Friday, April 2, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
44-24-3-4, 95 pts
#2 West Division
v.San Antonio Rampage
33-30-4-7, 77 pts
#6 West Division
April 2nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Home, sweet home again for your Texas Stars, and boy, it must feel good. Texas completed their seven game road trip with 6 wins and comes home with the first playoff berth in franchise history in hand. San Antonio is on the other side of the playoff bubble it seems, and while the team hasn't been completely eliminated yet, things are not looking good for the Rampage. Since Texas and San Antonio last tangled two weeks ago, the Rampage have gone 2-2-1-1 and have pretty much played themselves out of playoff contention. Their "tragic number" sits at 6 with the next three games on the schedule against Texas and Chicago.

As we know, Texas plays San Antonio an epic number of times and this is the second to last meeting between the two. Texas holds a 6-4 advantage over the Rampage on the season and has already clinched first place in the first ever Lone Star Faceoff.

Brett MacLean (30-33-63) and Kyle Turris (20-36-56) lead the point scoring for the San Antonio Rampage. Also, Alexandre Picard has come on strong since being traded from Syracuse with 14 points in just 12 games. Our good friend Francis Lessard will of course be in the building tonight. He leads his team and the conference with 270 PIMs. You can compare that to 140 PIMs for Texas's leading pugilist, Luke Gazdic.

In the net for San Antonio, we have Josh Tordjman and Miika Wiikman. Wiikman has yet to play in a game for San Antonio against Texas but is 2-5-1 on the year with both the Wolf Pack and Rampage. Josh Tordjman is 17-19-2 and has taken the majority of starts since the departure of Justin Pogge to Albany.

In net for Texas, we have Brent Krahn and Richard Bachman with Matt Climie's callup to Dallas. My personal guess is that we will see each of them once this weekend. Bachman is coming off just being named to the ECHL's Second All-Star team. He is 3-3-0 in Texas with an impressive 2.07 GAA and .927 SV%. Brent Krahn was a monster on the road trip and in the month of March, going 6-1 overall in the month with 2.34 GAA and .926 SV%. It's hard to believe, but these number actually brought down his overall stats to 1.74 GAA and .947 SV%. Why isn't he in Dallas this weekend again?

Aaron Gagnon is also hitting his stride for Texas. He had 7 points on the 7 game road trip and 16 points overall in the month of March. His natural hat trick in the Peoria game was the first in Texas Stars history. He currently leads all scorers in points and goals with 26-29-55.

Texas still has a shot at first in the division, an outside shot. More importantly, with two wins over the last 6 games Texas will seal their spot as the #2 team in the division and guarantee at least 1st round home ice advantage.

Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (ribs), McCulloch (upper body), Rallo (foot)
Benn (call-up)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Twitter: @SARampage

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