Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
12-13-0-1, 25 pts
#13 Western Conference
atSan Antonio Rampage
13-14-0-0, 26 pts
#12 Western Conference
December 18th at 3:30 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

The Stars move from a team they've only played once to one of their most familiar opponents in the San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage are on a bit of a tear with three straight wins and a 6-4 record in their last ten, setting them just one game under .500 on the season. Texas is in a similar spot. Today's winner will even up their record with the Christmas break on the horizon.

This is the third game in as many nights for Texas while the Rampage got Saturday off. "I think the guys are ready. In your division, it's a short trip so there should be no excuses. You can't say 'We're tired', you just play smart, keep a guy high and bury your opportunities"

San Antonio's three game streak included a win over the Charlotte Checkers last week, which Litter Box Cats argues was their best win of the year:
"The San Antonio Rampage played their best game tonight, despite being out-shot 45-23. Jacob Markstrom played his best game in San Antonio, allowing just one goal, and saved 44 shots. As impressive as Markstrom was, the offense got the game started with a three goal first period. Tyson Strachan scored his first goal of the season to open up the game, with Greg Rallo, Scott Timmins, and Bracken Kearns scoring the other goals. The Rampage won back-to-back home games for the first time this season."
If you'll remember, offense was a bit of a struggle for the Rampage early in the season, as they were leaky in net and didn't have the goals to compensate. Now that both are clicking, they are trending upwards in the standings. Bracken Kearns leads them in scoring with 9-9-18, followed closely by Colby Robak at 5-10-15 and an impressive plus-15 rating.

In net, it's been a carousel for the Rampage. Dov Grumet-Morris and Jakob Markstrom currently man the pipes, though four other masked men have started for the Rampage this season. Grumet-Morris, a recent AHL contract signing, is 4-1-0 on the season with a 1.59 GAA and .936 SV%. Markstrom's record is a little more battle-worn from the early season, 4-5-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .911 SV%.

One player Texas will not be seeing is Greg Rallo. The former Star is expected to play in his first NHL game today against Carolina. He is the second Panther to get his first NHL game at the age of 30 this season, the other being Bracken Kearns.

Stars injury/call up report:
Larsen, Vincour, Bachman (callup)
Sawada (unspecified injury)

Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With The Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play for SA)