Friday, October 19, 2018

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Iowa Wild

Texas Stars
2-1-1-1, 6 pts
#4 Central Division
v.Iowa Wild
3-0-0-0, 6 pts
#3 Central Division
October 19th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX
Justin Dowling takes a draw against Wild captain Cal O'Reilly during the '17-'18 season
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Iowa Wild head to central Texas this weekend for their first road game sporting an unblemished record in the budding new AHL season. They thumped the Manitoba Moose in their opening game set, outscoring them 12-2 over two games, and handed the Stars a 4-3 shootout loss. Get used to seeing this team a lot this season with the new division alignment.

A couple of youngsters are getting it done in the scoring department for the Wild: rookie forwards Gerry Fitzgerald and Mason Shaw with four points a piece. Statistically, the Wild also hold up against any team in the AHL. That's what a small sample size will do at this juncture. But some numbers do stand out more than others. They are top five in both the power play (30.8%) and the penalty kill (91.7%). Four of their goals have come on the man advantage this year.

All things considered during their impressive early-season run, the biggest story so far coming out of Iowa is well-traveled net minder Andrew Hammond. Having drawn spot duty for the Colorado Avalanche during their unexpected playoff run last year, his experience and savvy has so far buoyed the Wild to the tune of a .939 save percentage across all three starts. Stars fans are very familiar with the type of effect a quality veteran goaltender can have on his team and how that can produce unbridled confidence throughout the lineup. Remember the last season's playoffs?

As well as the Wild have played, the Stars match them in points, and have had to play three road games to the Wild's none. They put together a successful display of offense on against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday with six goals and are receiving welcome contributions from players who have become very critical all of a sudden. Denis Gurianov, Michael Mersch, and Joel L'Esperance all lead the team in scoring with five points each. That's a ton of size and scoring ability that you like to see clicking this early.

This will be as good of a test as you will get this time of year. The puck drops at 7 PM CDT.

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

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