Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Abbotsford Heat

Texas Stars
13-8-2-1, 29 pts
#5 Western Conference
atAbbotsford Heat
14-5-3-3, 34 pts
#1 Western Conference
December 15th at 9:00 PM
Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, Abbotsford, BC

Can Texas turn two points into four against the best team in the West? That will be their aim as they gear up again tonight for a battle against the Abbotsford Heat in British Columbia.

Last night's contest had all the looks of a tight defense battle early with the teams managing four and five shots each in the first period. Texas exploded in the second period with 17 shots thanks to quite a few power plays. Of the Stars six power plays, five were in the middle frame. The Stars only cashed in on one of those, but when the score is tight, not scoring on the power play isn't always completely wasted time. The power play kept the pressure on Danny Taylor in the Heat net and kept the puck off the stick of the Heat skaters. Hence, Abbotsford only managed five shots in the period.

Abbotsford also got six cracks at the man-advantage including a 5-on-3 late that was turned into a 6-on-3 when Danny Taylor was pulled for the extra attacker. In what was likely some of the best defensive hockey the Stars have played since the inaugural season, Texas and their goalie, Cristopher Nilstorp, kept the score at 3-1 to extend a five game point streak. Texas is now 7-1-2-0 in their last ten, the most points of any Western Conference team over their last ten games.

Texas is in a good spot scoring wise. While, yes, there is no Star above #61 in league scoring (Cody Eakin with 17 points), Texas is getting it done with both top-six talent and bottom-six talent. Last night's game was a great example. Texas got goals from highly touted Reilly Smith and Cody Eakin but also one from newly-extended PTO Taylor Vause. That's a good combination. Also, if Smith continues his current torrid scoring pace (nine points in last nine games), he could slip in close to the team lead for points soon enough.

Stars injury/call up report:
Glennie (hand)

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

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