|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
"We came out flat plain and simple," Fortunus said of the third period effort. "We have to find a way to come out with the lead and stick to our game. It's an issue we've been working on this year."
After going up 2-1 after forty, Texas allowed an AHL season record 25 shots in the third period and a San Antonio goal to even it. The Rampage's first shot of overtime beat Jussi Rynnas, his 45th shot faced on the night.
"Jussi was outstanding," said Coach Derek Laxdal. "He gave us a chance to win the game."
"At 2-0, we had good control of the game. A bad call stung us on the penalty kill, an icing that should have been called. But that seems to be a common happening in the AHL right now with some of the local linesman, so that's something we may have to address with the AHL."
Regardless of the officiating, Laxdal conceded, "We didn't show a lot of composure in the third period. We sat back a bit. San Antonio had their way with us."
Texas' combo of Eric Faille, Branden Troock and Jesse Root again had a positive impact in the first two periods despite the loss. They generated the first goal and earned Texas a power play in the second. At the same time, they had a penalty that led to the Rampage's first goal of the night. The fourth line frustrated the Rampage in their defensive zone and drew the holding call that led to Morin's second period power play goal.
Early on, it was Julius Honka breaking in alone thanks to the aforementioned nifty work in the neutral zone by the third line. Eric Faille took a hit at mid-ice and sent a pass to Jesse Root at the blue line. Faille took that hit from two players, giving Julius Honka a chance to walk in unaccosted and backhand the puck over Dan Ellis for the opening goal.
The bottom six contributed further in the second period as William Wrenn drew a holding call on Vincent Trocheck and put his top six on the power play. Derek Meech swooped in low from the left point on the advantage. His initial bid bounced off Ellis and out to Derek Meech.
The Rampage would get one back on the Stars late in the second period. With Branden Troock in the box on a 'closing hand on the puck' call, Jesse Blacker found twine from the left wing dot to set the score at 2-1 after forty. Troock had been attempting to setup a 2-on-1 but got caught being a little overzealous.
The third period was a rough one for Texas. Jussi Rynnas faced 25 shots in the third period alone and stopped 24. The single Rampage goal that did pierce his armor came off a hard rebound from the shot of Steve Kampfer. Connor Brickley finished the play on the backdoor for a 2-2 tie.
Texas managed its way through 4-on-4 overtime and dropped to 3-on-3 overtime with 2:25 left in the frame. Greg Rallo got the initial shot and Maxime Fortunus jumped up to attempt the rebound. Rocco Grimaldi beat him to the puck and counterpunched for the 3-2 game winner.
"Inches make the game," said Fortunus. "If you don't put that puck in, they're coming back at you."
Laxdal added, "It's one of those plays where you get stuck in between. When you go against a speedster like Grimaldi, good luck."
Texas stays in town to play Charlotte on Saturday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Ritchie (call up)
Mangene, Glennie (scratch)
Henderson, Faksa (injury)
Tonight's attendance was 3,106.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - January 29 2015