Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gameday Preview: Stars at Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
24-12-3-2, 53 pts
#4 Western Conference
atRockford IceHogs
20-18-1-1, 42 pts
#11 Western Conference
January 21st at 1:05 PM
BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, IL

The Stars find themselves in Rockford, Illinois, for their first day game of the season. With many schools out for MLK Jr Day, the arena should be unusually full of kids getting the day off.

The IceHogs are coming off an 11-6 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins, which garnered national attention for the bench-clearing brawl that occurred in the second period. THe full game sheet is here, and it is not pretty. Puck Daddy even reported on the fracas, which included a goalie fight.

The Stars will look to continue their recent goal scoring ways against the IceHogs. Texas has put up fourteen goals in two games this weekend. That effort raised their average goals per game by two-tenths of a goal, from 2.64 to 2.85.

Speaking of goals, Richard Bachman certainly had to be happy to be assisted by the best offensive effort the Stars have had all year. In his first game action since April 7th, 2012, he allowed four goals on 34 shots. He should get the start again today to make sure that he is ready to head back to Dallas in the coming week. The timing of that switch is currently unknown.

The Stars have gotten nice offensive efforts from skaters sliding in after Eakin, Sceviour and Reilly Smith headed to Dallas. Alex Chiasson has five points in the last two games. Austin Smith collected his first and second AHL goals this weekend and Matt Fraser is on a six game point streak. Patrik Nemeth is even getting into the action with two assists and a plus-5 rating on the weekend.

Texas ranks third in the league on the power play after starting the season near dead last. If the Stars are looking for a place to improve, they know the penalty kill needs work, especially with some of their top killers in Dallas. The numbers on the PK look worse than they are however. Texas has been disciplined this season, giving up the 6th fewest shorthanded opportunities in the league. However, they have allowed quite a few of those to turn into goals. Their ranking (26th) is skewed by how few opportunities they've given up, despite the fact they are midpack on PP goals allowed on the whole.

Stars injury/call up report:
Nilstorp, Benn, Dillon, R. Smith, Eakin, Sceviour (callup)
Wathier, Morin, Glennie (injury)

Website: icehogs.com
Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs

1 comment:

  1. Willie has done a great job with this team. Prior to call-ups this was the best stars team ever, better than the 09-10 team. After call-ups we have a new season but willie has guys steping into the roles of the guys in Dallas very well. Our goaltending remains the biggest concern, Bachman was sub .900 last year and is of to that this year. That wont cut it.

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