|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
Calvin Pickard, who stole the last matchup between these teams, was recalled to Colorado this afternoon. Then, Texas unloaded a magazine on backup Roman Will, providing more than enough run support for the season debut of Jack Campbell.
"Jack was solid," said Coach Laxdal. "I thought he was trying to stay calm in net."
"He made some big saves for us. It's just like a player going into his first game in a while. He's going to be a little rusty. It was great to get him run support so he could settle in.
Jason Dickinson picked up two goals, including the game-winner, to extend his tally on the year to five. His second goal was a beautiful individual effort to pop the puck over goalie Roman Will, who had come out to play the puck, catch it himself, drop it and tap it into the empty net.
"I was trying to chip it," said Dickinson. "I got a little lucky. The goalie hesitated on me so I got a lucky break there."
Travis Morin and Cory Kane scored with two minutes of each other in the opening minutes of the first period. Brendan Ranford made it 3-0 on the seventh shot of the game before the seven minute mark and in any other game, you've got to believe that Will would have gotten the hook. Things were complicated by the fact that San Antonio had local amateur league goalie Rick Plester behind Will, providing no option for San Antonio's Dean Chynoweth to reset with a new goalie.
Morin put in his fourth of the year on the backhand while falling down off the return pass from Justin Dowling. Cory Kane's tally came on a rebound of Matej Stransky's initial shot and marked Emil Molin's first AHL assist. Brendan Ranford made it look easy with a laser off the pass from Travis Morin and both of them had a goal and an assist. Texas had a 3-0 cushion.
The Stars were outshooting the Rampage 12-1 midway through the period.
To end the period, Jason Dickinson found twine on a steal and breakaway shorthanded. Low blocker on Will was good for his fourth of the year and Texas' fourth of the night.
Dickinson noted, "As a kid, you're preached low blocker. I saw a good opening there and the goalie went for the deke."
The second period saw an improved Rampage club. Will made some really solid saves that had the Stars looking skyward in disbelief. Quite a turnaround.
"We had such a great start," said Laxdal. "You always try to reinforce a full 60 minutes. San Antonio gained energy in the second, and it was a good chance for our group to grow a little bit."
Joey Hishon broke up the shutout for the debutant Campbell early in the second, but Texas had an answer. On a shift where a Texas goal seemed like an inevitability thanks to their zone possession, Greg Rallo potted his fifth of the year. In the low slot, Rallo one-timed a slick pass from Gemel Smith behind the net for the 5-1 lead.
The Rampage came out strong to start the third period.
"In this league nobody gives up," said Dickinson. "San Antonio has a great record and kept battling."
Andrew Agozzino scored on a bang-bang play off a centering pass from Max Noreau. With Nikita Zadorov's point shot, the Rampage were within two and put the Stars on their heels.
Dickinson's aforementioned beauty of a chip shot goal polished off the scoring and took the wind out of San Antonio's sails.
These two teams will play again on Sunday. The Stars will play Stockton on Saturday.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
McKenzie, Faksa (callup)
Lagace, Mangene, Ully, Evans (scratch)
Elie (day-to-day upper body)
Tonight's attendance was 5,526.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - November 11 2015