Series Preview: Laval Awaits Struggling Texas Stars for First-Ever Contest

(Credit: Manitoba Moose)

Following two losses in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose, the Texas Stars head to Quebec for their first-ever showdown against the Laval Rocket.

The Stars had serious troubles against Manitoba on both ends of the ice. In the first game of the series, Texas was held scoreless during the first two periods and only managed one goal near the middle of the third period. On the defensive end, the Stars could not contain Manitoba’s talented forwards, which led to a 3-0 deficit through two periods. The mix of finishing issues on offense and containment issues on defense was a losing recipe for Texas. In the second game of the series, those same issues remained unresolved. Manitoba stormed out to a 5-1 lead and a tally of goals from Riley Tufte and Nicholas Caamano during the third period were not enough to make the game close again. The most astounding stat from the second game of the series was the fact that Texas gave up three goals to Manitoba on four shots during the second period. Altogether, the Manitoba series revealed some significant issues for the Stars to deal with in the coming weeks.

Laval is currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak, with all of those losses coming from games against the Belleville Senators. In the North Division, a 0.441 points percentage currently has Laval tied for last with Syracuse and in the Central Division, Texas is currently second-to-last with a 0.438 points percentage.

Goalscoring has been a strength for Laval so far this season, as they are currently ranked ninth in the AHL in that category. However, Laval is currently tied for last in the AHL when it comes to goals given up. Texas is ranked around the middle of the pack in both of those categories. On special teams, Laval and Texas are both ranked in the top-10 on the penalty kill and in the bottom-six on the power play.

The Stars recently recalled Yauheni Aksiantsiuk from the Idaho Steelheads and it is likely Aksiantsiuk will see some action during this week’s series against Laval. Aksiantsiuk put up solid numbers during his time in the ECHL this season with 15 points in 13 ECHL games and also received Rookie of the Month honors for October. Texas has been searching for more consistent finishing on offense and Aksiantsiuk will have a chance to be part of the solution.

The first game of the series between Texas and Laval will begin at 6:30 PM on Wednesday and the second game of the series will take place at 6 PM on Friday.

Injuries, callups and scratches

Joel L’Esperance (scratch)