Friday, October 21, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
1-3-0-0, 2 pts
#14 Western Conference
v.Peoria Rivermen
1-3-0-1, 3 pts
#13 Western Conference
October 22nd at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars take the ice this evening against a similarly challenged Peoria Rivermen in the early season. The Rivermen, who have always been a good rivalry for the Stars over the past two years, come into the CPC this evening having only just secured their first win last night over the San Antonio Rampage. The Stars and Rivs have identical records with the exception of an additional shootout loss for Peoria.

It might be an understatement to say this is a big game. If Texas wins tonight, it avoids tying the franchise record for losses and sets itself up to be on the upswing as they head out on the road for four games that will take them into the month of November.

The Rivermen come to town featuring a strong power play (#8 at 25%) and a stifling penalty kill (#4 at 90.3%). While Texas's power play is better (#5 at 29.2%), the penalty kill is one of the worst in the league (#25 at 75%).

Brett Sterling and TJ Hensick lead the Rivermen on offense and some familiar faces return in net. Jake Allen and Ben Bishop are the goaltending duo for Peoria once again this season. Allen is 0-1-1 with a 2.89 GAA and .905SV%. Bishop has the Rivs' only win at 1-2-0, a 2.35 GAA and .925SV%. JOnathan Cheechoo is also a player to kep your eye on, once a winner of the NHL's Rocket Richard Trophy.

Texas's defense leads the way on offense so far this season, which may not be a positive sign. Dan Spang (1-4-5) and Brenden Dillon (1-3-4) lead the team in points. Travis Morin is tied with Dillon at four. Every player on the Stars roster except one, Stephen Schultz, is even or minus in the plus/minus column.

The Stars know that this is a big game, and not just because of the uniforms they will be wearing. Brenden Dillon tweeted out earlier this morning, "Big game tonight for the boys! Pink in the Rink at home no better time to get back in the Win column!" Indeed.

Stars injury/call up report:
None.

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

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