Gameday Preview: Stars v. Peoria Rivermen

Texas Stars
17-11-3-2, 39 pts
#6 Western Conference
v.Peoria Rivermen
14-15-2-2, 32 pts
#13 Western Conference
January 5th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

If it feels like the Texas Stars and Peoria Rivermen have played each other a lot recently, you're not imagining things. The Rivs and Stars have faced off twice in the last month and through scheduling oddities will play all of they four scheduled matchups in just a month and a half.

Texas has ended up on the winning side of both of the contests so far this season and has a 6-4 record all-time at home against the Rivs.

Reilly Smith has been the star performer this season against Peoria with 3-1-4 in just those two games. The game against Peoria in Peoria started his Rookie of the Month award winning December campaign. In the game, he had a goal and an assist. In Texas, he had two goals.

Fans looking at the standings numbers alone and writing off this game should not. Peoria may be in 13th place, but things are still so tight that they are only seven points behind Texas in a very crowded playoff race. Teams don't just pack it in because they are out of the playoffs on January 5th.

Leading the Rivs is TJ Hensick, an always dangerous scoring threat. The centerman has 9-19-28 and hasn't missed a game, playing in all 33 so far this season. Rookie Jaden Schwartz is a blue liner to watch, scoring 9-9-18 in 32 GP. He is, however, minus-14 on the season. Taylor Chorney clocks in at minus-16 and was minus-3 in the last game against Texas. Of course, three days later he was plus-3 against OKC. There may have been some solid motivation there as Chorney is a former Baron though.

The Stars will look to continue their success from Houston by 'playing their game'. As cliche as it may sound, it's been working against every team but OKC this season since mid-November.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sloan, Wathier (injury)

Blog (beat writer): Cleve's World
Blog (unofficial): The Peoria Rivermen Blog
Twitter: @peoria_rivermen
Twitter (beat writer): @icetimecleve
Twitter (blog writer): @LetsGoRivs