Friday, February 10, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Rochester Americans

Texas Stars
21-22-2-2, 46 pts
#13 Western Conference
atRochester Americans
21-18-6-3, 51 pts
#9 Western Conference
February 10th at 6:35 PM
Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY

This evening the Stars pay a visit to the Rochester Americans' home arena for the first time in team history. Thanks to conference realignment, all teams now play every other in their conference. Tonight's game marks the second matchup all-time for the two teams and the final one for the regular season. The Stars won the previous tilt by a score of 6-2 after spotting the Amerks a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Since that matchup, Rochester has inched their way toward playoff contention. Now in 9th place, technically, but tied with eighth in points, the Amerks are right where Texas would like to be now. Beat writer Kevin Oklobzija points out, however, that he is not sure how well this team would fair in the playoffs if they do make it due to their inconsistency. Texas struggles with the same issue with a lot of youth on the roster. From the Democrat and Chronicle:
There really has been too much of this schizophrenia. Too many times where they have started poorly. Or were caught napping in the second period.

While the Amerks have had the admirable trait of never quitting and always finding a way to battle, there have been too many nights when they got stuck in the starting gate.
He continues, expanding on why the inconsistency might be there:
Why is pretty easy to understand: Youth. The biggest downfall or most common demerit for a rookie or young player is the inability to play the same game night after night for weeks. Inconsistency is why some players never make it to the NHL. It’s why some players bounce back and forth between the AHL and NHL.
According to @LetsGoAmerks, Drew MacIntyre will get the start in net tonight for Rochester. Despite being a two-time AHL All-Star, MacIntyre has sunk in starting rotation behind David Leggio. MacIntyre has a 7-11-2 record with 3.01 GAA and .903 SV%.

Skaters to watch out for on the Amerks include the rookie forward tandem of Marcus Foligno (12-17-29) and Phil Varone (7-20-27). Rochester is finally getting healthy as well with the return of Colin Stuart, Corey Tropp and Michael Ryan to the lineup.

The Stars hope to continue their dominance in the North Division (3-0-0-0) and earn two more points toward a playoff berth. After Thursday's game action, Texas needs thirty-seven points in twenty-nine remaining games (at least 18-10-1) to keep pace with eighth.

Stars injury/call up report:
Larsen, Vincour (callup)
Sawada, Labrie (injury)

Website: amerks.com
Americans Social Media: Social Media
Blog (beat): Democrat and Chronicle
Blog (amateur): Let's Go Amerks
Twitter: @AmerksHockey
Twitter (beat): @kevinoDandC
Twitter (amateur): @LetsGoAmerks

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