Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Lake Erie Monsters

Texas Stars
28-18-3-3, 62 pts, 0.596
#2 Pacific Division
v.Lake Erie Monsters
26-16-4-3, 59 pts, 0.602
#3 Central Division
February 13th at 7:00 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Lake Erie ain't no joke. Since last playing with Texas, they've rattled off four straight victories allowing just three total goals. Those four games were all against divisional foes, which pushed the Monsters to third place in the Central Division.

It seems like the Central has settled in a bit and the teams that will make the playoffs are mostly settled. Chicago, in sixth place, needs 8 wins ignoring all other factors to climb to fifth place and take the crossover spot to the Pacific (according to the playoff projections). That seems unlikely right now, putting Lake Erie into the playoffs for just the second time in their nine year history. Their only other visit was a first round exit in 2011. That club was led in net by Dallas' 2001 first round pick, Jason Bacashihua.
Brad Thiessen last year with Adirondack (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
A big part of the Monsters' recent success has been their man in net now, Brad Thiessen. Many fans will remember Thiessen from his four-year stint in Wilkes-Barre. It seems that wherever he goes, the team has success. Aside from last year's aberration backstopping the less-than-stellar Flames, Thiessen has never missed the playoffs. In 14 games this season spent in the AHL, Thiessen is 8-2 with a 1.58 GAA and .939 SV%. It's surprising that he spent so much of the year in the ECHL, but hindsight is always 20/20. With injuries in Columbus, Forsberg was recalled and Thiessen came up from Cincinnati.

Now Lake Erie carries three goalies, similar to Texas. Also similar to Texas, it is because of the success of a player they expected to be in the ECHL all year. Interesting to watch who they play this weekend, down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Stars injury/call up report:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling (injury)

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