|(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)|
Here's why I'm still confident that Texas can make it in.
- The Stars have the best strength of schedule of all the clubs remaining in the race. They must play 7th place Rockford twice at home and get two of three at home with last place San Antonio. For comparison, this weekend while Texas is playing the IceHogs, the Admirals will face #1 Chicago and #3 Iowa. The SOS for Texas is .477 as of this morning, nearly .08 less than the closest team.
- Texas is on a three-game winning streak.
- Texas has four of their last five games at home and holds a .691 home winning percentage (7th best in the league).
- Against Rockford, Texas is 4-2 this season and has won both home games so far (5-1 on Nov 16, 4-3 SO on Jan 11).
- Against San Antonio, Texas is 7-3-1 this season. The AT&T Center has been friendly to Texas as well (16-14-3 in the last five years in San Antonio).
- Rhett Gardner and Jake Oettinger's excellent game on Saturday shows that the young kids are ready to contribute.
- A week of practice does everyone good, especially younger players who are learning systems. Watch for an even crisper power play this weekend. They're already 3rd best in the league (24%).
- Finally, everyone is on an even playing field. Every club has 71 games played and just five remaining. On an even field, Texas has a great chance. No more worrying about the games in hand.
- If it comes down to it, Texas has excellent ROW (regulation and overtime wins), which is the first tiebreaker if teams are tied on points at the end of the season. Manitoba and Texas both have 34.