Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars at Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
22-12-2-2, 48 pts
#5 West Division
atPeoria Rivermen
25-12-2-1, 53 pts
#1 West Division
January 15th at 7:05 PM
Carver Arena, Peoria, IL

Ah, the Peoria Rivermen. Remember these guys? Texas hasn't faced the Rivermen since October. In a weird twist of AHL scheduling fate, the Stars played Peoria three times in October, all in Texas, and will now close out the season with three more games against Peoria in January, February and April.

The Rivermen have been racking up wins ever since the start of the season. When Texas last played Peoria, they were 7-3-0-0. This means they are 18-9-2-1 since. That's a pretty good clip but clearly the hot start helped.

Also helping has been the Rivermen's play in net. Rookie goaltender Jake Allen, who shut out the Stars earlier this year, has been on a tear. The first year netminder was recently named as a starter on the AHL All-Star team after collecting a 15-4-0 record with a 2.04 GAA and .937 SV%. Ben Bishop is no slouch either. The 6 foot 7 inch tender is 10-10-1 with a 2.51 GAA and .914 SV%. The stingy pair has averaged 2.41 GA/game, top 3 in the league.

On offense, the Rivermen are led by some talented veterans. T.J. Hensick and Graham Mink lead the squad with 33 and 29 points, respectively. Hensick is averaging 1.18 points per game, and Mink is over 100 PIMs in addition to his points. They are two players to certainly watch out for.

It will be difficult for the Stars to get out of any offensive slumps against this team, especially if Allen starts. Texas fans will have to hope that the lack of goal scoring in the Rockford game does not follow them to Peoria.

Stars injury/call up report:
Blindenbacher (upper body)
McCulloch, Krahn (lower body)

Website: rivermen.net
Blog (unofficial): Cleve's World
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen

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