Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
14-9-2-1, 31 pts
#6 Central Division
atChicago Wolves
15-9-2-1, 33 pts
#4 Central Division
December 18th at 11:00 AM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Ed. Note: "Gameday" preview coming at you a bit earlier than usual with the morning puck drop.

Oh, the kids game, an AHL tradition. Load the stands with school kids on a field trip and get the Spongebob jumbotron hits ready. In its history, Texas has only played host to a single kids game, an 11 AM affair against the Syracuse Crunch. Texas lost to a dazzling performance from the now-departed Ray Emery, who was on a conditioning stint from Anaheim recovering from avascular necrosis.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Stars have played plenty of 'kids' games in Chicago over the years, it seems. The Stars are coming into this one hot, as are the Wolves. After dipping to one game below .500 the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Texas has only one regulation loss since. They're on a strong 7-1-1-0 streak that is going to be tested this morning in the Windy City.

Chicago and Texas have already tangled twice on the season with the last one being a spicy affair. Texas rolled to a 7-4 win but not before Maxime Lagace took a slash at James Phelan late in the contest and Alex Gallant came flying into the scene with a sucker punch that earned him a one-game suspension.

Chicago has a five-game win streak in tact as they hit today's game. They haven't lost since the aforementioned spicy game. Their conquests include two in Iowa, one of the best in the division, and two at home against Tucson, who is currently second in the Pacific.

The Wolves have two players scoring at better than a point-per-game pace, Brandon Pirri and Daniel Carr, at 38 and 31 points each. Today's contest will also feature the league's top three scorers with Erik Condra also checking in at 31 points. Texas catches a break with Erik Brannstrom off the Chicago roster today. The rookie defenseman was reassigned to his native Sweden's World Junior roster on Sunday. Brannstrom has 20 points in 24 games.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Gurianov, Bayreuther, Hanley, Fedun (call up)