Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Stockton Heat

Texas Stars
5-4-0-1, 11 pts, 0.550
#5 Pacific Division
atStockton Heat
6-3-0-1, 13 pts, 0.650
#3 Pacific Division
November 4th at 9:00 PM
Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA

Texas plays another first in a season series this evening in Stockton. The Heat are off to a solid start, owning 3rd place in the Pacific Division and a win rate 3 games above .500. To this point, they have only played two games with teams outside California. They beat defending champs Grand Rapids on October 14th and fell to Manitoba last night.

Jon Gillies is the main man in net for the Heat. Last season, everything seemed to be going his way until an injury put him out of the game for most of the year. He played in 39 games with a .910 save percentage. This year, he's off another solid start at 4-2-1 with a .920 save percentage. David Rittich is his backup. He has similar numbers with 2-1-0 and .916 save percentage.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Andrew Mangiapane is a player to watch out for this evening as the reigning player of the month has 16 points in 10 games. He leads the league as of this morning, tied with perennial top performer Chris Bourque. Garnet Hathaway is not far behind with 6-6=12 in the same 10 games played. Mangiapane and Hathaway also lead the league in plus/minus at plus-10 and plus-12 respectively. The highest point producer on Texas is, of course, Travis Morin with 2-9=11.

Stockton has been getting it done against Texas for two years now. In fact, in 12 total matchups, the Stars have emerged with the victory only three times. At Stockton, the record is worse with just one win to four regulation losses and a shootout defeat.

No doubt this is a team that can score. They're averaging 3.6 per game. Texas is also averaging above three, but they're allowing 3.90 per game as well. Goaltending and defense need to tighten up to have a chance against a very talented squad in Stockton.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie, Dickinson (call up)
French (lower body)

Twitter: @ahlheat