14-11-8-0, 36 pts
#9 Western Conference
|at||Oklahoma City Barons|
23-7-2-2, 50 pts
#1 Western Conference
January 6th at 7:00 PM
Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
The Texas Stars head to the Cox Convention Center for the first time since it was announced that tonight's opponent, the Oklahoma City Barons, would cease operations at the end of the season. There will be plenty of time left to eulogize the Barons; the Stars play OKC four more times this regular season after tonight.
The Barons dropped a game in Charlotte the night of the announcement and haven't lost since. OKC has rattled off seven straight wins and has a chance to move to eight tonight against the Stars. If they do it, it would be their second eight game win streak this season alone, tying the franchise record. The prior streak stretched from November 21 to December 6 and included two wins over Texas.
The current streak has included some stiff competition, making it all the more impressive. Two games against division-leading Rockford and a road game against San Antonio started the set. After tonight, OKC hits the road for a tough 3-in-3 run that will see them play three games in three different cities in the Northeast this weekend. If they can win tonight and then turn their 8-game streak into an 11-gamer, look out... OKC will have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are the team to beat in the West this year.
(By the way, if you want to be more impressed, Laurent Brossoit has been the winning goalie in 6 of the 7 games in the streak. Richard Bachman played his first game in two weeks on January 3rd.)
Texas is coming off a disappointing weekend in Charlotte. Yes, the Stars got one win but couldn't extend the good feeling with a second in the back-to-back. It's not entirely clear what the deal is with Texas and consecutive games in Charlotte. I dug a bit, and there is decent evidence that Texas isn't alone in this. This season, Hamilton, San Antonio and OKC have all visited for consecutive games at TWC Arena, won the first and lost the second. Grand Rapids is the only team to walk away from TWC with two wins in a consecutive set this season.
The Stars are in a tight battle for a playoff spot and could honestly find themselves playing a top-seeded OKC if they make it. This could be a huge confidence win to break up the Barons' streak and give momentum heading into home games against lower-seeded Iowa and Toronto this weekend.
Stars injury/call up report:
Ritchie (call up)
Blog: Tend the Farm