Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Oklahoma City Barons

Texas Stars
23-25-2-2, 50 pts
#13 Western Conference
atOklahoma City Barons
33-14-2-3, 71 pts
#1 Western Conference
February 22nd at 7:00 PM
Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK

After sweeping the San Antonio Rampage's visit to the Cedar Park Center this weekend, Texas strikes out on the road to take on the top team in the conference in the OKC Barons. The Barons have pretty much led the conference, if not the league, for the entire season.

Considering the wide difference in points between the two teams, Texas has played OKC tight this season, earning two of five wins against the club. It is always a big measuring stick game when the two meet this season. Tonight's game is the biggest one of the season. Can a newly revitalized Texas club keep pace with the world-beater Barons? If so, what does that say for their chances in the remaining games?

Yann Danis, top goalie for OKC, is currently up with Edmonton, but that is no bother for the Barons as David LeNeveu ranks second in goaltending in the AHL behind Danis. The vets have splits starts pretty evenly this season with 33 for Danis and 21 for LeNeveu. Danis is 21-10-1 with 1.98 GAA and .926 SV%. LeNeveu clocks in at 12-6-2 with a 2.05 GAA and .923 SV%. With both tenders having twice as many wins as losses, they are nearly statistically identical. It's a game of interchangeable parts in net for the Barons.

The Stars need to continue to find (or re-find) their identity. Both goaltenders had big wins on the weekend and the offense was clicking last week with eleven goals in three games after being shutout in Hamilton. Players like Matt Fraser and Travis Morin need to be what they are, goal scorers and point generators. The Swagger line (Sceviour-Wathier-Glennie) needs to contibute in all three zones to be effective. Finally, secondary scoring needs to be there to finish off the effort. Goals from players like Hedden can help in this regard.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sawada, Labrie, Schultz, Spang (injury)
Vincour, Larsen, Garbutt, Fraser (callup)

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

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