Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
12-8-0-1, 25 pts
#4 Pacific Division
v.Rockford IceHogs
12-5-1-2, 27 pts
#3 Central Division
December 2nd at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

UPDATE: Jack Campbell has been reassigned and will start this evening if he arrives in time. If not, John Muse will go.

The Rockford IceHogs return to the Cedar Park Center for the first time since their Game 2 victory over the Stars last postseason. That game was the second game in their three game sweep of Texas.

Michael Leighton (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Stars have already played Rockford twice this season. Both contests were shellackings. Texas put up a total of 12 goals against the Hogs in two games early in October. Those losses dropped Rockford to 1-3 on the season. Since then, they've gone 10-2-1-2. Much of that has been on the back of their veteran netminder, Michael Leighton. He has collected an 11-3-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 SV%. Mark Visentin and Mac Carruth have each seen game action, but their combined 1-2-2 record is nothing to write home about. If Rockford goes anywhere this season, it's Leighton in net.

After a successful road trip, the Stars will want to continue refining the details in their game. Special teams have been a challenge for Texas so far this season. Usually teams shoot for a combined PP and PK number of 110. The Stars are sitting at 17% PP and 79.1% PK for a total of 96.1%. Rockford is similarly challenged at 97.1 total, but their numbers skew high on PK (85.1%) than PP (12%). When faced with a Texas PK, the Stars have an opportunity to up their numbers against the languishing Rockford PP.

The Hogs are firmly in a playoff spot as we hit December. At .675 points percentage, they are ahead of fourth place Chicago by a decent margin (.588). This is a good test for Texas at this point in the season.

Remi Elie is expected to return tonight. Jason Dickinson missed the Stars' last game in San Jose and could also miss this evening's game with a lower body issue.

Stars injury/call up report:
Campbell (call up)
Elie (upper body, expected)
Hulak (upper body)
Dickinson (lower body)

Website: icehogs.com
Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs

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