Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
36-22-3-4, 79 pts
#3 West Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
30-27-3-6, 69 pts
#5 West Division
March 12th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Texas takes the short trip down Interstate 35 to battle the San Antonio Rampage this evening in the ninth of twelve games between the two teams this year. Texas holds a 5-3-0-0 advantage over the Rampage overall. This will be the last game of the regular season for the Stars at the AT&T Center. The Stars have gone 3-2-0-0 against the Rampage on their home ice. With a win tonight of any kind, the Stars will clinch inaugural the Lone Star Cup, as no team will be able to match their point total.

Texas and San Antonio are both on 6-4-0-0 runs over their last ten games and both have winning streaks coming into tonight's game, three and two games respectively. The Stars sit at 3rd place in the West Division while San Antonio is standing just outside the playoff party in 5th place, eight whole points behind 4th place Milwaukee. San Antonio needs to win almost every game from here on out to match Milwaukee's points pace. San Antonio is in playoff mode and that desperation should be out in full force tonight.

The Rampage were one of the West Division teams most affected by the trade deadline last week. San Antonio lost forwards Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik, stalwart defenseman Anders Eriksson, and goalie Justin Pogge. Porter and Kolarik were the Rampage's #4 and #5 top scorers on the season, combining for 32 goals and 43 assists for 75 points. Justin Pogge was traded to the Hurricanes and now hangs his skates in Albany. Pogge was 12-7-3 with a 2.57 GAA and .920 SV%. San Antonio did gain forward Alexandre Picard in the melee, who was one of the top goal scorers on the Syracuse Crunch and has already potted three goals in four games for the Rampage.

Also, the Rampage picked up goalie Miika Wiikman from the Rangers. Wiikman has played in almost every level of professional hockey this season, going from the Checkers of the ECHL to the Wolf Pack of the AHL to the New York Rangers. He played the most games with the Checkers, going 9-3-3 with 2.84 GAA and .906 SV%. He played in 7 games for the Wolf Pack, going 2-4-0 with 4.20 GAA and .869 SV%. He has seen backup duty in two games with the Rampage since the deadline but has not accumulated any wins or loses to his name in San Antonio. Al Montoya is still out with an upper-body injury so the main netminder for the Rampage is Josh Tordjman.

On the Rampage injury side, Ryan Hollweg is still out with a broken jaw. Francis Lessard will be out for tonight's game as well with a suspension from the league for receiving his fourth game misconduct of the season in the Rampage's March 7th game versus Rockford.

The postgame report from me on this game might take a bit, as I will be traveling with a group of Stars fans to see the game in San Antonio.

Stars injury/call up report:

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