in the middle of a stretch of 10 straight divisional games, Dallas knows they need to take advantage of this opportunity to boost their positioning in the standings.
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Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!