A night after earning a hard-fought road victory over one West Division rival in the Houston Aeros, the Rampage defeated the West Division-leading Texas Stars, 4-1, in a Sunday afternoon “Lone Star Faceoff” matchup at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio entered the contest with both a 1-3-1-0 record against the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate and high hopes of earning their first victory against the Stars since the opening night of the 2009-10 AHL season on October 2, when the Rampage defeated Texas 3-2 in San Antonio.
On Sunday, three early San Antonio penalties assessed by referee Kyle Rehman over the course of three minutes and twenty-three seconds, cost the Rampage as Texas opened the scoring at the 12:47 mark of the first on a power-play goal by center Warren Peters. After failing to score during their first two power play opportunities, Texas converted on the third as defenseman Brad Lukowich and forwards Perttu Lindgren and Peters set up in a triangle formation in front of the Rampage net. Gaining control of the puck in the high slot, a pinching Lukowich sent a pass down to Lindgren on the left post. Lindgren then found Peters in the slot, where the Texas forward fired a shot off the inside of the right post and into the net.
The Texas power-play goal represented the first power-play goal allowed by San Antonio in their last seven games.
San Antonio evened the score two minutes and fifty seconds later on a goal by center Kyle Turris. After receiving a pass from right wing Chad Kolarik, forward Matt Watkins carried the puck down below the left faceoff circle and fired a shot from the goal line off the chest of Texas goaltender Matt Climie. Turris then crashed the net and immediately fired the rebound off the leg pads of Climie before tapping in his own rebound through the legs of the netminder to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Watkins’ assist represents his ninth point in his last eight games and his fifth point in his last two, while Turris’ goal was his third in his last three games.
Late in the second period, Texas defenseman Raymond Sawada was assessed a penalty for boarding. Taking advantage of the extra room for puck movement as a result of the power play, San Antonio defenseman Shaun Heshka gained possession of the puck near the top of the left faceoff circle and sent a pass to right wing Mikkel Boedker in the high slot. Using Texas forward Travis Morin as a screen, Boedker then fired a high wrist shot that was tipped by Hollweg in front of the crease past Climie and into the Texas net. Hollweg’s goal, at the 15:07 mark of the second, was the first of the season for the veteran left wing.
San Antonio entered the final period of play with a 5-0-1-0 record when leading after two periods at home, while Texas entered Sunday 0-2-0-0 when trailing after two frames on the road.
With Texas searching for the equalizer, the Rampage added to their lead at the 11:59 mark of the third on left wing Brett MacLean’s 14th goal of the season. Controlling the puck on the left halfwall, Turris began to skate toward the Stars net before sending a pass to Chad Kolarik in the left corner. Kolarik then fired a shot along the goal line that tipped off Climie’s stick and landed near the right post, where MacLean fired the puck into the top left corner of the net to increase the Rampage lead to 3-1.
Instead of settling for their two-goal lead, San Antonio continued to pour on the pressure and added to their lead at the 14:43 mark of the third on an unassisted goal by rookie center MacGregor Sharp. After winning a battle to a loose puck in the right corner of the Stars zone, Sharp fired a shot from the corner off the left side of the Texas net. Climie lost sight of the puck and looked to his left, leaving the near side of the goal wide open for Sharp to gather the rebound off his own shot and wrap the puck into the goal to increase the San Antonio lead to 4-1.
San Antonio netminder JoshTordjman was named first star of the game after matching a Rampage season high in saves, turning away 44 of 45 Texas shots en route to his sixth victory of the season. Stars goaltender Matt Climie made 28 saves on 32 San Antonio shots in the loss.
The victory marked the 200th career professional head coaching victory for Rampage head coach Ray Edwards.
The Rampage return to action on Wednesday as they welcome the Syracuse Crunch to the AT&T Center for a 7 p.m. matchup.