Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
6-6-1-1, 14 pts
#7 Central Division
v.Rockford IceHogs
8-5-1-2, 19 pts
#3 Central Division
November 16th at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX
(credit: Andy Nietupski)
Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal knows how he wants his team to play heading into Friday's game against the Rockford IceHogs. "We have to have the same urgency that we had in the last five minutes [of Wednesday's game] when we were pressing and were doing anything to tie the game up," he said. "We have to have that urgency right off the hop."

Those were his words after a loss to the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday. That type of urgency will be critical out of the gate on Friday against a Rockford team looking to climb the standings in the division. "Rockford lost [Wednesday] against Grand Rapids so they’re going to be hungry for a win."

The key to Rockford's success so far has been their stellar goalie tandem of Anton Forsberg and familiar foe Collin Delia. Both tenders are sporting save percentages above .930 in decent sample sizes. One key for the Stars is eliminating soft first period goals that have become a recent fly in the ointment. "That’s part of hockey, and that’s where guys are scoring goals now. They’re throwing pucks from everywhere. You have to be ready every time because you know that puck is going to get slung on net."

For new Stars captain Justin Dowling, the reason for their .500 play to start the year has been less about effort and more about mental lapses in the defensive zone. In preparation for the Rockford game, he said, "[We need to go] back and watch some video, see where our mistakes were and where we gave up some chances, where they were able to capitalize on it. It’s not a compete thing, it’s not an effort thing. It’s more Xs and Os right now. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board."

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Mersch (lower body)
Hanley, Bayreuther (call-up)