Gameday Preview: Stars v. Abbotsford Heat

Texas Stars
21-10-2-3, 47 pts
#4 Western Conference
v.Abbotsford Heat
23-12-1-1, 48 pts
#2 Western Conference
January 10th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Well, here's the big one. After Abbotsford lost to the Rampage this week, the Stars have a chance to jump the division-leading Heat with a win tonight. The two clubs have not met up since November, a game that the Heat took 7-3. Before that the Stars won 9-3 at home.

The game will feature four All-Star selections for this season. Ben Street is just a few points behind Texas's Morin and Sceviour on the leaderboard for the league at 32. Chad Billins, former Griffin and Calder Cup champion, is fourth among defensemen scoring in the league at 26 points.

After some early unevenness in net, the Heat have found their stride. Rookie Joni Ortio is 15-4-0 with a 2.32 GAA. Veteran Joey MacDonald is 4-5-0. I would bet on seeing Ortio in goal tonight against the Stars.

Overall, the Heat are going to put up their best fight against Texas and likewise the Stars for Abbotsford. The Stars, for their part, have probably had this one circled on the calendar since December 1st. After slogging through the mediocrity that is most of the West Division in December and early January, the Stars now face a really significant challenge. To add to that challenge, the Heat are hungry for a win. In their last three games they have scored only one goal each and allowed a total of ten. Losing streaks are not things that good teams do often, and the Heat are a good team. They will be doing their best to break-up that streak against the Stars tonight.

As to special team, the Stars would do well to let the Heat retaliate and get upset all they want, if they can. Abbotsford has the second-best power play in the league but the worst penalty kill. If Texas can get some power play time, they could really light up the Heat.

Stars injury/call up report:
Nemeth, Glennie, Campbell, Petersen, Vause (injury)
Dowling (probable)

Blog (unofficial): BC Local News: Abby News
Newspaper: Abbotsford Times
Twitter: @abbotsfordheat