Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gameday Preview: Stars at St. John's IceCaps, Game 3

Texas Stars
48-18-3-7, 106 pts
#1 Western Conference
v.St. John's IceCaps
46-23-2-5, 99 pts
#4 Eastern Conference
Series tied 1-1

June 11th at 5:00 PM
Mile One Centre, St. John's, NL

It's just hockey.

That was the mantra from the Texas Stars anytime they were asked about playing in St. John's. Any arena, any night, it's just 200x85 of frozen water with the same rules as any other state or province in the AHL.

6,287 full-throated fans might tend to disagree.

The IceCaps have sold out Mile One Centre every game in their franchise history, a streak of 130 games. Tonight figures to be 131. They might even pop over 6,287 depending on whether they will allow standing room only seats. The Stars set a capacity record in 2010 by selling standing room only seats for all three games at the CPC. Game 5's attendance of 7,054 still stands as a building record.

The main question of the night seems to be whether Texas can weather the new environs and power through to a win to regain their home ice advantage. If the Stars repeat what they did two nights ago in Cedar Park, hurling 50 shots on Michael Hutchinson, they are likely to get a better result. It would be a gargantuan performance from the Barrie, Ontario, native to stop enough of 50 shots to get a win again in Game 3.

The Stars have been in this situation once already in the postseason. In the Western Conference Finals, Toronto took Game 1 and Texas took Game 2. The Stars took games 3 and 5 in Toronto and came home to win in seven. In Grand Rapids, Texas dropped Game 3 and 4 and had to eek out an OT win in Game 5 to come home and clinch in six.

Big keys for Texas include the obvious of scoring first. Taking the crowd out of the equation is something that can't be overlooked, and scoring first will do that.

Referee crew from the first two games also traveled with the teams to St. John's. Based on games 1 and 2, expect a low penalty minute affair.

Stars injury/call up report:
Klingberg, Campbell, Petersen (injury)

Website: stjohnsicecaps.com
Blog (official): IceCaps News
Beat reporter (print): St. John's Telegram
Beat reporter (web): @CharlesMDart
Twitter: @IceCapsAHL

3 comments:

  1. From what we have seen so far I worry less about St. John's then I did Toronto. I don't think either can match "Hockey Skills" with Texas but have to depend on variables that can fall either way to win. Like Toronto the Ice Cap's will live and die with goal tending. Hutch had a great game in game 2 (as did McIntyre in game 1 in the Toronto series.) I still have the same concerns with Nilstorp giving up an early easy goal, like Toronto, the Ice Cap's can far better game manage playing from ahead than even or behind and that early goal can totally dictate style of play. I really wasn't to worried with Texas losing game two, although winning the series quick and clean would be great a part of me wants them to win it here in game 6. A win tonight would put them "on schedule" for that I would think.

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  2. 50 shots again really? UGHHH I was sitting in Section 111 and I counted 72 shots. What the heck is going on? And Owen sounded happy with 50 shots.

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  3. You can praise Hutchinson for a stellar game 2, stopping 49 shots. But the Stars put up 50 shots in a losing effort. No goalie can withstand that, as MacIntyre proved. The Stars have only lost once after losing a game in these playoffs, and even in that loss, they played a strong game. And if a sellout crowd in St. Johns is such the overwhelming factor, why hasn't the team done better on home ice than their record indicates?

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