Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Oklahoma City Barons

Texas Stars
41-27-4-6, 92 pts
#3 West Division
v.Oklahoma City Barons
39-28-2-9, 89 pts
#5 West Division
April 9th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars return home victorious in their playoff hunt. Texas will be returning to the playoffs thanks to their win last night in Milwaukee. Their reward is a home matchup against a team that is desperate and hungry to make it in themselves, the OKC Barons.

The Barons sit at 89 points, on the edge of qualifying for the playoffs in their first year in the league. By my math, the Barons need to collect at least one point and see the Heat and Wolves lose tomorrow to clinch a spot. They could also go the easy route like Texas and just win in regulation. In that case, 91 points would put them out of reach of Chicago, San Antonio and Abbotsford.

The Barons come in to the CPC after crushing the Rampage 7-2 in San Antonio. Alexandre Giroux extended his point streak to 10 games with a four assist night (3-12-15 on the streak overall). Colin McDonald, not to be outdone, chipped in four goals in the effort. Jeff Deslauriers made 19 saves on only 21 Rampage shots.

For Texas, it will be interesting to see the adjustments made. If you are locked in a playoff battle, sometimes you play hurt or banged up. Might Texas Stars skaters with nagging injuries get some time to heal with a healthy scratch? That's what the Stars did last year when players like Sawada, Beaudoin and Peters got a few games off to heal up. Texas has players like Embach, Schultz, McCulloch and Monast waiting in the wings if that is the case. Especially with it being a 3-in-3, there is no reason to expose banged up players to that kind of exertion when the playoff spot is already locked.

Texas holds the advantage in the season series at 6-2-0-1, but that means nothing when the playoffs are on the line. Expect a very competitive game from the Barons, but don't expect the Stars to be pushovers.

Stars injury/call up report:
Ludwig (upper body)
Vincour, Segal, Lukowich (callup)

Website: okcbarons.com
Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Oil Field Hockey
Twitter: @OKCBaronsHockey

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