Monday, March 19, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Abbotsford Heat

Texas Stars
27-32-2-2, 58 pts
#15 Western Conference
atAbbotsford Heat
33-25-3-4, 73 pts
#6 Western Conference
March 19th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

In the only game on the AHL schedule tonight, the Texas Stars close out their season series with the Abbotsford Heat this evening in Cedar Park. The Heat are not flying quite as high as they were earlier in the season in the standings, but they are setup for a playoff run in the six spot.

Despite their playoff positioning, the Heat are on a downward trend. They have lost six of their last eight games, starting with their 4-1 loss to Texas in Abbotsford on March 4th. Texas, however, is on a four game losing streak, all at home. According to my playoff predictions sheet, while the Stars have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, they were realistically eliminated with Saturday's loss to the Barons. What is Texas playing for now?

It takes a lot to get yourself up for a game after the playoffs are no longer a possibility. The Stars are playing for pride at this point. They should be playing to have something to build on for next year. They should be giddy about a chance to play spoiler for teams like San Antonio, Lake Erie, Peoria and tonight's opponent, Abbotsford.

Texas is 2-4-0-1 against Abbotsford this season, their only home win coming on January 11th in the final seconds of the game. Jon Rheault and Krys Kolanos lead the way for the Heat against Texas with 3-4-7 and 2-4-6, respectively. Texas forwards Sceviour and Schultz (out of the lineup) lead in goals against Abbotsford with three each. Travis Morin has five helpers against the Heat. Also notable, Angelo Esposito has 1-2-3 in just two games against Abby this season.

In net, Danny Taylor has yet to lose to the Stars this year with a 3-0 record. Among in residence goalies, Leland Irving is the only one with a loss against Texas on his record.

In transaction news, Texas sent Nick Layton back to Allen yesterday. This likely means that Mathieu Tousignant is ready to go again. Additionally, Texas will be getting more bodies this week with ATOs on the way.

Stars injury/call up report:
Vincour, Benn (callup)
Schultz, Fortunus, Tousignant (injury)

Website: abbotsfordheat.com
Blog (unofficial): BC Local News: Abby News
Newspaper: Abbotsford Times
Twitter: @abbotsfordheat
Twitter (play-by-play): @RyanPinder

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