Gameday Preview: Stars v. Hamilton Bulldogs

Texas Stars
17-11-1-1, 36 pts
#4 West Division
v.Hamilton Bulldogs
17-8-1-3, 38 pts
#1 North Division
December 18th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The last time Texas faced off against the Hamilton Bulldogs it was May 26th. Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals decided who would get the chance at a Calder Cup against the Hershey Bears. Texas emerged victorious that night and now the Bulldogs return to the Cedar Park Center to see the Stars' Western Conference championship banner hanging in the rafters. Don't dream that they have forgotten about it.

For Texas, this is their second big game in as many days. The Stars faced the #1 team in the West Division last night and will face the #1 team in the North Division this evening. However, the Bulldogs have not been as dominate as the Rampage. On the whole, the North Division seems weaker than the West. The top 5 teams in the West Division all have at least 36 points, which is how many points the Abbotsford Heat have, the #2 team in the North.

Aaron Gagnon battles with Shawn Belle, now of the OKC Barons, in Curtis Sanford's zone during Game 2 of last year's Western Conference Finals (Credit: Matt Kostek)

Some familar names lead the charge for the Dogs with Deshairnais (8-26-34), Pacioretty (5-16-21) and Maxwell (5-10-15) among active scoring leaders. Last year's goalie of record from the WCF is back as well. Curtis Sanford is 10-5-0 with 1.69 GAA and .939 SV%, ranking him in the top 5 of goalies in the league. He is followed closely by Richard Bachman. Both tenders pitched 3-0 shutouts last night. For Hamilton, Sanford has been sharing the net with rookie Robert Mayer who is 6-4-2, 2.92 GAA and .888 SV%.

The Stars seem to have been promoting this game heavily with TV ads during Dallas Stars games, radio advertisements on a large variety of stations, and giveaways on local radio as well. Here's hoping for a great crowd.

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

Twitter: @dogsplaybyplay