Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
37-22-13-1, 88 pts
#5 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
45-21-6-1, 97 pts
#2 Western Conference
April 14th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

UPDATE (11:15a): WHL F Cole Ully has been officially assigned to Texas by Dallas. He is not expected to play. Patrik Nemeth was on the ice for Texas in morning skate and is expected to play.

Texas begins a playoff-like mini-series against the Rampage tonight to close out the 2014-15 regular season. Texas and San Antonio both enter the game with a playoff berth secured. In fact, this weekend's games gave San Antonio their first division title in franchise history. Texas held the division title for the past two seasons.

Several months ago, this could have been a battle for that division title, but the recent strong play of the Rampage but the crown out of reach for the Stars. Further strong play from Rockford, Grand Rapids and Utica has given Texas a guaranteed lower seed in the first round. For the Rampage, there is still a chance to secure the top seed, so they'll be playing hard. Their max points, 103, is just one ahead of Utica's predicted finish. Any misstep against the Stars will mean they cannot achieve that mark.

San Antonio is coming off a two-game set that could be a late round playoffs preview. They split weekend games against Grand Rapids, winning 2-0 and losing 2-1 in overtime.

Devin Shore has never played against the Rampage, an oddity among Texas Stars. When asked what he would tell Shore about who the Rampage are and how they play, a veteran of the I35 rivalry, Curtis McKenzie, said, "Keep your head up early because they like to bring the physical play especially early. They play high tempo, so you have to match that or you'll find yourself behind."

Texas will have a chance to rest a veteran tonight, or perhaps scratch an undermotivated player, with the possible return of Patrik Nemeth to the lineup. The Swedish defender was assigned to Texas on Sunday but was still in Dallas on Monday doing locker cleanout and final interviews with Dallas.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa, Meech (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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