Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
2-0-0-0, 4 pts
#4 West Division
v.Peoria Rivermen
4-1-0-0, 8 pts
#1 West Division
October 17th at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
Texas and Peoria are familiar foes from last season but these Peoria Rivermen have some very new faces that have helped give them a 4-1 record so far on the season. After losing to Manitoba to open the season, the Rivermen have been teared through the West Division with wins over Rockford, Milwaukee, San Antonio and Houston. They have scored 21 goals in just 5 games and allowed only 12. This is not last year's Rivermen.

Leading the charge are two wily veterans, Graham Mink and T.J. Hensick. Mink, a right winger who played with the Rochester Americans last year, has rattled off 4 goals and 7 assists in five games. Hensick (3-4-7) and Nathan Oystrick (2-5-7) are tied at 7 points in five games as well.

In net for the Rivermen is the monsterous Ben Bishop, coming in at 6 foot 7 inches. Bishop is stating his 4th year with the Rivermen and is joined in net by rookie Jake Allen. Allen was the second round draft pick of the Blue in 2008 and spent the last 4 season in the QMJHL. Last year he split time between Drummondville and Montreal, racking up a 28-14-0 record. Allen started last night, so I would expect Bishop in net this afternoon.

Texas will have a different look than last night. The recall of Aaron Gagnon and assignment of Fabian Brunnstrom has an as-yet-undetermined effect on offense. I feel like Brunnstrom is not going to be as responsible of a two-way player to start out. Gagnon certainly learned those skills when that was his role in Grand Rapids two years ago. However, many media types in Dallas have stated that they expect Brunnstrom to be here all year. Coach Gulutzan's system will certainly make him a more responsible defensive player and hopefully nurse along his scoring touch as well.

Stars injury/call up report:
Gagnon (call-up)

Blog (unofficial): Cleve's World
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen