by Tony Roberts

The Tacoma Stars (6-12-2) will kick off their final regular-season home series Friday when they welcome the Chihuahua Savage (12-6-2) for the first time at the accesso ShoWare Center. Tacoma comes into the series with playoff hopes mathematically possible, but fading. The Savage have already clinched a Wild Card spot.

In the teams’ first set of games in Chihuahua, the Savage picked up 21-9 and 10-9 wins and hold the 2-0 season series advantage. One glaring stat which stands out about the Savage is the disparity in their home vs road records. While on their field in Mexico, the Savage have posted a very impressive 9-1-2 mark, yet they are just 3-5 on the road this season.

A huge part of Chihuahua’s success is the numerous scoring threats on their roster. 11 players on their squad have at least 11+ points this season topped by Jorge Rios with 40 (29G-11A). Hugo Puentes (18G-13A), Enrique Cañez (18G-11A), Carlos Hernandez (13G-10), Bryan Macias (13G-8A), and Eduardo Garay (8G-13A) have all crossed the 20-point mark for Chihuahua.

Goalkeeping is another reason for the Savage’s success. After Iván Muñoz struggled to start the season, Berna Valdovinos has turned Chihuahua’s fortunes around and brings a 12-2-2 record with a 6.04 GAA and .674 sv% with him to the weekend series. For the Stars, Danny Waltman has started every game in goal and is 6-12-2 with a 7.63 GAA and .628 sv%.

Offensively, Nick Perera sits near the top of the league in production with his 46 points on 20 goals and 26 assists. Alex Caceres is a distant second on the squad with 16 points (4G-12A) following the trade of Vini Dantas to Baltimore. After Caceres, Jamael Cox (11G-4A), Alessandro Canale (11G-4A), and Mike Ramos (11G-4A) are tied for third in scoring with 15 points.

The game on Friday will be the Stars’ annual Military Appreciation Night with events planned to honor the local members of our armed forces. The Stars will conclude their 2021-22 home schedule on Sunday at 5:05 pm.