Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Toronto Marlies, Game 3

Texas Stars
38-24-8-6, 90 pts, 0.592
#2 Pacific Division
v.Toronto Marlies
54-18-2-2, 112 pts, 0.737
#1 North Division
June 5th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Series tied 1-1

After earning a split in Canada, Texas returns home in a pretty ideal spot given what they were up against. Clawing two away from Toronto in their barn was probably too much to hope for overall. The fact that Texas came so close in Game 1 is a huge sign of their potential as a team to really lock things down here in Cedar Park.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Home games in the Calder Cup Finals have not been kind to the Texas Stars historically. In 2010, Texas was swept at home after winning both in Hershey. In 2014, Texas got the split and then headed to St. John's to win it all by sweeping the IceCaps in their building. That's a 1-4 record at home. However, each team is different for sure.

Back to the series at hand, the Marlies had a pretty good home record in the regular season, 24-13-1-0. Where they really shined was an absurd road record of 30-5-1-2. Eight road losses in an entire season is unbelievably good. By comparison, the next best finisher by percentage, Tucson had 10 and they played 8 fewer games. Texas had 21, following the more traditional model of home strength.

I would make the argument that the Stars got lucky in Toronto with their win. Aside from Austin Fyten's tally, all points scored by forwards came from the top line. While it's great to see the players who have been in Texas for a while contirbuting, it's not a sustainable model. Gavin Bayreuther's power play goal was a good sign for scoring beyond line one, but it's just one goal of the eight that were scored in Toronto.

The Stars need activation from players like Flynn, Dries, Hintz, Dickinson and Elie to compete in this series against a very deep Marlies squad. Playing their third game in four days, relying on the top line is not a recipe for success. Texas depth scoring needs to contribute or the speed and depth of the Marlies will outpace the Stars over a seven game series.

It sounds like Texas isn't quite to capacity for Game 3 but is looking very full for 4 and 5. If you know anyone who is looking for some hockey today, give 'em a ring and let 'em know what's going on in Cedar Park.

Stars injury report: