Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
5-5-0-0, 10 pts
#10 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
4-5-0-0, 8 pts
#15 Western Conference
November 6th at 3:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Texas takes to the road today for a short jaunt to face the San Antonio Rampage at the AT&T Center this afternoon. The Rampage, who are currently in last place in the conference, are coming off a strong 6-1 win against the Toronto Marlies last night at home. The win was the first of current 6 game home stretch dating back four games to October 21st. With a long layoff between games, the Rampage went "back to camp", calling up several players from the ECHL and CHL levels and running a more training camp style practice schedule to make guys fight for position. It worked.

However, it also can't be overstated that the Rampage got some help in net from an NHL quality netminder last night. Scott Clemmensen, who is currently on a conditioning assignment from Florida, has played in Florida and New Jersey in the NHL. I would estimate that he is unlikely to start the second game of the back-to-back, but it's not entirely impossible. The early start time is what would make me question that. Current "backup" Brian Foster, who has played 7 games this season, is 3-3-0 with a 3.24 GAA and .892 SV%.

The Rampage's offensive outburst has to be seen as a positive sign of life for the team. The team was outscored 13-4 in their last four game, all at home, before last night's 6-1 win. Right winger Michael Repik leads the team with 2-6-8. Bracken Kearns (4-2-6) and Colby Robak (2-3-5) follow him. Former Star Greg Rallo has struggled in the early season with only two goals and one assist in 9 games. However, the center has a plus-5 rating, so things can't be all bad for his play.

Texas had a bit of a curious thing happen on Thursday. The Stars won a reasonably high-scoring game and got no contribution from their power play. For Texas, that's a good thing. It shows that this team is developing multiple dimensions and can score many different ways. Despite early power play goals against, Texas locked down their penalty killing to great effect in the second period, stopping a 93 second long 5-on-3. These little moments and single games start to add together to a greater whole. The team can build on their success on Thursday by continuing to improve that penalty kill against the #25 ranked San An PP.

Another game-within-the-game storyline is the Texas PP against the Rampage PK. Texas is ranked #1 overall in the league with a 34.0% conversion rate. San Antonio has the worst PK in the league at 70.2%. To say that the Rampage need to stay out of the box would be a massive understatement.

In other notes, Tomas Vincour is on a five game scoring streak, going 4-2-6 over that period. Francis Wathier is on a four game streak with 2-2-4, including the game winner in OT last Thursday.

Stars injury/call up report:
Fortunus (unspecified day-to-day)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play for SA)

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