Gameday Preview: Stars v. San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
33-21-3-4, 73 pts
#3 West Division
v.San Antonio Rampage
26-25-3-6, 61 pts
#7 West Division
February 28th at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Texas comes home to the Cedar Park Center triumphant after winning their past two against the Houston Aeros. The third Texas-based AHL franchise is waiting for them in Austin today to try and improve on a dismal track record thus far. Texas is 5-2-0-0 against San Antonio this season. The two teams have not faced off since January 12th when Todd Ford backstopped the Stars to a 2-0 victory over the Rampage at home.

The Rampage are also playing the final game of a 3-in-3 set on the weekend. The Rampage split with the Manitoba Moose, winning 4-0 on Friday but losing last night 3-1. The Rampage are 12 points behind the Stars in the standings and 11 behind a playoff spot and any playoffs hopes they have are fading fast. They are 5-5-0-0 in their last ten.

If you'd believe it, the Rampage are the second best team on the penalty kill on the road in the AHL. If Texas can crack that egg with their recent bout of PP goals (4 in the last two games), then things will look good for the Stars.

Justin Pogge and Josh Tordjman split time in net for the Rampage. Each has played one game this weekend already, Tordjman last night and Pogge on Friday. Pogge is 11-7-3 with a 2.55 GAA and .921 SV%. Tordjman is 11-14-2 with a 2.76 GAA and .910 SV%. Of the two, Tordjman is the only one with a win against Texas. Pogge has dropped two contests. Goalie Al Montoya, who has been sidelined since December with an upper-body injury, played in the first four games against Texas, going 1-3-0. The Rampage are led in scoring by Brett MacLean (24-21-45) and Kyle Turris (16-24-40). The Stars would do well to be weary of Francis Lessard, whose 194 PIMs rank him 5th in the league.

In the standings for Texas, they still hold onto third over Milwaukee by one point. The Admirals also play today at Peoria, so Texas must pick up points today to keep pace. Rockford leads the Stars by four point, but the IceHogs have played two more games than the Stars. If the Stars were to win those games, they'd be tied. There's still hope there for something as great as a #2 ranking here. Even with Chicago's two recent losses after going 12-0-0-2, I don't think that Texas or anyone has enough in the tank to catch the Wolves.

Today's game will also be broadcast on FOX Sports Southwest. So get out to the arena, be loud and bring your friends so we can show the rest of the southwest how Austin does hockey!

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

Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Twitter: @SARampage