(Photo: Melissa Kania)

AHL Preview: Texas Stars vs. Rockford IceHogs

After a day off, the American Hockey League returns to action tonight with just one game on the schedule -a 7:05 p.m. CT matchup between the Texas Stars and their conference rivals, the Rockford IceHogs. Just three points separate the teams in the standings, with Rockford sitting at tenth in the conference and Texas at twelfth.

ROCKFORD EDGING ITS WAY

9-8-0-1, 19 points in 18 games — 56 GF, 57 GA, 3-game winning streak

Looking Back: The IceHogs return home tonight after a two-game roadstand, with both games coming against Lake Erie. Rockford’s last game was a 4-3 shootout win over the Monsters on November 24. Flick, Shaw and Smith all scored for Rockford. One day prior, the IceHogs defeated the Monsters by a score of 4-2, with goals from Leddy, Beach, Saad and Shaw. Alec Richards tended net for both games for Rockford, stopping 66 of 71 shots faced in 125 minutes played.

The Leaders: Center Martin St. Pierre leads the way with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in 18 games, while center Brandon Pirri and right wing Ben Smith have six goals each. Left wing bruiser Brandon Bollig leads Rockford with 69 penalty minutes. Defenseman Ryan Stanton is a plus-5 in 18 games.

Looking Ahead: After tonight’s game against Texas, the IceHogs head out on a three-game roadstand. They’ll play Wednesday in Chicago before visiting Charlotte for consecutive games to start the month of December.

TEXAS BUILDING UP

7-7-1-1, 16 points in 16 games — 37 GF, 47 GA

Looking Back: The Stars have gained 10 of a possible 14 points in the last seven games dating back to November 10. The team last saw action on November 25, which resulted in a 5-3 victory over the San Antonio Rampage. Jack Campbell and Christopher Nilstorp split goaltending duties, with Nilstorp allowing two goals on 15 shots faced in 39:53 and Campbell allowing one goal on 14 shots faced in 20 minutes of ice time. Morin, Fraser, Dillon, Sceviour and Glennie all scored in the win, which came two days after a 1-0 overtime loss to the Abbotsford Heat.

The Leaders: Center Cody Eakin leads the Stars with 11 points in 16 games, and his six goals is tied for most on the team with left wing Matt Fraser. Center Francis Wathier leads the team with eight assists, while Eakin is tied for the team lead in plus-minus (+3, tied with Colton Sceviour and Tyler Sloan). Left wing Antoine Roussel’s 70 penalty minutes in 16 games also leads the Stars.

Looking Ahead: Tonight’s game is the second of a six-game road trip for the Stars. They’ll travel to Grand Rapids for consecutive games to close the month of November and open December, both 7 p.m. EST games. They’ll close out the road trip with a December 2 matchup at Peoria and a December 5 game at Milwaukee before returning to home against Houston on the 7th.

THE MATCHUP

Tonight’s game is the first matchup between the teams this season. They’ll meet again in Rockford on January 21, then in Texas on February 5 before returning to Rockford for the Stars’ closer on April 20.

The teams met four times last season, with Texas winning the first two games and Rockford winning the last two, including one in overtime. Each team took one game at home and one on the road in the season series.

Tags: AHL Rockford Icehogs Texas Stars

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