Saturday, March 4, 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
25-26-1-2, 53 pts, 0.491
#5 Pacific Division
v.Grand Rapids Griffins
36-16-1-2, 75 pts, 0.682
#1 Central Division
March 4th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Let's be honest. When Griffins fans took a look at this weekend's opponents, they probably chalked it up as another pair of wins for their division-leading squad. Last night's game against San Antonio was a 4-2 victory against the worst team in the conference. Tonight, they take aim at the Texas Stars. While the record may not reflect it, the game tonight could be a challenge for the visitors. The Stars just broke up a six-game losing streak with a shootout win against the best team in the league. Further, they will be making the home debut of their new-look squad, featuring Mark McNeill and Dillon Heatherington. You can expect both to be in the lineup for the game.

The Stars split their early season games against Grand Rapids in Michigan. Tonight's contest will pair with Wednesday's game to complete the season series between the two squads. Texas has traditionally had mixed success against the Griffins. The all-time record is 12-18-4 but the past five years have made up the majority of the losses with a 4-11-3 mark. The Stars did not win a single game against the Griffins last season.

A trio of forwards lead the team in points with Matt Lorito, Ben Street and Martin Frk all checking in above 40 points on the season. Another notable is Robbie Russo, a stout defender who had the best plus-minus in the league last year as a rookie, and this year has found an offensive touch as well (7-24=31).

The Stars will be without Remi Elie and potentially Denis Gurianov as well. Forward lines have been bolstered by the addition of McNeill however, which allowed Texas to release Brendan O'Donnell yesterday.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie (call up)
Gurianov (lower body)

Website: griffinshockey.com
Twitter: @GriffinsHockey
Blog: Griffins Hockey on MLive.com

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