|(Credit: Cleveland Monsters)
The Stars' most recent stretch of games was disastrous to say the least. Texas has been unable to earn more than one win in a series dating back to over a month to March 12. Their sweep of Tucson from March 3-6 was the last time they had two wins in a series. Overall, they combined for a 5-12-2 record since that series.
The factors are self-evident when you look at the roster and the calendar. An already younger roster, stretched thin by injuries in Dallas and Texas, was put through the wringer on schedule. In the fifteen game sequence that Texas just completed over 24 days, the Stars had just one practice, a 35 minute session. That is far from typical.
Head coach Neil Graham put the team through a mini-camp over the past 10 days, which included on-ice practice and off-ice team building activities. The goal is to step onto the ice this evening and reset on the past 20 games or so.
The team they will face first is Cleveland, which was the same city they visited to start their bad stretch. Texas dropped 2 of 3 in Ohio. The second win for Cleveland kicked off a six-game streak as they come into Cedar Park with an 8-2 record in their last ten and 13-7-1 overall. Their last two even came against a stout Chicago squad that has been leading the division tape-to-tape.
Veteran Tyler Sikura continues to lead the scoring for the Monsters at 19 points with rookies Tyler Angle and Carson Meyer close behind at 17 and 16 points each. In net, Matiss Kivlenieks and Daniil Tarasov have been trading starts over the last eight but now they're both on the Columbus taxi squad. Allen American goalie Justin Kapelmaster has been signed as a PTO to back up Brad Thiessen.
The Stars will get Nikita Scherbak back from a gruesome face injury but will not see Jordan Kawaguchi return.