Friday, November 10, 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Grand Rapids Griffins

Texas Stars
6-6-0-1, 13 pts, 0.500
#5 Pacific Division
v.Grand Rapids Griffins
6-6-0-1, 13 pts, 0.500
#5 Central Division
November 10th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Texas returns home to meet the Grand Rapids Griffins this weekend, a team with the exact same record as Texas but whose path to that record has been slightly different.

The Stars began the season hot and floated as high as three games above .500. The defending champ Griffins peaked at 2-1 after three games and only just made it back to .500 hockey with a 7-4 win against San Antonio on Thursday. Part of that rebound has been a big power play. Against San Antonio, Grand Rapids notched three on seven opportunities. They also came back from a 3-1 deficit after after the first period for the win.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Making the Stars path against the Griffins more difficult will be the loss of Curtis McKenzie to recall. With one fewer veteran to juggle, Coach Laxdal will have the luxury of adding Mark McNeill to the lineup if he chooses (McNeill being a player like McKenzie with 260-320 games of experience). However, Texas also has Cole Ully and Austin Fyten as options to bolster the lineup. Neither would be expected ot have the offensive impact of McKenzie though. After his last outing, where he collected a hat trick among his five points, he is nearly a point-per-game player (6-5=11 in 12 GP). Only Travis Morin has more points on the team.

This weekend's two games will be the only visit for Grand Rapids to Cedar Park. Texas has not faired well against the club historically, putting aside the 2014 playoffs. Texas has won just twice in the last five years at Cedar Park, going 2-5-1 overall against the Griffins. Between home and away, the Stars have just three victories in that same time span. Two of them came last year, though.

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Elie, McKenzie (call up)

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

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