The Rampage welcomed the West-Division leading Texas Stars to the AT&T Center for a Sunday night “Lone Star Faceoff” matchup. The Stars were playing their third road game in as many days, but showed no signs of jetlag from their Sunday morning flight from Chicago as Texas beat San Antonio, 4-1.
The Rampage entered Sunday’s game having won their last three games, while Texas arrived to the Alamo City after emerging victorious in their last two.
In the previous meeting between the two clubs, San Antonio outshot the Stars by a 44-22 margin, but fell to Texas, 2-0, on November 15 at the AT&T Center.
On Sunday, the Rampage were the aggressors early on and opened the scoring at the 7:53 mark of the first on a goal by center Joel Perrault. After receiving a pass from right wing Chad Kolarik in the high slot, defenseman Sean Sullivan found Perrault on the left half wall. The right-handed Perrault then sent a crossing pass, toward left wing Brett MacLean in the slot, that deflected off the stick of Texas left wing Francis Wathier and then off the heel of Texas defenseman Dan Jancevski and through Stars rookie netminder Richard Bachman’s five-hole to give San Antonio a 1-0 lead. The goal marked San Antonio’s fifth power-play goal in their last three games and represented Perrault’s eighth straight game with a point, tying the AHL season high in that category.
Texas evened the score at the 8:30 mark of the second period on a goal by right wing Mathieu Beaudoin. During an attempted San Antonio breakout, a forechecking Texas center Perttu Lindgren forced a turnover at the San Antonio blueline and sent a spin-around pass down to center Travis Morin on the right post. After receiving the puck, Morin connected on a one-timer with Beaudoin on the left post to beat Rampage goaltender Justin Pogge and tie the game at 1-1.
The Rampage outshot the Stars 13-9 in the second and headed to the final frame with a 1-1-0-0 record this season when tied after two periods. Texas entered the contest with a 0-1-1-1 record in the same category.
After nearly nine minutes of back-and-forth play, Texas gained the lead when Stars right wing Tyler Shelast raced down the right side of the ice with the puck and beat Pogge high to the glove side with an unassisted goal to provide Texas with a 2-1 lead with 11:04 remaining in the third.
Following Shelast’s goal, the Rampage hoped to even the score once again, but made things hard on themselves by way of an untimely penalty. After San Antonio rookie center Colin Long was whistled for interference with 4:17 remaining in the game, Texas earned a power-play goal a minute later when center Warren Peters redirected a slap shot from the right point by defenseman Andrew Hutchinson inside the left post to increase the Texas lead to 3-1.
Seeking to induce immediate offense and pull within one goal of the Stars, Rampage head coach Ray Edwards pulled Pogge with less than two minutes remaining, but Stars left wing Francis Wathier intercepted a Rampage pass in the neutral zone soon thereafter and sent the puck down the ice into the empty San Antonio net to seal a 4-1 Stars victory.
The Rampage outshot Texas by a 34-24 margin in the game. Pogge made 20 saves on 23 Texas shots in the loss, while Bachman turned away 33 of 34 San Antonio attempts in his AHL debut.
San Antonio will return to action on Wednesday night for a 6 p.m. contest against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Rampage will then travel to Milwaukee, Peoria and Houston before returning home to the AT&T Center to face off against Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 18.