Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
32-27-4-3, 71 pts
#5 Central Division
v.Chicago Wolves
37-19-4-3, 82 pts
#1 Central Division
March 22nd at 7:00 PM
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, TX

Only one point out of a playoff spot, the Texas Stars have been buoyed by an injection of youth and energy with the recent ATO acquisitions, and they can sense an opportunity. After beating Grand Rapids on Wednesday, they've got another upper echelon team on the docket in the Chicago Wolves.

"We’ve got another big test coming Friday and then on Saturday," said head coach Derek Laxdal after Wednesday's win. "We talked about our eleven games left. We have eight at home, and just try and win our home games."

(credit: Texas Stars)
Something to pay attention to in the coming games is how Laxdal handles the lineup. As the team was dealing with a couple illnesses, he dressed eleven forwards and seven defenseman against Grand Rapids. As players get healthy, it'll be interesting to see who rounds out the lineup. Forwards Robbie Payne and James Phelan have been sent to Idaho to make room.

"We had one new defenseman on the back end [in Cecconi]. We dressed seven D just to protect us that way. We’ve had some guys going through the flu here the last couple days including myself. And then bringing in three new centermen who have never played in the league, give the group a lot of credit in buying in and managing the situation."

They'll have their hands full with the division-leading Wolves who are coming off an overtime win against fourth place Rockford. But defenseman Gavin Bayreuther has a positive perception about his team's chances in any upcoming contest.

"We’re finally finding our stride," he said. "When guys start to play with confidence, good things happen. The first thing I noticed is last year we had a moment like this. We were kind of a bubble team, and all of a sudden we found our stride and started buzzing. I hope to continue that this year."

The puck drops at 7:00 PM CDT.

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