While Texas never trailed in the game, the Gulls were never more than one behind until the final minutes saw an empty net goal from Texas. Ranford scored the game winner with under three minutes left in regulation to break up a tie at three.
The Stars had yet another low shots-against performance. They only allowed 20 shots for a second consecutive night.
Here's the release:
Brendan Ranford’s hat trick goal in the third held up as the game-winner as the Texas Stars won their fourth straight game in a 5-3 final over the San Diego Gulls on Saturday night in front of 10,491 in attendance at Valley View Casino Center.
Ranford’s game-winner came from the left circle with just under three minutes to play in regulation after Esa Lindell’s point shot bounced off the end boards to set up the Stars forward for his third goal and fourth point in the game. It was the Stars (21-14-3-3) third win in as many games over the Gulls (17-16-1-1) and allowed Texas to close the gap on second-place San Jose in the AHL’s Pacific Division with the Barracuda’s overtime loss on Saturday.
The Stars close out their three-game road trip on Sunday evening against the Ontario Reign at 5 p.m. CST.
Texas jumped out to the lead three separate times only to see San Diego battle back and tie the score before Ranford’s late heroics. The Stars forward scored two of his three goals in the third period as he also pushed Texas in front, 3-2, at 8:40 of the period on a breakaway chance. San Diego’s Chris Mueller came back to tie the game off a tap-in at the left side of the goal crease at 13:50. After Ranford’s game-winner, Brett Ritchie also added an empty-net goal with just under two minutes to play to seal the Texas win.
Maxime Lagace stopped 17 of 20 shots in his first appearance since a 5-4 overtime win over San Antonio on Dec. 29. Dustin Tokarski made his San Diego debut and stopped 14 of 18 in the loss.
Ranford snapped home a wrist shot from the right circle to open up the scoring at 5:27 of the first for his 11th of the season. With just under three minutes to play in the frame, the Gulls responded with a shorthanded goal by Kenny Ryan to knot the game at 1-1.
Texas jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the second from Jason Dickinson’s power play goal at 5:27 from the slot. Ranford tallied the assist on the rookie forward’s ninth of the year, but the Gulls responded again with a power play goal of their own when Nick Ritchie tapped in a loose puck at the right side of the goal crease at 10:04 for his 15th of the season.
Texas finished 1-for-6 on the power play while the Gulls went 1-for-4. With the win, the Stars are also riding a five-game point streak (5-0-1-0).
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Troock, Shore, Johns, Dowling (injury)
Blacker, Evans, Kane, Muse, Kamrass (scratch)
Jamie Oleksiak was assigned to the Stars on a conditioning stint this afternoon.
Tonight's attendance was 10,491.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Diego - January 16 2016