Jon Matsumoto’s overtime game-winner lifted the San Antonio Rampage to a crucial 4-3 win over the Texas Stars on Friday night at the AT&T Center. The victory reduced the Rampage’s magic number to qualify for the playoffs to just one point.
Drew Shore put the Rampage ahead 1-0 with his first career professional goal at 12:03 of the opening frame. A centering pass from Wacey Rabbit caromed off of Shore’s skate and past Texas backstop Jack Campbell for the game’s first tally.
Texas answered back with less than five seconds remaining in the first when Travis Morin found a loose puck in the slot and fired a shot that eluded San Antonio goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Morin’s 13th marker of 2011-12 knotted the score at 1-1.
San Antonio right wing Bill Thomas restored the Rampage advantage, at 2-1, 3:16 into the second period. The puck bounced out to Thomas as he skated into the slot and he buried a shot into the back of the Texas net to register his 27th goal of the campaign.
Nearlysix minutes later Eric Selleck widened the San Antonio lead to 3-1. He gathered the puck at the left side of the Texas goal andbeat Campbell with a spinning backhander for his fifth marker of the year. At the 11:01 mark of the second the Stars crept back to within one goal, at 3-2, with a tally from Dan Spang. He crashed the San Antonio net and banged home the rebound of an Alex Chiasson shot to record his fourth goal of the season.
Texas tied the game at 3-3 when forward Matt Fraser registered his 10th goal of the season versus San Antonio with 10:34 remaining in the third period. He cruised into the Rampage zone and ripped a wrister through Markstrom’s legs for his 37th score of 2011-12.
Just over a minute into overtime Matsumoto took a one-time feed from Michal Repik and beat a sprawling Campbell to hand San Antonio the 4-3 win. Matsumoto’s marker was his 23rd of the season. Markstrom made 39 saves on 42 Stars shots to register his 16th win of the year. Campbell turned aside 29 of the 33 San Antonio attempts he faced in the Texas loss.
The Rampage (40-29-3-2) travel to Houston tomorrow to play the middle contest of a three-in-three set against the Aeros. Game time is set for 7:35 at the Toyota Center.