Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Tucson Roadrunners

           Texas Stars                        Tucson Roadrunners
    25-17-4-2, 56 pts, .583      v.      25-14-2-1, 53 pts, .631
  #2 Pacific Division                       #1 Pacific Division

February 9th at 7:30 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

(credit: Texas Stars)
The Tucson Roadrunners are for real. Led by a couple of rookie former number one draft picks, Dylan Strome (41 points) and Nick Merkley (35 points), the AHL club from the Sonoran desert have held a top five record in the league for most of the season. They have sat rather comfortably at the top of the Pacific division for weeks now, all while having played six less games than the Texas Stars.

The Texas Stars have a chance to rectify the situation a bit as they take on Tucson in the first game of a back-to-back set on Friday evening. Signs point to the Stars being without their leading goal scorer and captain, Curtis McKenzie, as he is still nursing the injury that kept him out of the AHL All Star festivities. Strome represented the Roadrunners well at the tournament, which was really no surprise considering the season he is having. The Stars will have their hands full with him this weekend. 

Helped immensely by their top 10 power play unit, the Roadrunners have gone 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games and are maintaining the pace they'll need to keep control of the division. The potential chink in their armor would be their putrid penalty kill, which sits just ahead of the 27th ranked Texas Stars. Heavy puck possession and drawing penalties will be key for the Stars to expose their rivals.

Landon Bow is back in Cedar Park after having a cup of coffee with the Dallas Stars. Look for him to continue his normal rotation with Mike McKenna. In net for Tucson will be Adin Hill (.906 SP) who started for the parent club Arizona Coyotes against the Dallas Stars early in the season. His backup, rookie Hunter Miska (.905 SP), could start a game during the back-to-back. 

The puck drops at 7:30 PM CST. 

Stars injury/call up report:
Dickinson, Heatherington (call-up)
McKenzie (injured)

Roadrunners Web Resources
Twitter: @RoadrunnersAHL
Coverage: @CallahanOnAir (Tucson PBP)