Gameday Preview: Stars v. Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
15-11-8-0, 38 pts
#9 Western Conference
v.Iowa Wild
12-20-1-1, 26 pts
#15 Western Conference
January 9th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

The Stars come back to the Cedar Park Center for the first time in 2015, last playing at home on December 28th of last year. When they return, it should be a hero's welcome from the home fans. Texas played giant killer on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Barons and has a really good chance to cement themselves into the playoff picture with three home games against struggling squads. If the Stars are able to get six points, they will vault to a .594 points percentage, which would currently be good for 7th in the conference and just two points behind the pace for 5th.

So Iowa is the first potential victim for the hungry Stars. They are still mired in last place in the conference, but it's mostly due to their start and less to their recent play. The team has gone 7-7-0-1 since last facing off against Texas. They've gotten to that record by trading wins and losses, never with a streak of wins or pointless games beyond two.

The Wild will come to town depleted from their usual ranks with two of their top four scorers, Jordan Schroeder (10-14=24) and Jon Blum (4-12=16), and goalie John Curry all in Minnesota. Curry had been splitting starts with Johan Gustafsson. Josh Harding won't be the backup though. He hasn't played since December 6 when he 'suffered a dehydration episode' in that night's game and was hospitalized.

On the Stars side, just when it looked like Texas was out of the woods on injuries, they struck again. Justin Dowling and Curtis McKenzie could return tonight from their respective injuries. However, Radek Faksa was in Dallas this week with his arm in a sling, and Branden Troock is out with a 'lower body injury' after slamming into the boards at high speed in the game at OKC.

Eric Faille, who'll wear #17, will be stepping into the lineup to assist. The ECHL PTO is likely to play his first AHL game tonight on the fourth line.

Stars injury/call up report:
Ritchie (call up)
Dowling, McKenzie (injury, day-to-day)
Faksa, Troock (injury, long-term)

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