Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
17-18-1-2, 37 pts
#14 Western Conference
atChicago Wolves
21-13-1-3, 46 pts
#6 Western Conference
January 18th at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

The Wolves and Stars meet for the third of four this season and the last in Chicago as Texas round out a four game road trip. For Chicago, this is the final game of a six game home stand, on which they have gone 4-1 so far. After going 6-0 against the Wolves last season, Texas is 0-2 against this year's iteration, each game a regulation loss.

Darren Haydar and Mark Mancari lead the Wolves on offense. Each is a point per game player or better on the season. Kevin Connauton leads the power play pack with six PPGs. The Wolves are #11 on the PP at home (19.5%). They are #2 in the league on the home PK at 89%. They are far worse on the road at #22 with 79.3%.

In other random stats, the Wolves have outscored their opponents in both the first and second over the course of the season but are outmatched 25-32 in the third period. This has contributed to an 0-10 record when trailing after two. Of course, leading after two they are a stingy 19-2. Essentially, as is the case in most games in the league, after two periods you might as well pack up, because the team that's up is winning that game. To be exact, 85% of the time in the AHL this season, the team ahead after two walks away with two points. 94% of the time they get at least one. The team down after two loses in regulation 76% of the time and gets a point just 9% of the time.

Goaltending for the Wolves features a familiar pair. Matt Climie is the clubhouse leader with 12-5-0 record, 2.44 GAA and .927 SV%. Second year pro Eddie Lack is behind him at 9-9-3, 2.58 GAA and .917 SV%. These are a drastic improvement over his early season numbers, which showed his struggles coming in. As Lack recovered, the two have been splitting starts pretty equally, each with five starts since the Christmas break.

Texas returns Francis Wathier for tonight's game, sure to be a boon to the offense and defense alike. Coach Pyle will get to reunite the vet winger with rookie Glennie and third year man Sceviour hoping to rekindle some of their scoring touch from earlier in the month.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, Tousignant (upper body)
Larsen, Vincour (callup)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

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