Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Diego Gulls

Texas Stars
10-7-0-1, 21 pts
#4 Pacific Division
atSan Diego Gulls
9-6-0-1, 19 pts
#3 Pacific Division
November 25th at 9:05 PM
Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA

The Stars will slip down the California coastline for a pre-Thanksgiving contest against the San Diego Gulls. These division-mates have never locked horns before and will play a total of six contests this season.

San Diego is the affiliate for the Anaheim Ducks. While this is the first time Texas has played San Diego, it is not the first time they've seen a Ducks affiliate. in 2011, the Stars played the Syracuse Crunch in a home-and-home during their short stint as the Ducks' AHL club. Ray Emery, now with Ontario, won the only kids day game at the Cedar Park Center when they visited that season.

The Gulls are also familiar in a few other ways. Their coaching staff is led by Dallas Eakins. The former Marlies coach, who was hired and fired by the Edmonton Oilers, has found respite in the AHL once again. Eakins has said that he's been very impressed with the fan support for the team, having only coached in Edmonton and Toronto, two hockey hotbeds.

Two of the top scorers for the team are Chris Mueller and Nick Ritchie. Both are called up to Anaheim at the moment though. Mueller, who spent last season in Hartford, signed a nice deal with the Ducks to be a hired gun for the AHL side and contribute where needed in the NHL. It's a very similar task to what he was expected to do for Dallas. He fills the role well, having taken Texas to a Cup and Hartford to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Nick Ritchie is Brett Ritchie's younger brother. A top draft pick in 2014, he won't be playing against his brother quite yet. Brett Ritchie is still out with an injury and isn't even on the trip with the team. He spent last night in Dallas watching the Ottawa game. Texas fans can circle December 31st as the first potential matchup between the brothers.

Another big relief for Texas is not facing goalie John Gibson, who is in Anaheim as well.

The Stars look to continue their winning ways against a team that is above them in the standings. I would call this a four point game, but the points don't matter. However, if the Stars win, they will move past San Diego on points percentage.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie (upper body)
Hulak (upper body)

Gulls Web Resources:
Website: sandiegogulls.com
Twitter: @SDGullsAHL
Twitter: @619sports (PBP)
Twitter: @danarelAHL

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