Friday, October 18, 2013

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
1-1-1-0, 3 pts
#12 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
2-2-0-0, 4 pts
#6 Western Conference
October 18th at 7:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

As Dan Weiss has pointed out on Twitter, it's the fifth anniversary of the Texas Stars and that means the fifth year of the Rampage rivalry.

Interestingly enough, the next two games mirror the setup of the first two games in the series history. The first game was October 2nd, 2009 in San Antonio and was also Texas's first regular season game ever. The Rampage won that one 3-2; Maxime Fortunus and Ivan Vishnevskiy scored the goals. In the return game at Cedar Park on October 3rd, the game went to overtime, as so many have, and Texas won. It was a Greg Rallo power play goal that did the trick. Colton Sceviour picked up his first pro point in the game. That trend has continued as 24 of the 46 games in the series have been decided by one goal.

Texas holds the overall series advantage at 29-11-2-4. Last year was a good one for Texas and a down year for San Antonio. Just a year off their first postseason win in team history, the Rampage put up an abysmal 2-9-0-1 record against Texas and didn't fare much better against the rest of the league.

The future is on its way in the Alamo City though as Vincent Trocheck has been just as good as advertised through four games, picking up a point per game. He picked up a boat load of awards in his final year in junior and now has his sights set on the NHL. Also back are forwards Quinton Howden, Drew Shore and D-man Alex Petrovic. Former Star Greg Rallo earned the captaincy in his third year with the team and has potted three assists so far in the first four games.

In net, Jacob Markstrom is gone. At the beginning of the year, the Panthers looked to be featuring Scott Clemmensen and Markstrom, but an injury to Clemmensen meant Florida picked up one-time Boston Bruin Tim Thomas for the season. Now with Clemmensen healthy, the Panthers are carrying three goalies. Tim Thomas is injured for the moment, so the Panthers are pretty much where they planned to start the year.

In San Antonio, this has meant that the blue chip prospect pipeline is a little dry in net. Dov Grumet-Morris is back and will no doubt put up superb numbers no matter the odds (as he has done the past few years). Michael Houser backs up DGM. Houser spent all of last year in the ECHL with Cincinnati. He was undrafted but had a solid junior career with the London Knights where he was the first American to be named CHL Goalie of the Year in 2011-12. He was also awarded the OHL's MVP trophy that season.

Texas is putting up a very similar crew to the one they had on Tuesday. Curtis McKenzie is out with an injury so lines look to stay in tact. If Nilstorp goes tonight in San Antonio, it's possible Josh Robinson could get his first AHL start in net on Saturday at home.

Stars injury/call up report:
Campbell (call up)
McKenzie (injured)

Website: sarampage.com
Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)

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