Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vets Morin and Rallo Help Texas Top Rampage 5-4 in OT

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The Texas Stars finished off a three-game series against the Rampage with a big performance from their vets in a 5-4 victory. Travis Morin was playing in his 70th game between the two intrastate rivals and earned four points to put his total at 72 points in the series for his career. Fellow veteran from both sides of the rivalry, Greg Rallo, tallied the overtime game winner on the power play.

"Morin played with a lot of passion," said Coach Laxdal. "Leading this team against a team you played 3 times in 4 nights. As the three games wore on, Travis Morin got better every night. We want to see more guys step into that role behind their captain."

The Stars battled adversity in the contest as Maxime Lagace came out with 2:10 remaining in regulation after tweaking something on a rather routine save around the midway point of the third. John Muse came in with a 4-4 tie on the board and the game on the line.

After the victory, every Star made their way to Lagace for a tap on the pads. "He played really well," said Morin. "You can look to the first period where he made a big save and turned the momentum."

The victory puts Texas on a track that they hope will lead them to a streak. Laxdal added, "If you're trying to string together a winning streak, you can't get two unless you get the first one."

Borna Redulic opened the scoring just 65 seconds into the first period with a wrist shot to beat Lagace high. Stephen Johns answered back off a nice pass from Travis Morin, who found Johns all alone on the right wing side after the Rampage defense collapsed on the Stars'captain.

Morin broke in alone for his first goal of the night, unassisted, beating Roman Will short side just after a Texas penalty expired. He noted, "I think the first one I surprised the guy and jumped him, got a stick on the puck."

Reid Petryk tied up the game with a power play tally to open the second, but it wouldn't stand up for long. Mattias Backman collected just his third as a Star on a juicy rebound of a Derek Hulak shot.

Morin continued his solid night with a shorthanded goal early in the third. Off the pass from Justin Dowling, Morin found twine for his 10th of the year. "The second one, they all went for a change, and our D-man fired it up to Dowling."

Around the halfway point of the third period, Maxime Lagace showed some discomfort after a routine save but did not leave the game. Everberg and Redulic scored for the Rampage in the next two minutes, and the game was tied.

"Our goaltender hurt himself but he wanted to hang in there," said Laxdal. "The injury caught up with him [on the fourth goal]."

Muse came in to close regulation and take over in OT. The Stars got a gift of a holding call early in the frame, setting them up for a long sequence with the extra attacker and a full two minutes of 4-on-3 in OT.

Perennial OT hero, Greg Rallo stepped up, as usual. Morin summarized succinctly, "Rallo has a great shot. He fired it top cheese. That's what he does.

He continued, summing up the team's effort as the calendar is about to turn, "We never give up. We're a resilient bunch even when we get down. That's all you can ask from these guys."

Morin, by the way, is now tied for the AHL scoring lead at 34 points after tonight's four point effort. Texas plays again on Thursday against San Diego.

Tonight's lines:
McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Hulak-Faksa-Rallo
Dickinson-Dowling-Ritchie
Elie-Smith-Stransky

Lindell-Honka
Bystrom-Johns
Backman-Evans

Lagace

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Troock, Shore (injury)
Blacker, Kane, Ully, Mangene (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 4,752.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - December 29 2015

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