Friday, October 26, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
4-1-1-1, 10 pts
#3 Central Division
v. Chicago Wolves
5-1-0-1, 11 pts
#2 Central Division
October 25th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars are aiming for their fourth straight win on Friday evening against the visiting Chicago Wolves, who are just ahead of the Stars in the division standings. They bring with them an old ally.

Up until this season, winger Curtis McKenzie hadn't played professionally for any other organization than the Stars, having been drafted by them in 2009 and earning the captaincy as recently as last season. It's hard to forget the Calder Cup run from mere months ago, with McKenzie accounting for 20 points in the playoffs.

All that seems like ancient history now, and McKenzie will likely play as if it is. He's been scoring at a point per game pace, yet he's tied for fourth in team scoring with two other players. Standout forward Brook Macek leads them all with ten points, eight of which are goals. There is bound to be some regression for his 66.7 shooting percentage, but the Stars have their work cut out for them against a team that is playing as well as anyone without their special teams firing on all cylinders.

Lest we forget, another old friend will be in town for a visit. Max Lagace has earned more starts this season than his backup Oskar Dansk and has made the most of them (.931 SP). Look for him to get the nod against his former team.

The main storyline for the streaking Stars headed into this one will be the question of who takes over Justin Dowling's recently vacated top line center spot. The obvious choice is Roope Hintz, who was slotted in on the third line after coming in from Dallas last weekend. Other candidates will be Travis Morin and Joel L'Esperance, the latter of which has earned coach Laxdal's praise at every turn this season.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CDT.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Dowling (call up)

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