Playing in their third game in as many nights, the Rampage earned two standings points defeating the Texas Stars by a 5-3 score at Cedar Park Center Sunday evening.
The Rampage took an early 3-0 lead in an eventful first period in which the Rampage faced two Texas goalies.
San Antonio defenseman Sasha Pokulok scored his first AHL goal of the season in his third Rampage game going top self on Stars netminder Todd Ford from the left faceoff dot at the 1:45 mark of the opening session. Rampage center Kevin Porter was credited with the helper on Pokulok’s second career AHL goal that gave the Rampage a 1-0 advantage.
Less than one minute later Rampage blueliner Shaun Heshka added to the Rampage lead with a goal from the high slot that went five-hole past Ford just as Stars right wing Sergei Korostin was stepping out of the penalty box. San Antonio forwards David Spina and Brett MacLean posted the assists on Heshka’s third goal of the season.
Playing just 2:34 minutes, Stars netminder Todd Ford was pulled in favor of Matt Climie after giving up two Rampage goals.
However, at the 7:48 mark, San Antonio center Kyle Turris pushed the Rampage to a 3-0 lead when he skated the puck in along the right wall and fired a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle that bounced off of Climie’s left shoulder and fell into the net. Rampage defenseman Sean Sullivan was credited with the assist as Turris extended his goal streak (5g) to five consecutive games.
Former Rampage right wing Matt Beaudoin put the Stars on the board with a goal at the 11:23 mark of the first period. Receiving a pass from Perttu Lindgren from the left corner, Beaudoin fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that found Pogge five-hole and cut the deficit to 3-1. Stars defenseman Andrew Hutchinson was credited with the second helper on the Stars’ 45th power-play goal of the season.
With 4:51 remaining in the first frame, Texas center Aaron Gagnon brought the Stars to within one goal, 3-2, with a short breakaway that allowed him to skate through the right faceoff circle in toward the crease and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net.
With less than two minutes remaining in the period, the Texas Stars lit the lamp with an attempted wrap around goal by Stars center Warren Peters, however the goal was immediately waved off by AHL referee Jamie Koharski as Texas right wing Ray Sawada picked up a two minute penalty for goaltender interference. Simultaneously, Rampage goalie Justin Pogge picked up a double minor for roughing after pinning Sawada to the ground.
Just over half way into the second period, Rampage penalty minute leader Francis Lessard was assessed a five minute fighting penalty for a battle with Stars penalty minute leader Luke Gazdic that ended in Gazdic falling to the ice.
With just under three minutes remaining in regulation Rampage center Joel Perrault added a goal as he caught Climie out of the net and tapped the puck in from the left post to put San Antonio up 4-2.
The Stars, with six attackers taking on four Rampage skaters, added a goal by Travis Morin to bring the score within one, 4-3, however the Stars were unable to add the equalizer and remain winless when trailing their opponents heading into the third period (0-17-1-1).
Rampage center Gavin Morgan assured San Antonio the win with an empty net goal with four seconds left in the game.
Pogge stopped 28 of the Stars’ 31 shots he faced and picked up his 12th victory of the season. Ford and Climie combined for 22 saves on 26 Rampage shots.
The Rampage (27-25-3-6) return to action on Wednesday when they take on the Houston Aeros at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center. The mid-week matchup will be featured on FSN with Andrew Monaco and Brent Severyn calling the action.