Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
6-7-1-1, 14 pts
#14 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
4-9-0-3, 11 pts
#15 Western Conference
November 25th at 3:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

After some major home cooking to start the season (eleven of fifteen at home), Texas strikes out on a six game road trip starting today in San Antonio. The trip will likely see them fly into Chicago tomorrow before traipsing about the Midwest until December 7th, when they return to the Cedar Park Center to face the Houston Aeros.

San Antonio is winless since November 4th, a stretch of seven games. The Rampage have gotten shootout losses, and therefore single points, over top teams in the Checkers and Heat during that streak. The game today ends a five-game homestand and three-in-three weekend for San Antonio.

It's been a mix of things keeping the Rampage out of the win column this month. Offense has been good at times but only when the other teams offense also comes to play (see a 7-5 loss to Houston). Defense has played well at times too but then the offense doesn't show up (see a 2-1 loss to Houston, for example).

For San Antonio, currently mired in last place in the conference, it's going to sound very cliche, but the best players have to be the best players. Similar to the Stars, the Rampage have very few standout scorers on the season; only two are in double digits on points. Players expected to contribute heavily aren't making an impact on the scoresheet. Greg Rallo has 3-3-6 in 16 GP. Casey Wellman is at 2-6-8 in 13 and Colby Robak at 2-4-6 in 16 GP.

Of course, that argument can just as easily be turned around on the Texas Stars. Cody Eakin is the only Star in double digits at the moment. Players expected to pour on points this season, like Alex Chiasson, Reilly Smith and even Austin Smith, just aren't quite yet producing at the expected pace.

It feels like there's still time, but not many teams climb from #14 in December to the playoff ranks. While it could be argued that the Stars had a tough slate over the past few games, they also got all three teams at home. Texas knew that they had to perform better on their home ice to have a launching pad for this road trip. They would have liked to get the win over Abbotsford, obviously.

San Antonio will be playing their third in three nights and Texas will have a day of rest. The Rampage played Jacob Markstrom the past two nights, so the Stars are likely to see Dov Grumet-Morris yet again. Texas will no doubt go with Nilstorp in net.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sloan (injury, unspecified)

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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