11-8-2-1, 25 pts
#9 Western Conference
7-10-2-2, 18 pts
#14 Western Conference
December 8th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX
The Peoria Rivermen visit the Cedar Park Center for the first time this season just six days after these two teams met for the first time this year in Peoria. Texas emerged from the Carver Arena with a 4-3 shootout victory courtesy of a tenth-round goal by Alex Chiasson. Since that loss, Peoria has only played once, winning at Grand Rapids on Wednesday 2-1.
The Stars and Rivs have a pretty healthy rivalry, albeit muted now due to division changes. The all-time record for the clubs is at 9-9-1-0 for Texas. Both games in Texas last year ended in victories for Texas with six goals scored in each. The first was a 6-5 OT victory on Pink in the Rink night and the second was a 6-2 January victory.
Across the four games in the season series, Matt Fraser had a knack for scoring against the Rivermen. In just those four games, Fraser had ten points: five goals and five assists. Perhaps that has something to do with the ATO they signed him to in 2010. After two games, the Blues passed up a chance to sign Fraser and just perhaps there's some extra motivation when he sees the blue, red and yellow due to that.
Coach Desjardins sounded pretty confident in going again with Cristopher Nilstorp in net. He has been winning big recently, now at 7-7-0 on the season after starting 1-4. Texas does not face another 3-in-3 weekend until the first weekend of January. If Nilstorp continues winning, will Jack Campbell stay on the bench until that weekend?
In other trend news, the stock of Reilly Smith is sky high with his recent play. Despite no points last night, Smith made some very bright plays in the offensive zone to keep the puck on his stick and the play in the offensive end. There were brief flashes out there where it was a little tough to believe you were watching a rookie.
Meanwhile, the stock of Tomas Vincour has clearly fallen. After shifting with Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith in the early season, he has been replaced by Alex Chiasson and moved to a line with Antoine Roussel and Scott Glennie. Vincour has not reacted well to the change. Reading his body language, his play doesn't seem to rise to the same level as it did when he was on the top line. This may be a bit of a chicken and egg problem though. However, one thing is clear. If he wants to go to the NHL when it resumes, he should be on that top line.
Stars injury/call up report:
Blog (beat writer): Cleve's World
Blog (unofficial): The Peoria Rivermen Blog
Twitter (beat writer): @icetimecleve
Twitter (blog writer): @LetsGoRivs