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)
Blog (official): IceCaps News
Beat reporter (print): St. John's Telegram
Beat reporter (web): @CharlesMDart