Gameday Preview: Stars at Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
22-13-2-2, 48 pts
#4 West Division
atRockford IceHogs
16-16-1-4, 37 pts
#8 West Division
January 14th at 7:05 PM
Rockford MetroCentre, Rockford, IL

Texas continues its three game road trip with the third and final visit on the season to the Rockford MetroCentre. The Stars will play the IceHogs a total of six times this year with the first three being played in Rockford and the last three in Texas. Tonight's game closes the season series in Rockford.

Historically, Texas has faired well against the IceHogs, carrying a 7-3-0-0 record in the regular season all-time and an 11-3-0-0 record when you include the playoffs. The IceHogs did hand the Stars one of their worst losses of the season, however, back in December. With Richard Bachman called up and an emergency backup on the bench, Tyler Beskorowany was pressed into service and allowed 8 goals to Texas's 5. Bachman has actually not faced the IceHogs yet this season, with Brent Krahn taking the other start and winning 4-3 in the shootout.

Either Backman or Chupp will be coming off the bench for Texas with the trade of Fabian Brunnstrom. Brunnstrom is an unfortunate loss for this Texas squad. His line with Morin and Rallo was really clicking and Fabian himself had seven points in his last six games. My bet is that Backman comes off the bench for Texas tonight. If you'll remember, Scott McCulloch had a lot of early season success with Morin and Rallo before being injured. With the skill of Morin and Rallo, my guess is that anyone could get plugged into that line and have success, not to discount Brunnstrom or McCulloch.

Rockford currently occupies the West Division cellar, but that doesn't mean too much with the competitiveness of the West. The IceHogs' .500 points percentage would put them right in the thick of the playoff race in the North and East Divisions.

Leading the IceHogs in points is a defenseman, Brian Connelly (4-20-24), which I find troubling for the squad. They rank in the bottom ten of the league in scoring per game. Leading scorers against Texas for Rockford include Jeff Taffe, Ryan Potulny, and Shawn Lalonde, with most of the points coming in the lopsided 8-5 loss. Dan Spang leads all Stars in points with 2 goals and no assists against Rockford. In total, 5 players are tied at 2 points against Rockford, including Vincour, Roman, Chupp and Sceviour.

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

Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs