Brendan Ranford and an invigorated third line were the difference in tonight's 3-1 victory for the Texas Stars tonight in San Antonio. Having gotten all of their goals from the top six in the preceding three games, Texas Stars' coach Willie Desjardins had intoned that his club needed to develop their depth scoring to ensure success.
The addition of Chris Mueller to center Brendan Ranford and Toby Petersen generated the Stars' first goal, Mueller's first of the year. Brendan Ranford picked up an unassisted goal off a misplay by Rampage goalie Dov Grumet-Morris.
Cristopher Nilstorp got the start in net in the penalty-filled affair, which ultimately saw 46 penalty minutes between the two teams and twelve power play opportunities. The Texas tender faced a light load, only 26 shots, and stopped 25. San Antonio's Grumet-Morris stopped 33 of 35.
The Stars started that shot barrage in the first period, outshooting the Rampage 2:1 in the period at 14-7. The scoring got started in the second period early as Chris Mueller scored his first of the year just 79 seconds into the middle frame. Mueller was inserted on the third line with the return of Curtis McKenzie to the first line. Matej Stransky was scratched to make room for Mueller on the line. Brendan Ranford assisted on the goal, his first professional point.
Late in the same period, Garrett Wilson got his first of the period, crashing the net and redirecting the shot of former Star Greg Rallo past Nilstorp. Less than a minute later, Texas pushed ahead again though as Dov Grumet-Morris misplayed a puck and forechecking Brendan Ranford picked up his first pro goal.
The clubs continued to trade penalties in the third period with a number of abbreviated power plays as many of them overlapped. San Antonio pulled Grumet-Morris with just under a minute left and allowed Travis Morin to continue his scoring streak. Morin found the empty net with assists from Max Fortunus and Chris Mueller to total four goals and four assists in eight games.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Stransky, Montgomery, Wrenn (scratch)
Matej Stransky was scratched for the first time on the year tonight.
Tonight's attendance was 6,660.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - October 18 2013