|(Credit: Andy Nietupski / Texas Stars)|
The Texas Stars will be looking to finish their four-game homestand strong when they face the Grand Rapids Griffins for the first time this season. Texas recently played in two straight shootouts against the Colorado Eagles this past weekend, ending up with one victory and one defeat.
Even after a whirlwind of roster moves throughout the organization, Texas looked stout during last weekend’s series against Colorado. The night before receiving a callup to Dallas, Jake Oettinger made 31 saves and only allowed one goal in a shootout loss to the Eagles. After Oettinger was brought up to Dallas, Colton Point ended up in net for the second game of the series. Although Point only posted a 0.893 SV% on the night, he made three key shootout saves and the Stars earned a win. Also, the home series against Colorado was the first series all season that the Stars went without a regulation loss, which is something positive for the team to build upon moving forward.
Grand Rapids recently capped off a quick three-game homestand with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday afternoon. The Griffins have 12 points on the year through 12 games, which puts them in the middle of the Central Division just above the Stars, who have 11 points on the year through 12 games.
Looking at the special teams numbers, the Griffins find themselves right near the middle of the pack at 19.5% on the power play. The penalty kill, however, has been a problem for the Griffins as they are currently sitting at just 75.6%, which is near the bottom of the league. Although Grand Rapids did end up 4-for-4 on the PK in their most recent contest, the Stars will be looking to take advantage of what has been a weak unit for the Griffins so far this season. Considering the Stars have only converted on 12.7% of their power plays this season, the weekend series against Grand Rapids is an opportunity to gather some momentum in that category.
One lineup decision to watch this weekend is who Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham decides to start between the posts. Colton Point has played well in his two appearances for Texas so far this season but it would be surprising if Adam Scheel goes the whole weekend without getting any playing time. Scheel was called up to Texas from the Idaho Steelheads on November 11 after putting up a 0.917 SV% in six ECHL games this season.
The Stars will open their home series against Grand Rapids on Friday at 7 PM. The second game of the series will take place at 7 PM on Saturday.