Friday, March 1, 2019

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
27-23-3-3, 60 pts
#5 Central Division
v.Chicago Wolves
32-17-5-1, 70 pts
#1 Central Division
March 1st at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars are 1-4-0-0 against the Chicago Wolves this season. They have a chance to make that record more respectable on Friday night in a huge divisional tilt back in Cedar Park.

It's probably too late for the Stars to catch the red hot Wolves, winners of five straight, but they can pull ahead of Rockford for the final playoff spot in the Central should the IceHogs lose to Grand Rapids on Friday. Rockford is coming off three consecutive losses, leaving the door open for Texas.

Last week, Chicago goaltender Oskar Dansk stopped 38 of 40 shots against the Stars, powering the Wolves to a 4-2 win. In other words, the Stars generated a ton of offensive opportunities but struggled to capitalize on their chances. It's not going to get any easier for Texas, as a few of their big guns appear to be cemented in Dallas.

"We’re pretty thin up front," said head coach Derek Laxdal after Wednesday night's win over the Admirals. "The pregame speech was 'rise up'. This is an opportunity for guys to step up and get a chance to play some minutes."

Secondary scoring will be critical if the Stars are going to make a bid for one of the final playoff spots. The Stars were able to get it on Wednesday from forwards Brad McClure and Nic Caamano, who had two goals and two helpers respectively.

"We’re seeing some good things from [McClure]. He’s got good poise with the puck and a head for the game. He’s got a little confidence to his game and he’s a little greasy in the O zone around the net. If he continues to score like that, he’s going to play."

Laxdal was equally complimentary of Caamano's recent play. "We’ve seen a lot of strides with his game. He’s trending forward. The one thing for me is consistency. You’d like to see him play with speed. He’s probably right on time as a first year player. They have good starts and then they hit the wall. You’re starting to see him come back to his game now."

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

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

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