Gameday Preview: Stars at Abbotsford Heat

Texas Stars
20-11-2-2, 44 pts
#2 West Division
atAbbotsford Heat
16-15-1-3, 36 pts
#4 North Division
December 31st at 8:00 PM
Abbotsford Sports & Entertainment Centre, Abbotsford, BC

My goodness, folks. I guess I should go on vacation more often. Texas has been catching up on games played recently and their play has finally been rewarded in the standings. Texas sits in 2nd place in the division, only 3 points behind the Rampage, who have occupied the top spot since the season started. With last night's win against the Heat, Texas extended its point streak to six games (4-0-1-1). Despite 10 of 18 skaters gaining points, Francis Wathier and Ray Sawada snapped six and three game scoring streaks, respectively.

All of the North Division teams are intimately aware of the peril that their Division faces when it comes to the playoffs. Grand Rapids coach Curt Fraser has basically assumed that you have to make it to third place to make the playoffs in the North. With the West Division's strength, it is likely that the 5th place team will jump to the North and takeover the 4th place spot.

The Heat currently sit in that outside-looking-in 4th place spot in the North. For Abbotsford, it's been goal-scoring drought that's dropped them out of playoff contention. The Heat have scored the second-fewest goals per game in the league (2.29) and have only scored 24 goals in their past 16 games.

BC Local News caught these quotes from coach Jim Playfair concerning the team's recent play after last night's game:
In a brief – but scathing – post-game indictment, Heat head coach Jim Playfair said his team wasn't mature enough to come back from the Christmas break ready to play.

"You don't get offence unless you pay the price to go to the net," Playfair said. "The guys on our team aren't. They're scared to go to the net. It's simple."

"Dumb, lazy minor penalties, casual play from our rookies," Playfair vented afterward. "Simple."
Coach Playfair is clearly trying to send a message to his players through the media. Texas will have to hope that the Heat take one more game to get the message.

Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (lower body)

Blog (unofficial): BC Local News: Abby News
Twitter: @abbotsfordheat