Gameday Preview: Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
2-2-0-0, 4 pts
#11 Western Conference
v.Lake Erie Monsters
3-1-0-0, 6 pts
#4 Western Conference
October 21st at 5:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Coming into the season, Lake Erie had to be looking at their first four games wondering what they'd done to anger the AHL schedule makers. Three of the first four against predicted juggernaut OKC and the fourth against defending Western Conference champion Toronto. And yet, they come to Texas with a 3-1 record. It may be some combination of those teams not performing up to expectations, but at the same time, the Monsters are legit so far this season.

Thanks to the lockout, back again is forward Mark Olver. Also back is Tyson Barrie, who represented Lake Erie at last year's All-Star game and has come out of the gate flying this season. Barrie, a defenseman, has three goals and two assist in just four games, paired with a plus-4 rating. Also clicking in at a point per game or better are European Thomas Pock (2-3-5), rookie Boston College product Paul Carey (1-3-4), and the aforementioned Olver.

Also of note on the roster is former teammate of Jamie Oleksiak, Niagara IceDogs product Andrew Agozzino. Agozzino was undrafted but finished his career in Niagara with 306 points in 318 regular season games and 47 in 50 playoff games. The forward is much smaller than his former teammate Oleksiak, coming in at 5'6". That may have kept many away at draft time as size is so highly valued in today's NHL. Regardless, the Monsters picked him up on a standard player contract. He has two goals and an assist in four games, including a game winner in Lake Erie's season opener.

Among the bad news for Texas about this squad is that they dissected the OKC Barons last night with a 3/4 effort on the power play. Losing by a similar 5-3 score, OKC let the Monsters back into the game in the third after leading 3-2 at the second intermission. All three power play goals were in the final frame. Killing penalties is a lot easier when there are fewer of them, so Texas will have to stay out of the box more on Sunday.

Texas can avoid dipping below .500 with a win.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sceviour (injury)

Blog (unofficial): Cleveland Plain Dealer
Twitter: @monstershockey