|Petersen's third of the year (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"It's still early in the season, but these points are huge, absolutely huge," said Toby Petersen, who scored an unassisted tally in the game. "We're happy with the way things are going, but there's a lot to do before New Years."
Coach Desjardins agreed with the assessment: "Six is pretty good. All these games are tough. You probably get tired of me saying it, but they are tight and could go either way."
Once again, after staking themselves to a three goal lead, Texas gave up two in the third period to San Antonio and had a very tight third period to contend with.
"They got early goals in the period to get going," said Desjardins. "It's hard when you give a team momentum. You can't do that; we're going to get burnt."
The Stars came out unscathed tonight though with Francis Wathier's fourth of the year standing up as the game winner.
Jack Campbell had a fantastic night, finishing with 30 saves on 32 shots. On the negative side, Texas lost Scott Glennie in the third period of the game. He got hit hard and went to the bench and later the locker room with his right arm hanging limply at his side. Coach Desjardins said he will be out until at least Christmas.
The Texas power play got it done once again. The first unit featured Travis Morin, Chris Mueller, Scott Glennie, Curtis McKenzie and Jamie Oleksiak. Alex Petrovic found himself in the box for four minutes with a cross-check and an unsportsmanlike for letting the ref know what he thought about the first call. On the second minor, it was Morin scoring his thirteenth goal of the season from the right circle, off a solid pass from Jamie Oleksiak in his first game back with Texas. Chris Mueller had the second assist.
With time winding down in the first, the Rampage failed to clear the puck and Toby Petersen collected and drove the net. San Antonio goalie Rob Madore's own defenseman provided the screen for Petersen's third of the year, which went in far side from the right wing side.
"I was fortunate to be Johnny-on the spot. I saw Hedden in front of the net and wanted to give it to him. He wasn't looking at me. I had to take another step and fortunately a hole opened up for me."
The second period saw Texas extend its lead on a goal that Rob Madore would probably like back. The initial Stars shot by Peters was swallowed up but ended up trickling through the five hole and stopped on the goal line. Matej Stransky attempted to fight through defensemen to poke it in. He scooped the puck off the goal line instead and Wathier finished the play for his fourth of the year.
Jack Campbell continued his stellar play with several pad-extension toe saves and cross the crease pushes in the middle frame. It wouldn't continue into the third period.
San Antonio picked their first goal just a minute into the third period. Campbell had the bottom of the net sealed off, but Garrett Wilson jammed it home off Campbell's skate blade. It was a rather unceremonious tally; the Rampage weren't even sure they scored until the ref signaled.
John McFarland cut the Stars' lead to one with his first of the season five minutes later. Vincent Trocheck drew all the coverage and passed off to McFarland on the left side. He rifled it home to the high glove side for the 3-2 tally.
"We gave them a little life and they capitalized on the miscues," said Petersen.
With time ticking away, the Rampage threw everything they could at the net. After taking a timeout, they pulled Madore for the extra skater. It would be Texas getting the best of that decision with an empty net tally by Curtis McKenzie setting the final at 4-2. It was McKenzie's eleventh goal of the season.
Texas now looks ahead to two games in Oklahoma City, where they could set a new franchise record for wins at seven.
"You want to ride the high but you don't want to get too high off these streaks," concluded Petersen. "You want to carry that momentum forward. We accentuate the positive, but we also looking at negatives and scoring chances against to correct them."
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Gaunce, Sceviour, Fortunus (callup)
Tonight's attendance was 6,273.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - December 18 2013