Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
28-14-3-4, 63 pts
#2 Western Conf.
v.Peoria Rivermen
23-19-1-5, 53 pts
#9 Western Conf.
February 5th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Stars and Rivermen last faced off earlier this week in Sunday. If you'll recall, that was the game with the lineup card issues. I'm hoping that the Stars come out tonight like they were shot out of a cannon. When you combine the lineup issues from Peoria and the nasty 5-1 loss in Milwaukee, I think the Stars come out motivated on 2 days rest.

Texas has a 1-1-1-0 record against Peoria this season, the only game in Austin being a 5-1 loss back on December 9th. The Rivermen will play the Stars 4 more times after tonight so we'll be getting very familiar with them over the home stretch of the season here. The Rivermen are coming off their own beating of a loss, losing 4-1 against the Houston Aeros on Wednesday night.

One of the key elements to Texas's loss in Milwakee was special teams. The Admirals went 3/6 on the power play and Texas went 0/5. Previously, the Stars had been clipping along at greater than a PP goal per game. If they want to get back to their winning ways, they should do it on the power play. Peoria ranks at #4 in road power play though, so the Stars will have to be careful not to allow too many opportunities. The Stars are stout on the penalty kill at home, also #4 in the league, but you can't give away 6 opportunities and expect one not to result in a goal. The Stars home power play and the Peoria road penalty kill both rank mid-pack at #14 and #15, respectively. Texas had been ticking up recently though in that department before the Admirals game.

Texas has a really great chance here to make a big jump in the standing. They are currently tied with the IceHogs at 63 points with the Admirals 1 point behind and the Wolves 2 points behind. All four teams are in action tonight. Texas must win to begin to pull away from the pack. They will be at the friendly confines of the CPC for the next 5 games and should make a huge effort to pull as many points as possible out now before the longer road stretches ahead (2/16 to 2/23, 5 games; 3/20 to 3/31, 7 games). Texas currently has 4 games in hand against Rockford but just 1 and 0 (!) respectively against the Admirals and Wolves. If the Stars lose tonight and the Wolves win, they'll be tied for at 63. If both the IceHogs and Admirals win as well, the Stars will suddenly go from 1st to possibly 4th in one night! It's crowded at the top!

Don't forget, for those of you who participate in the Texas Stars message board, that we are all going to get together to meet each other in front of Guest Services in the 1st intermission. See you there!

Stars injury/call up report:
Wilson (stomach strain), Krahn (lower body)
Peters and Sawada (call up)

Twitter: @peoria_rivermen