Friday, April 20, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Ontario Reign, Game 2

Texas Stars
38-24-8-6, 90 pts, 0.592
#2 Pacific Division
v.Ontario Reign
36-25-4-3, 79 pts, 0.581
#3 Pacific Division
April 20th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Texas leads 1-0

In the wake of a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the Ontario Reign in game one, the Texas Stars had a pretty good idea of what to expect in the second game of the opening round of the AHL playoffs.

"They’ll play the same way," said forward Brian Flynn after scoring the game winner. "They’ll play physical and hard and in our face. We gotta use our legs and play smart on the puck and manage it well. Hopefully we can get some more off the rush."

(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Stars were able to withstand the onslaught of hard-hitting play and post-whistle activity from the Reign by refusing to get rattled, even though they didn't get one penalty called in their favor. Center Sheldon Dries, who scored in Thursday's opening frame, knows the Stars will have to stay even keeled."

"Personally I gotta stay out of the box. It’s a chippy game. They want to play that way. We gotta stay out of the stuff and play our style. I expect them to have a heavy push. We just gotta be ready for that."

If the Stars want to take game two, they'll need another solid night from Mike McKenna, who turned in 38 saves on 41 shots on Thursday. Although every AHL team wants to get pucks to the net, Dries noted that the Reign seem to do it in bunches.

Coach Derek Laxdal made a few strategic tweaks to the lines in the middle of game one that seemed to turn the tide in the Stars' favor. Look for him to stick with what worked for him on Friday. "I liked our lineup but I didn’t like our lines in the game," he said. "I made the change [in the third]. It worked tonight, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow night."

Flynn expanded on how the Stars can take control of the series. "We’re not going to beat them by playing that big, heavy game right at them. We’re going to use our legs--that’s our biggest asset as a team, and scoring in transition. That’s when we’re successful."

The puck drops on Friday at 7:00 PM CDT.

Read more about Media Day thoughts here.
Read more about Brian Flynn's impact on the roster here.

Stars injury/call up report:
Fyten (questionable)

Website: ontarioreign.com
Twitter: @ontarioreign
Coverage: Reign coverage via Jewels from the Crown

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