Scott Glennie gets a taste of life in the AHL

CEDAR PARK -- Scott Glennie’s first professional goal brought both excitement and relief. It took eight games with the Texas Stars – four in the regular season and four in the playoffs - for the Dallas Stars’ first round pick (8th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft to notch that first goal.

“It feels really good. It’s exciting,” said Glennie, who scored in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to Milwaukee at Cedar Park Center. “I just threw a puck on net, went and got the rebound. It’s good to get the first one over with.”

And it was a nice goal by Glennie, who gathered up his own rebound and roofed a shot over Milwaukee goaltender Jeremy Smith's shoulder. The only thing that would have made it better is if Texas had won the game, but the Stars fell short and the series is tied 2-2 heading into Friday's Game 5 at Cedar Park Center.

"It would have been nice to score a goal in a winning cause, that’s for sure," said Glennie. "But at the same time it was so nice to score. That’s what I was drafted to do. It was a good feeling.”

It may have taken some time getting that first goal, but that goes with the territory. He joined the Texas Stars when they were still battling for a playoff spot and now they are in a tight playoff series with the Milwaukee Admirals, the top team in the West Division.

“He’s getting his feet wet in the American Hockey League,” said Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “It’s a big jump for a guy to come from juniors into the American League playoffs.”

The 20-year-old Glennie, who joined Texas after his junior career ended earlier this month, is seeing limited minutes while playing on the fourth line, but his teammates say he is making the most of the opportunity although there wasn’t anything to show in the points department until Wednesday night.

“Scoring the way he did in junior, sometimes you can clench your stick a little bit going into pro and not getting your first one right away,” said Texas forward Greg Rallo. “He’s playing a big part. His minutes aren’t what he is used to, but when he is out there he is being effective and he is definitely moving in the right direction.”

Like any player making the jump from junior to pro, there’s the adjustment to playing a faster game against bigger, stronger and better players.

“You’ve got to work harder to get things done,” said Glennie. “It’s been a bit of a change for me so far, but the organization and the guys have been helping me out along the way.”

There’s a case of the nerves in those first games as well.

“There’s not much time for nerves. You have to get over that,” Glennie said. “My linemates and the guys have been helping me out a lot. It’s been good for me.”

And getting that first goal out of the way should help as well.

“Whenever you get a goal it kind of gives you that confidence,” said Gulutzan. “These young guys can be filled with self-doubt, coming in and playing against men now instead of boys. It’s good for them to have success and I think you’ll see good things from him.

“He’s certainly skilled. He can see the ice, he can make plays and he can skate. He just needs time to get accustomed to a new level.”

Glennie joined the Texas Stars after finishing his junior career with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. Glennie got off to a slow start this season in Brandon but finished strong, ending up tied for 8th in league in scoring with 91 points (35 goals, 56 assists) in 72 games.

That slow start left him on the outside looking in when it came to a spot on Canada’s roster for the World Junior Championship. A roster spot he wanted and something that seemed almost a lock heading into the season.

“It was clearly disappointing for myself, but with the team we had I was counted on big time to step in, and when I didn’t get invited (to Canada’s selection camp) that just made it possible for me to be with my team more,” Glennie said. “The first half wasn’t the best and things were really hard to come by, but the second half of the season we found some chemistry, I found my game again and things really worked well.”

The Wheat Kings were a younger and a different team this season. Two of the team’s top players and Glennie’s linemates from the season before were no longer around. Matt Calvert had moved on to the pro ranks permanently, playing both in the AHL and with Columbus Blue Jackets. Brayden Schenn played only two games with the Wheat Kings this season. He spent part of the season with the Los Angeles Kings, had a conditioning stint in the AHL, played with Canada’s World Junior team and then was traded from Brandon to Saskatoon within the WHL. That left Glennie taking on a bigger role not just on the ice, but off it as well.

“I was counted on in dressing room more for leadership and helping out the young guys more and a bigger load offensively during the games,” Glennie said. “It was definitely a good experience for me in my last year of junior before turning pro.”

The Wheat Kings were knocked out in the first round of the WHL Playoffs and Glennie went on to sign an amateur tryout contract with Texas. Now he’s getting more experience, this time at the professional level.

“For our team to get knocked out of the playoffs wasn’t the best thing in the world, but coming here and getting the experience for next year puts me one step ahead,” Glennie said. “I’ve been learning a lot, so it’s been great.”

Series schedule (Series tied 2-2)

Game 1 – Milwaukee 5, Texas 2

Game 2 – Texas 3, Milwaukee 1

Game 3 – Texas 3, Milwaukee 2 (OT)

Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee 3, Texas 2

Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee at Texas, 7:30

Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00

Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Texas at Milwaukee, 7:00*

*If necessary