|Morin scores the game winner (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
"We bounced back from last night," said Coach Laxdal, referring to Friday's 5-2 loss in San Antonio. "Our team has been good at that all year. It was a well-rounded 60 minute effort."
The Stars were rewarded for going to the dirty, tough areas of the ice against a Rampage club that likes to get physical and use size to its advantage. Coach Laxdal called it a "gutsy effort" from his skaters.
"It's heated up every time against San Antonio," added Matej Stransky. "They are a hard working team, on the body every time. We don't want to give them anything, so we have to stay on their bodies."
Esa Lindell opened the scoring with a shot from the point off a long cycle by Texas. Brett Ritchie collected a goal off the backdoor, taking advantage of Travis Morin's vision to see him open there through traffic. The Stars power play cooked up the third goal of the night with Brendan Ranford tipped Stephen Johns' point shot for the 3-0 lead.
"Coach Laxdal stresses bodies to the net and pucks to the net," said Johns. "We keep throwing bodies to the net, and [the defensemen's] job is to get it through and let the forwards do the work down there."
San Antonio played a chess game on lines all night, cycling through three lines often. Laxdal matched Morin's line with Rantanen to "make him play defense" and neutralize the rookie, who had four points last night. With Rantanen neutralized, Borna Rendulic stepped up with a pair of goals in the second to make Texas nervous. The Stars captain answered back with another play off traffic in front. Julius Honka's point shot rebounded to Morin for the 4-2 tally.
Laxdal noted, "That fourth goal was huge for us, gave us some breathing room and helped us manage our game."
Texas kept San Antonio at bay through much of the third period, partly thanks to a strong forecheck led by Matej Stransky.
"We wanted to send that first guy hard every time," said Stransky. "I felt pretty good today. I forechecked hard today and got some lucky bounces."
With Roman Will on the bench, San Antonio would collect one more goal to bring it to 4-3. Maxim Noreau's ninth of the year would be the final tally of the night though. Philippe Desrosiers, pressed into service in back-to-back nights due to injury to Maxime Lagace, stopped 29 of 32 shots.
Texas jumps on a plane tomorrow bound for Winnipeg. They will play the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday for the first time in five years.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Faksa (call up)
Rallo, Shore, Dowling, Lagace (injury)
Kane, Evans (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 5,951.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - February 6 2016