Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Stockton Heat

Texas Stars
24-22-1-2, 51 pts, 0.520
#5 Pacific Division
atStockton Heat
19-21-4-1, 43 pts, 0.478
#7 Pacific Division
February 22nd at 9:00 PM
Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA

If the San Jose Barracuda are the hottest team in the league, it's not hard to pick the coldest. The Stockton Heat haven't won a game since January 20th, over a month. In calendar year 2017, they have just 3 wins, going 3-12-1 since the new year began. Their win against Milwaukee set them at 18-9-3-1 on January 7th, and they've been in a spiral since.

Things that aren't clicking for the Heat are numerous. The power play has just a single goal on their last 53 opportunities (3.8%). They've been shutout four times since January 7th, so overall scoring is an issue as well. Their only win since then was a six goal outburst. Jon Gillies is getting a hard ride as he's done what he can (2 GA in four games in the streak). Backup David Rittich has a 2 GA game as well. Usually that's enough to win, so the scoring needs to step up for Stockton to win.

Texas will hope to get some of their injured players back. Julius Honka and Denis Gurianov are both impactful first round picks. Luckily, Andrew Bodnarchuk will return to the lineup tonight, rejoining the team after taking Monday's game off to be with his wife and newborn daughter.

Another question for Texas is whether Maxime Lagace gets a start. This might be the right game for it. Justin Peters might be showing some weariness with two straight losses and having started every game since the trade.

Stars injury/call up report:
Gurianov (lower body injury, day-to-day)
Honka (head, day-to-day)
Mangene (suspension)

Website: stocktonheat.com
Twitter: @ahlheat

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