Weekend Preview: Stars and Stanley
With two games left on the schedule before the Christmas break, the Rampage and Texas Stars will meet up for a weekend home-and-home set that begins on Friday night at the HEB Center at Cedar Park and wraps up Saturday night, when the Stanley Cup will be in attendance at the AT&T Center.
Both Lone Star teams are surging in the right direction after rough starts to the season, with the Rampage winners in three straight and the Stars 5-1-1 in their last seven games. The Stars did suffer a setback on Tuesday night, a 6-1 loss in Chicago the capped a three-game road swing.
The Rampage skated to a 5-2 win over the Iowa Wild on Sunday with a power play explosion. Jordan Kyrou, Zach Sanford, and Mitch Reinke all scored power-play goals in the third period, after Mitch Reinke had netted another power-play goal earlier in the first period. Ville Husso made 24 saves to earn consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Some Rampage weapons from Sunday will not be in the lineup for the weekend series. Sanford was sent down for a single game and went back to St. Louis following Sunday’s affair. Klim Kostin has been assigned to Team Russia to take part in the World Junior Championships and will be away from the team until after the tournament.
Joey LaLeggia has points in three straight games for the Rampage, and he has eight points over a 13 game stretch in which San Antonio has gone 9-3-1. Trevor Smith is also riding a three-game points streak with two goals and an assist, a strong return after missing eight games due to injury.
The Stars have followed the lead of Erik Condra during their recent surge, with the former NHLer climbing the league scoring ranks. Condra has points in 16 of his last 18 games, racking up 13 goals and 27 points during that time. Condra is third in the league with 32 points.
Perhaps less of a household name, rookie forward Adam Mascherin has also found his scoring touch in December. Mascherin recorded a first-period hat trick when the Rampage and Stars last met, having only scored three goals all season prior to that game. Since that game on November 25th, Mascherin has nine goals and 13 points in ten games.
Joel L’Esperance has seven goals in his last ten games and leads all AHL rookies in goals (14) and points (25). Veteran Justin Dowling has five goals and 14 points in his last 12 games, and three goals and nine points in five games against the Rampage this season.
The Stars have won three of five meetings with the Rampage this season, and two of the games played at the AT&T Center. Texas has handed San Antonio their two most-lopsided losses this season, an 8-1 loss at the HEB Center on November 10th and a 7-3 loss at the AT&T Center on November 25th. The Rampage have won seven of their last eight and eight of their last ten at the AT&T Center, the two losses in that stretch coming to Texas.
Rampage to Watch
Jordan Kyrou has made big strides in a short span of time to become the offensive leader of the Rampage. The rookie posted three points on Sunday with a goal and two assists, all on the power play and all in the third period, to notch his second consecutive three-point performance. Kyrou is riding a six-game points streak, matching the longest streak by a Rampage player this season, netting five goals and 13 points in that stretch. That run of dominance was interrupted by a two-game stint in St. Louis, during which time Kyrou netted his first NHL goal against the Vancouver Canucks on December 9th.
Star to Watch
Not only has Erik Condra been a terror for the AHL, but he’s been a force against the Rampage in particular. Condra scored a hat-trick against San Antonio on November 10th as part of a four-point night. In five games against the Rampage, Condra has five goals and eight points. Of those five goals, three have come via the power play. He is ten points shy of 200 for his AHL career.
- Of his team-leading 16 points, Jordan Kryou has recorded six on special teams with a power play goal, a shorthanded goal, and four power play assists.
- During their stretch of seven wins in eight home games, San Antonio has outscored opponents 28-17, with seven of the goals against coming in one game vs Texas.
- Texas is 11-3-1 when scoring first.
- Texas ranks second in the AHL on the power play at 27.6 percent, scoring power play goals in four straight games.
- San Antonio’s four power play goals on Sunday were their most in a game this season, snapping a span of six games without a power-play goal.
- Jordan Nolan leads the Rampage with six points against Texas this season. Nolan is currently with the St. Louis Blues.
- The Stars have recorded two hat tricks against San Antonio this season – Erik Condra and Adam Mascherin