Gameday Preview: Stars at Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
5-3-2-0, 12 pts
#2 Western Conference
atIowa Wild
4-2-0-0, 8 pts
#11 Western Conference
November 1st at 7:05 PM
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA

If you're not looking too close, there are two deceiving things about the Iowa Wild. First of all, the casual observer would say that Texas is playing a new team tonight that they've never played before. However, most keen followers know that this is simply the Houston Aeros that the Stars are familiar with from last year and many prior.

There are a ton of familiar faces for Texas players and fans from prior years' Aeros rosters: Carson McMillan, Jason Zucker, Tyler Cuma, Jake Dowell, Kris Foucault, and Kyle Medvec. McMillan leads the Aeros in points at 2-4-6 and plus-4. Brett Bulmer is tops in goals at three. Several are tied at two.

Another name that might be highly familiar with Warren Peters, who came to the Wild on a PTO and was signed to a full contract. Peters played for the Texas Stars in their inaugural season and then played against them two in a row with the Houston Aeros. In the intervening year, he played with WBS out East. Peters has five points in three games.

Darcy Kuemper returns in net for the Wild. The third-year netminder had a sparkling season last year, completing with a 1.88 GAA and .934 SV% amind a 13-8-0 record. This year he is 2-2-1 with a 2.55 GAA and .915 SV%. Joining him in goal is Johan Gustafsson, a rookie coming over from the SHL. He was a sixth round pick by Minnesota in 2010. He had GAAs of 1.70 and 1.68 in his last two years with Lulea in the SHL. Early in the 2013 season, he has a 1.99 GAA with the Wild and has yet to suffer a loss.

The second thing that would be deceiving to the casual observer would be the Wild's standings position. Ranked in 11th, the Wild actually have a better points percentage than Texas (.667 vs. .600). The Stars simply have the benefit of more games played. If Texas gives up these two games, Iowa is tied with them for points but with two games in hand. If the rankings were done by points percentage today, the Stars would be outside the playoff picture at ninth.

The Stars' trip to Des Moines is a chance to salvage their trip to the Midwest. In three games, Texas has led 2-0 three times and lost, earning only one point. As they say, you don't win the Cup in October, but you certainly can lose it.

Stars injury/call up report:
Campbell (injury)

Wild Web Resources:
Blog (Official): I Wild Blog
Twitter: @IAWild
Twitter: @IowaWildFish (former Stars PBP Josh Fisher)