Friday, November 22, 2013

Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
9-6-2-1, 21 pts
#4 Western Conference
v.San Antonio Rampage
8-8-0-1, 17 pts
#11 Western Conference
November 21st at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: Josh Robinson recalled from Idaho Steelheads. Cristopher Nilstorp is out tonight, having 'tweaked' something in practice yesterday.

For two teams that are playing each other a total of twelve times this season, it has been an uncharacteristically long time since the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage faced off. Their only two games on the season so far were back-to-back in mid-October. Both contests were won by Texas by a combined score of 9-1.

As many in San Antonio lament, those two games were pretty typical of the overall series between these two teams over the past five years. San Antonio writer Nathan Mallett refers to the Cedar Park Center as a house of horrors for the Rampage. It's an apt description. San Antonio is 5-11-7-1 at CPC over the past five years. That's 19-3-0-2 for Texas. The Stars have failed to get at least a point just five times in five years at home against the Rampage.

All that being said, San Antonio has some momentum coming into tonight's game. They are 6-3-0-1 coming in and most recently had a blowout win against the Barons in their yearly kids' game with a 6-1 score.

Vincent Trocheck continues to be a bright spot for the Rampage; he's got nine goals and nine assists on the season. He is the top rookie and the top scorer overall on the team. Former Star and now Rampage captain Greg Rallo isn't far behind with 4-8-12.

For San Antonio, goaltending seems to be a carousel this year. Dov Grumet-Morris has been the one constant among the rotation of Scott Clemmensen, Jacob Markstrom and Michael Houser. DGM has had decent individual numbers, better than last year in fact (2.69 GAA, .913 SV%). However, he's 1-5-1 on the season. Michael Houser has actually had better numbers this season than DGM (2.17 GAA, .917 SV%, 4-1-0). However, the rookie Houser is in Cincinnati. Markstrom is the other netminder in San Antonio and has the best numbers, 2.02 GAA and .938 SV%. He will get the start tonight.

You may notice that most of the goalies in San Antonio are in the 2.x GAA range. So what's happening? They should be winning more games. The issue is that they are averaging just .06 more goals per game than they are allowing. Also, some of those goals are coming in the 'wrong' contests. For example, those six goals from Tuesday's game against OKC could have been more useful against Abbotsford, Milwaukee or Rockford in the past two weeks, all close games.

Texas should see Ryan Button enter the lineup. Allen York and Josh Robinson will likely each get a start this weekend.

Stars injury/call up report:
Campbell, Nemeth, Fortunus, Nilstorp (injury)

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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