Friday, February 17, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
21-25-2-2, 46 pts
#15 Western Conference
v.San Antonio Rampage
27-21-2-1, 56 pts
#7 Western Conference
February 17th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Texas is back in action at home tonight for the start of a two game set against teh surging San Antonio Rampage. Once mired at the bottom of the conference, the Rampage have rocketed to playoff contention, going 7-3-0-0 in their last ten and 12-6-0 since January 1st, including a seven game win streak.

Their rise has been accompanied by the play of some key additions. In net, San Antonio added Dov Grumet-Morris to patch the hole left by an injury to Jacob Markstrom. "DGM" has been the goalie of record in every game of 2012 for the Rampage and is 16-8-2 overall on the season with 2.24 GAA and .923 SV%. Markstrom, now healthy, could see action in one of this weekend's games. With Markstrom being a Florida contract and needing to get ice time to be ready for a callup at a moment's notice, I would expect him in at least one of these two.

Another huge acquisition for the Rampage was Jon Matsumoto. Matsumoto came over from the Charlotte Checkers in a trade between the parent clubs and has racked up the points ever since for the Rampage. In just eleven games, Matsumoto has four goals and nine assists for thirteen points. That is an impact player.

Other impact forwards include the always reliable Brakcen Kearns (14-23-37), Mark Cullen (7-25-32) and vet Bill Thomas (16-12-28). Former Star Greg Rallo picked up his scoring pace over the back half of the season and is now 11-12-23, with 12 of those points coming in 2012.

On Texas's side, they need to follow San Antonio's example. A 12-6 record is about what Texas needs through the rest of the year to make it into the playoffs. However, it does not look like Texas will be getting any help courtesy of Dallas at the current moment. If anything, they are hurting due to the callup today of Ryan Garbutt. Texas could receive prospects in trades if Dallas becomes a seller at the deadline, but at that point it would probably be too late for that to matter much.

In the season series, Texas is 2-4-0-1 but still holds an overall all-time advantage of 16-10-0-3. In team history, Texas has only lost to San Antonio three times at home in thirteen visits.

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

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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