Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Cleveland Monsters

    Texas Stars                     Cleveland Monsters
10-8-0-1, 21 pts, .553      at      7-5-2-2, 18 pts, .563
#4 Pacific Division               #4 Central Division

November 25th at 6:00 PM
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

(Credit: Cleveland Monsters)
The Texas Stars are flourishing after enduring a 5-2 black eye against the San Antonio Rampage to start this seven game road trip. They have won two straight since then and head into Saturday night's game against the Cleveland Monsters with more than a modicum of confidence. In Saturday's matinee against Cleveland, the Stars won decisively due to two key players stepping up and breaking scoring droughts. Justin Dowling netted his second goal of the season against the Monsters, which put the game out of reach. More importantly, Denis Gurianov found the back of the net for the first time in this year's regular season. It had to be a huge weight that was lifted for the young Russian winger, as his team expects him to score. Roope Hintz more than pulled his weight and finished the game with a goal and an assist. Sheldon Dries chipped in with an empty net goal at the end of the game when Cleveland was desperate.

In this second game of a back-to-back we'll likely see Mike McKenna start in the crease for Landon Bow. Bow put together another impressive performance on Saturday, stopping 28 pucks on 29 shots. McKenna has been back with the Texas club for a few days and should be ready to go. The Stars will once again be without Julius Honka who drew into the lineup for the Dallas Stars on Friday night against the Calgary Flames.

Cleveland has to be frustrated that they couldn't finish plays and take advantage of their opportunities in Saturday's game. Although they did go 1 for 5 on the power play thanks to Miles Koules' goal, look for Cleveland head coach John Madden to make adjustments to their 5-on-5 play. Brad Thiessen (.900 SV%) will likely draw the start for the Monsters in net. Cleveland's most dangerous man in terms of scoring remains Carter Camper (10 pts). Though the loss against Texas dropped them to fourth place in the Central division, the Monsters are still very much a dangerous team and have played well prior to facing the Stars. Watch for them to push back in a big way against a Texas Stars team that might be finding its stride.

Stars injury/call-up report:
Elie, Honka (call-up)

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