Gameday Preview: Stars at Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
32-16-3-4, 71 pts
#1 Western Conference
atLake Erie Monsters
22-24-0-5, 49 pts
#15 Western Conference
February 25th at 9:45 AM
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

Get your coffee and settle in for this early contest. It is certainly the earliest game of the season for Texas and I believe is the earliest in the team's history.

It's not been a rosy season in Lake Erie. The Monsters traded wins and losses, staying around the .500 mark, until mid-December. A stretch of five wins in seven games vaulted them to a 17-13-0-3 record at the start of January. They promptly went on a seven games losing streak that saw them allow six goals in a contest a total of four times. In the eleven games since then, they are back to their .500 ways at 4-5-0-2. However, that seven game losing streak has probably put a significant dent in their chances for the playoffs. They find themselves in last place as Texas visits for a kids' day game Tuesday morning.

Calvin Pickard continues his development with the Monsters this season as he again splits time with Sami Aittokallio. Both are one loss shy of even on the season. Aittokallio is 10-11-2; Pickard is 12-13-3. They have similarr save percentages as well at .909 and .900, respectively.

As with last season, undrafted Andrew Agozzino is leading the way for the Monsters. The former teammate of Jamie Oleksiak is at 12-23-35 this season after putting up 20-32-52 in his rookie campaign. Other notables include Mark Olver (12-21-33) and defenseman Matt Hunwick (9-15-24). Bryan Lerg is also among the top scorers with 27 points, but has a team-worst minus-22 rating.

Texas will be without the services of former Monster Cameron Gaunce. He played a total of 197 games with Lake Erie across three seasons before being traded to Dallas by Colorado.

The Stars have a pretty bad record in games before seven o'clock local time. They are 4-6-1-1 on the season and 1-4-1-0 since January 1st. That includes losses of 4-1, 7-4 and 6-1.

Stars injury/call up report:
Campbell, Vause, Petersen (injured)
Gaunce (suspended)

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