Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gameday Preview: Stars v. Utica Comets

Texas Stars
2-0-0-0, 4 pts
#3 Western Conference
v.Utica Comets
2-0-1-0, 5 pts
#2 Western Conference
October 18th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The days of the Utica Comets being a Western Conference doormat could be behind them. Thanks to strong goaltending and building off the momentum of last season's final few months, they have started the season well.

Jacob Markstrom, formerly of San Antonio, was assigned to the Comets this season and he's already 2-0 for the club. It's certainly not where he wanted to be. Last year it looked like Vancouver would go with Markstrom and Eddie Lack in net as a young tandem. That changed when the team picked up veteran goalie Ryan Miller in free agency. Now Markstrom plies his trade in upstate New York.

Former Texas Star Dustin Jeffrey is the leading scorer for the visitors. After the Calder Cup win, he followed Coach Desjardins to British Columbia, signing a one-year deal with the Canucks. He was assigned to Utica and has two goals and an assist in three games.

Another player new to the Comets (but very familiar to at least one Texas Star) is Brendan Gaunce. The younger brother of the Stars' Cameron Gaunce was a first round pick of the Canucks in 2012. In just three games of action with Utica, he has a goal and two assists. Gaunce also leads the team in plus-minus.

Another rookie to watch for is Hunter Shinkaruk. The Alberta native was Vancouver's 2013 first round draft pick. He already has two assist in three games.

The Comets blanked the Rampage last night in San Antonio, surely a nice win for Markstrom, who was last seen in the AHL at the AT&T Center. That means it's likely the Stars will see Joacim Eriksson in net. Eriksson has one game played on the season, a 3-2 OT loss to Toronto. Last season he was 24-24-2 for Utica

Stars injury/call up report:
McKenzie (callup)

Website: uticacomets.com
Blog (official): Comet Tales
Newspaper: Utica Observer-Dispatch
Twitter: @UticaComets

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