|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"I thought our guys deserved better," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "It was probably the best 60 minutes we've played all year. [Rampage goalie Calvin] Pickard was the difference in the game."
The Stars came out very hot in the first period, dropping 17 shots on Pickard. Texas was coming off a week of rest and the Rampage were a bit weary from last night's game against Chicago. Despite all their good work, Texas ended the period with a scoreless tie.
"Their goalie carried them through the first 20 minutes," said Laxdal.
Jason Dickinson, who scored in the third, added, "The last two games, we let in some goals early and had to battle back. We knew they would come out fast. Their record shows they do that on the road every game. We were satisfied to come out and not be in a hole."
Gemel Smith broke the scoreless tie in the first with his third of the year. Before the goal announcement could be completed, San Antonio had answered with a goal that rolled up over Lagace's glove and in. Four minutes later, a misplay behind the net from Lagace put San Antonio up 2-1. Mikko Rantanen scored both goals.
Joey Hishon completed the second period scoring for San Antonio with a perfectly timed redirect on the power play. Trevor Cheek tallied his first of the season to open the third and the Stars were in a 4-1 hole.
On consecutive shifts, Andreas Martinson and Jesse Blacker got roughing minors and then Stephen Johns and Duncan Siemens picked up fighting majors after a spirited bout. That play inspired the Stars to drive for the tie.
Jason Dickinson scored on one of the prettiest goals the Stars have had all year, breaking past two defenders to beat Pickard clean on the ice.
"It's hard to score on him," said Dickinson "He's a good goalie but we need to bear down on our chances. I was just lucky to get enough speed coming down the middle that he was caught and couldn't get across in time."
Patrick Bordeleau got a little too much into the "spirited" part of the game and went head hunting on Mattias Backman. As Lagace headed for the bench on the delayed call, he went for another hit on Dickinson. It wasn't quite as thunderous, but Julius Honka hauled Bordeleau down in the fracas and just started wailing on him. Backman left the ice and has a 'mild concussion' according to Laxdal.
"We'll let the league deal with that," added Laxdal.
The major that Bordeleau picked up for the hit was partly negated by Honka's roughing minor. Joey Hishon took a slashing minor and put Texas on a 4-on-3 power play.
Justin Dowling cashed in, not giving up on a puck that Calvin Pickard thought he had covered. Pickard was not pleased with the call.
"There were some antics on the ice with the goaltender on the ice mocking the referee," said Laxdal. "That's not professional."
Texas had a ton of chances as time wound down, even collecting a 6-on-4 with 46 seconds left. A blown call by the linesman on an icing with just seven seconds left put a faceoff at center ice and eliminated any chance of the Stars' tie for overtime.
These two teams will face again in three of the next four games.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McKenzie, Faksa, Shore (callup)
Muse, Bystrom, Mangene (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 6,216.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - November 7 2015