Friday, January 8, 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
17-14-3-3, 40 pts
#4 Pacific Division
v.Chicago Wolves
16-13-1-2, 35 pts
#6 Central Division
January 8th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

After going on a three game winning streak, Texas has lost their last three. Two of those have yielded points, going past regulation with Ontario and Stockton. Now they return home with a shot at the Wolves before hitting the road again.

The Wolves come in streaking as well. They lost three, won three, lost three more and now are on a two game winning streak. Tonight's game will be a chance at three.

Don't let the Wolves 6th place standing deceive you. The Central Division is very deep this year. Aside from Manitoba and Iowa, every team has a shot at the playoffs. The way things are going the sixth place team might miss the playoffs but still have a better record than the third place team in the Pacific. At this point it seems nearly a foregone conclusion that the fifth place Central team will crossover.

So these are very important points, even though they are non-divisional. Chicago is essentially competing with Texas and the rest of the Pacific for a chance at the last playoff spot in the crossover division.

The Wolves have split their goaltending duties in back-to-backs in all but one occasion this season, so expect to see Jordan Binnington one night and Pheonix Copley the other (Yes, Pheonix, not Phoenix). They have nearly identical stats on the year, both within hundredths of the 2.55 GAA and .911 SV% range. The Stars might have the option to bring out Maxime Lagace in one of these games depending on how his recovery is coming along. Otherwise, expect Muse and perhaps Desrosiers depending on how the first game goes.

Greg Rallo is leading the scoring in the series so far for Texas with three goals. Ty Rattie and Pat Cannone are tied on the Chicago side with three points each.

These two games will close the season series between the two teams and are the Wolves only visit to Cedar Park this year. Texas has won one and lost in a shootout coming into the weekend.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (callup)
Troock, Shore, Johns, Lagace (injury)

Website: chicagowolves.com
Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

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