Friday, January 27, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
20-18-1-2, 43 pts
#11 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
22-18-2-0, 34 pts
#8 Western Conference
January 27th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Early on in the year, San Antonio and Texas were both in trouble. Both clubs were on a downward slope with no end in sight; matchups between the two were frequently between the #14 and #15 teams in the conference. However, both teams have turned it around recently, and both teams have the same factor to thank for it.

For Texas, we've documented it here before. The play of Andrew Raycroft since his assignment has been stellar. Currently 6-2-1 and basically completely responsible for Texas's current 6-2-1-1 record in the last ten, he is showing his skills at every turn with calm play and timely saves.

On the Rampage side, Dov Grumet-Morris is the recent hero. After spending the beginning of the year in Norway, DGM was signed on a PTO and has since flourished in the Alamo City. In seventeen games, he is 11-5-0, garnering a 1.99 GAA and .931 SV%. Those numbers are good enough for #2 in the league among all goalies. Grumet-Morris has had several prior AHL stops, but his most notable was last year in Connecticut, where he got into twenty-two games for the Whale/Wolf Pack. DGM has played in ten straight games now with backup Andrew Volkening not seeing the ice in his current AHL stint.

Both teams carry streaks into tonight's game. Texas has rattled off a season-high three in a row and San Antonio also has a season high with five, including victories over Rockford, Peoria, Abbotsford, and Houston (2).

Also contributing for Texas, as Austinites know, is the Sceviour-Glennie-Wathier line. Some recent trades have kicked up the Rampage for the better in the offensive zone. Jon Matsumoto came over from the Charlotte Checkers and instantly had an impact with three goals and two assists in just three games. One Rampage player who will not be on the ice is Tim Kennedy, who was traded yesterday to the San Jose organization.

Another big story for Texas is the assignment of Fraser, Vincour and Larsen. Vincour will slip into the lineup, but it's unclear where. The top two lines have been doing very well recently, so it will be interesting to see the lineup tonight. Philip Larsen will probably slip in as Brad Lukowich comes out of the lineup with no other changes. With Larsen available and Lukowich still feeling the effects of a bruised lung in last weekend's final game, it is likely that Larsen will replace Lukowich to give the captain a chance to heal up over an extended period.

Stars injury/call up report:
Bachman (callup)
Sawada, Tousignant (injury)
Lukowich (questionable)

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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