CEDAR PARK, TX- The Texas Stars were the better team for the majority of the action Friday night, outshooting San Antonio 28-7 thru two periods, but would be unable to capitalize on their opportunities, however, and fell 3-2 in a shootout to the rival Rampage inside the H-E-B Center.
The Stars would twice grab the advantage during their dominate opening 40 minutes of action, but both times San Antonio would be quick to respond. The game would enter the final frame locked at two, where the Rampage would take over play. San Antonio outshot Texas 19-5 during the third period and overtime, bringing the total on the night to 33-27 Stars. Stars goalie Mike McKenna came up big over the final 25 minutes to make sure each team received a point, before San Antonio would grab the extra one by winning the Shootout 2-1 and the game 3-2.
The first period would start well for Texas, as they took the play to the visitors firing 12 shots on net in the frame. Rampage goalie Spencer Martin would come up big, as he would all night, stopping 11 of the Stars’ 12 first period offerings.
The Stars would finally break the ice and take the 1-0 edge with 7:13 remaining before intermission. The Rampage won a face-off to the left of Martin, but Denis Gurianov jumped the play and knocked the puck towards the San Antonio net. Martin tried to poke it away from Gurianov, tipping the puck up in the air. Gurianov swung and missed, but took the attention of the Rampage defender, allowing Curtis McKenzie to grab the biscuit and fling it top shelf for his second marker of the year.
The Rampage would respond quickly, though, and would knott the score just 39 seconds later. Klim Kostin carried the puck with strength deep into the Stars zone, beginning a strong cycling play in the corner. Joe Colborne would take the puck from Kostin in the corner and then fire a pass to an open Tage Thompson who had slid into the slot. He wasted little time whipping a shot past McKenna to level the score and send us to intermission tied 1-1.
The second period was very similar to the first, with the Stars carrying play but unable to build a cushion. Texas would take the lead for the second time early in the middle stanza when Jason Dickinson tickled the twine. 4:50 into the period Dickinson set up in the slot, and was in great position to deflect a one-timer shot-pass from Gurianov thru Martin and in to make it 2-1 Stars.
The Stars would hold the lead for nearly ten minutes this time, but once again the Rampage would tie the game. With 6:24 left in the second, San Antonio brought it in on a three-on-three rush. The pass from A.J. Greer found Mason Geertsen, who found the back of the net to equalize. Texas had outshot San Antonio 28-7 after 40 minutes, but Martin and the Rampage were even on the scoreboard.
The Rampage would take control of play during the final 25 minutes of regulation and overtime, but it would be McKenna’s turn to save the day for his squad. McKenna and Texas would face three penalty kills in the third, but they would shut San Antonio down to keep the score level. McKenna’s biggest save came on a snazzy glove grab on a point-blank blast in the period’s final minute.
Both teams created chances in overtime, but the Rampage would come closest outchancing Texas 5-2. Neither team would score and the game went to the skills competition to decide a winner.
Texas shot first and would get a goal from Travis Morin as he opened the five-hole and slid the puck thru Martin’s legs. Colborne would answer for the Rampage, sliding the puck around McKenna to even the shootout. After Martin and McKenna made saves in round two, Martin would stop the Stars in round three giving the Rampage a chance to end it. Rocco Grimaldi would take advantage and beat McKenna as San Antonio would win the shootout 2-1, and the game 3-2.
After the game, Stars center Justin Dowling talked about the opener of this weekend’s three-game set.
“It was good, obviously we got off to a good start,” DoWling said. “Shooting the pUck, and getting the puck on net, i think the shots at one point were 26-4 in our favor. so, we came out hot, obviously in the third we got in penalty trouble and they have skilled guYs, guys who put the puck in the net, so that made it hard on us…But i liked our game, i thought it set up well going into the three games in three nights.”
With the win the Rampage move to 3-1-0 on the year, while Texas picks up a point and falls to 3-1-1. The two squads will square off again tonight at 7, once again inside the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park.
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