Patrik Nemeth hadn’t scored a goal for the Stars since 2014, but his return to Cedar Park helped Texas take three of four points from the defending Calder Cup Champion.
The 24-year-old defender scored a goal and had an assist in the Stars’ 4-2 win against the Cleveland Monsters on Friday night, earning first star honors. He backed that up with three shots and a +1 in the 2-1 shootout loss on Saturday.
“I want to gain some confidence and get some games to get in a groove,” Nemeth said. “There was a time when I didn’t get a lot of time (with the Dallas Stars). Just to come down here and play with these guys and work on stuff with these guys and get some confidence is huge.”
He has 18 shots in 16 games for Dallas this season and has yet to record a point and was assigned the AHL team on a conditioning assignment ahead of Friday’s game. He has appeared in 84 career NHL games and has 11 points on 11 assists.
Nemeth’s conditioning stint was scheduled to last two weeks and he said he’s expecting to spend the entire time in Cedar Park and not head back to the NHL early.
“He was excited to play,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “That’s important because sometimes players are dejected coming down. He’s a true professional and competitor. He’s getting excited and it’s good to see him have some fun.”
His goal Friday night came off a rebound in the slot midway through the second period that he said wasn’t hard to put in the back of the net. It was the team’s league-best ninth shorthanded goal of the season.
A quiet leader, Nemeth didn’t care much about his performance, but rather chose to focus on the team win, a result that snapped a three-game losing streak and put the Stars back in the playoff hunt.
“It’s the timing and breakouts and how the teams handle certain situations,” he said. “I think obviously winning is good for the group and improving small stuff is big.”
Nemeth spent just eight games with Texas in the last two seasons, tallying three points in the time. He spent a longer time in the AHL in 2014, scoring three goals with seven assists and helping Texas win its only Calder Cup.
His time with the team during this period will be busy as the Stars play eight games, including the two against Cleveland in the two weeks he’s set to be with the club. They hit the road for a four-game road trip and play at the Tucson Roadrunners on Friday and Saturday. Their next home game is Wednesday against the Manitoba Moose at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m sure he’s excited to get some ice time,” Laxdal said. “He’s an NHL quality defenseman and a big body back there. His time coming down here is just to get the conditioning stint in and get him off and running and get him back to Dallas. That’s what we do.”