Saturday, March 9, 2019

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
28-25-4-3, 63 pts
#5 Central Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
27-26-6-0, 60 pts
#7 Central Division
March 9th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Did you know there is another AHL team in the state of Texas? If you've only been following the Stars since January 1, you might now know that. Somehow despite playing each other 14 times in a 76 game schedule, Texas and San Antonio haven't faced off since December 30th. In the closing month of the season, they'll battle head-to-head five times to make up for it, starting with two this weekend and ending the season with three in a row.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Texas is in an unfamiliar position of being on the bubble along with San Antonio at this point in the year. That's not to say it's always been a cakewalk for the Stars in March, but the Rampage are usually a 'gimme' point opportunity for the victory green skaters and less an existential threat to their postseason chances.

San Antonio is indeed just that right now. Just three points behind Texas with a game in hand, San Antonio could easily vault the Stars this weekend and still have a game to give in the standings.

The Rampage could easily have swooned with the combined loss of Jordan Binnington, who is now killing it in the NHL, and the always dreadful Rodeo Road Trip. They did enough to stay just around .500 and surged ahead of the even mark with OT and SO wins against Milwaukee and Chicago this past week. No one among Texas, Milwaukee or Rockford have done enough to separate themselves and join Chicago, Iowa and Grand Rapids in the playoff lock category. San Antonio and Manitoba caught up in the meantime. So now, with five teams just four points out from the final spot, it's anyone's game.

San Antonio doesn't score a ton. Their leader, Jordan Kyrou, has just 41 points this year. Mitch Reinke has 38, and no one else has more than 29. Texas by comparison has seven skaters with north of 30 points. If Texas can stymie the scoring, they'll have a good chance here.

Stars injury/call up report:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
L'Esperance (call up)

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