Sunday, October 5, 2014

Texas Stars End Preseason With 6-1 Throttling of Rampage

Three goals from defenseman point to potential strong suit on the team...
Maxime Fortunus had two goals. (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Stars defense showed off what should be a strength of the team this season, scoring in bunches from distance. John Klingberg opened the scoring and Maxime Fortunus added two of his own from the point to defeat the San Antonio Rampage in both team's final preseason action.

"We have some good [new] guys like Honka and Klingberg," said captain Fortunus, who scored two goals and earned first star honors. "They're new blood that's going to help our offense a lot. They are good defensively at the same time. We've always been a team that's good in our own end, and that's how we generate offense."

The Stars iced a lineup very close to what they expect to put out against Iowa in this Saturday's season opener. The Rampage put a lot of tryout players into the contest as they worked to determine who would make their 2014-15 squad.

"It was a chance to bump some lines around," said Coach Laxdal. "There are a few spots being fought for here, Karlsson and Smith trying to establish themselves in the lineup. We had some good situations. We have a good core group of players who can bring it every night."

The power play, which was the best in the AHL last season, was hot today with two goals to their credit.

"Teams are going to look to stop it for sure," said Fortunus, reflecting on last year's success. "We're just going to do our thing. We are going to go out there and outwork the other team. It's about our power play."

Goaltending looked solid again as Jussi Rynnas started and Jack Campbell finished. The tandem only allowed one goal on 29 shots.

John Klingberg opened the scoring in the first period. The only goal of the frame was assisted by Brendan Ranford as he slid the puck up to Klingberg at the point off a faceoff scrum. His shot beat Houser for the 1-0 lead after twenty. Shots were 11 to 6 for Texas.

In the second, penalties started to affect the game. Many of those Rampage skaters trying to break into the lineup were finishing their checks with frequency. Even some who aren't fighting for a spot, like Vincent Trocheck, were dropping the shoulder.

Curtis McKenzie scored a pretty one on a defensive breakdown by the Rampage in the second. Derek Meech left a drop pass for Justin Dowling at the top of the left wing circle. He quickly rifled it over to an uncovered Curtis McKenzie, who scored on the one-timer for a 2-0 lead.

Late in the period, the captain, Maxime Fortunus, dropped two from distance to set the score at 4-0. His first was a power play goal, assisted by the same Justin Dowling and Brett Ritchie. Two minutes later he scored off a deft play by Radek Faksa to slip a pass back to the right point. A ready Fortunus beat Houser farside on a Howitzer of a shot for the 4-0 lead.

Texas got into penalty trouble itself in the final frame. Taylor Peters and Curtis McKenzie found themselves in the box for a San Antonio 5-on-3. AHL vet Mark Mancari scored from the point as well to break up the shutout and cut the lead to 4-1 for Texas.

The Stars would engage their special teams once again late in the period. On the power play, Justin Dowling would score for his third point of the night off a brutal turnover in the slot by San Antonio. The Stars ended up practicing their penalty kill late in the game, ceding another 5-on-3 but not breaking.

Radek Faksa added an empty netter to make the final 6-1.

Texas will take a day off tomorrow and hit the ice for practice again on Tuesday. They will open their regular season schedule on Saturday against Iowa.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Dowling-Ritchie
Ranford-Hulak-Troock
Henderson-Faksa-Stransky
Peters-Karlsson-Smith

Gaunce-Fortunus
Klingberg-Jokipakka
Honka-Meech

Rynnas
Campbell

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Full scratches and injuries will return for the regular season.

Scott Glennie and Greg Rallo are day-to-day and were held out this weekend to get them rest. They could practice this Tuesday. Monday is a day off for the team.

Travis Morin was given a maintenance day after playing in so many preseason games for Dallas.

Today's attendance was 2,640 .

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