Brett Ritchie, Brendan Ranford Put Texas Over Iowa 4-2

Dustin Jeffrey (Credit: Ted Sandeen)
The Stars got out to an early lead but would need a pair of goals in the third to win tonight in Des Moines after giving up the lead in the second. The rookies activated again as Brendan Ranford scored two goals and Brett Ritchie picked up the game winner. Kevin Henderson continued his excellent play since coming over from Milwaukee with his third goal and fifth point in three games.

These two points put Texas in full possession of first place in the Western Conference. They are separated from Grand Rapids by two but the Griffins have a game in hand on the Stars. Grand Rapids does not play again until Friday.

Jack Campbell allowed two goals, which actually raised his goals against. He moves to 9-1 and has still yet to allow more than two goals in a game on the season.

Ranford got things started early for Texas with a quick play off the pass from Dustin Jeffrey at the right post. The goal came on Texas' first shot of the game. It was one of fifteen shots the Stars took in the first period, compared to the Wild's single shot. It was the lowest shots-against total for the Stars in a period all season.

Jeffrey and Ranford combined again early in the second period to extend the lead to 2-0 on a close play down low. The Stars top ranked road PK took a hit in the second though as Brad Winchester scored his 18th goal of the year on the man-advantage off the centering pass from Zack Phillips.

Two minutes before the end of the second, Brett Ritchie gave up the puck to Tyler Graovac in the Iowa zone. Graovac raced down on Jack Campbell and scored to even things up at two.

Luckily for Ritchie, he would get a chance to turn from goat to savior with a late third period play by his centerman Justin Dowling. Ritchie tipped the centering pass from Dowling past Gustafsson for the 3-2 lead, one they would not relinquish. Kevin Henderson added his 10th of the season and third as a Star with 60 seconds left in the game. The tally came off a tip from the original shot from Cameron Gaunce. Travis Morin picked up his league-leading 75th point on the play.

The Stars return home on Friday to face OKC.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Sceviour, Mueller (callup)
Wrenn, Labrie, Culligan (scratch)
Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was 3,871.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Iowa - March 19 2014