Friday, November 11, 2016

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. San Jose Barracuda

Texas Stars
6-4-1-0, 13 pts, 0.591
#3 Pacific Division
v.San Jose Barracuda
3-2-0-1, 7 pts, 0.583
#4 Pacific Division
November 11th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

After picking up four of six points on their road trip, Texas returns home after a long layoff to play the San Jose Barracuda. It is the first matchup of the year between these two clubs. Last season, the teams split the series at 3-3 with each winning twice on its home ice and once on the road.

San Jose is just behind the Stars in the standings but that may be deceiving. The Barracuda, being part of the California teams, has only played six games so far and is just one game above .500. Their resume is a confusing mish-mash of results right now as they lost a tight one to top-tier Stockton but also to San Antonio while shutting out Bakersfield. The tale of the tape is hard to read when there isn't that much tape.

New faces lead in net for the Barracuda since last season with Troy Grosenick and Mantas Armalis manning the net. Last year's workhorse, former Allen American Aaron Dell earned his spot as the NHL backup for the Sharks. Grosenick was Dell's back in the AHL last year and is splitting duty with Armalis. Armalis is a 24-year old undrafted Lithuanian goalie that played his last two season in the SHL. They are both sporting league-average save percentages at the moment, perhaps leading to the even split.

The skaters for San Jose include familiar names like Nikolay Goldobin (2-8=10 in 6 GP) and Barclay Goodrow (2-0=2 in 6 GP). However, rookie also lead the way. Among top active scorers for the Barracuda, Daniel O'Regan (4-1=5) and Rourke Chartier (3-2=5) are both first-year AHLers. Both were fifth-round picks of the Sharks with O'Regan drafted out of the US development program and Chartier in the WHL. If they can keep up their scoring ways, those late-round picks will absolutely prove some intelligent scouting by the organization.

The tape for Texasis a little longer with 11 games under their belt. The road trip was a mixed bag with two good wins but a tough loss on Saturday. The trip did little to dispel any concern about who is the starter for the Stars in net. Maxime Lagace is carrying a 3.79 GAA and a 4-3-1 record. Desrosiers has a GAA about a goal lower at 2.73 but nearly the same save percentage. It seemed after the last home game that Desrosiers had distinguished himself, but now it's an open question. Watch what happens this weekend, as each one will likely get a start.

Jason Dickinson will make his home debut as well. Considering that Justin Dowling is now in Dallas, Texas needs that to shore up their center depth.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dowling, Smith (call up)
Ranford (out, unspecified)

Barracuda Web Resources:
Website: sjbarracuda.com
Twitter: @SJbarracuda
Twitter: @3eyeraven (local coverage)

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