Friday, March 9, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
26-28-2-2, 56 pts
#15 Western Conference
v.San Antonio Rampage
32-23-2-1, 67 pts
#6 Western Conference
March 9th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Texas Stars welcome frequent visitors in the San Antonio Rampage to the Cedar Park Center tonight for the second game of their seven game home stand. Among all teams they play at home, San Antonio is one Texas has to love seeing on the schedule. While there is no love lost between the two, the Rampage have emerged with two points only three times in the three years the two have been playing in Cedar Park (3-5-6-1).

Last visit, the Rampage arrived just an hour before puck drop thanks to traffic on I-35 and never really recovered as a club, falling in both games. Those games could have kicked off a rejuvenation for the Stars, but they dropped three of their next four instead.

The big story last time around was the dominating play of Dov Grumet-Morris. DGM earned his way onto the Clear Day roster but is now splitting starts with Jacob Markstrom, the Panthers' 'goalie of the future'. Markstrom is on a three game win streak, with his last loss coming at Texas on February 18th. (Update: Markstrom starts tonight; DGM tomorrow)

Despite San Antonio being the playoff club, Texas has superior special teams play on both sides of the ledger. The Stars overall power play clocks in at 21.3% to SA's 14.9% and penalty kill at 82% to SA's 80%. "We have to stay out of the box. Their power play's deadly," head coach Chuck Weber told mySA.com.

At this point, Coach Pyle has said that many players are now just playing out the season for contracts and records. I think there should be more to it than that. Many in this group will be back next year, and they have a chance here to build for the future as a team. Wins now, while futile in the standings, can forge this group together further. When new talent comes in over the summer, Texas can build off their momentum they are gaining now to start the new season off right.

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