|(Credit: San Antonio Rampage)|
The end result was less than ideal. The Stars were competitive in the early going but let the game get away from them in the second half. At one point they allowed three unanswered goals, which was hard to overcome.
The rookie Max French gave the Stars early momentum with his second goal of the year less than three minutes into the game. Denis Gurianov kept his foot on the gas and drew a penalty shot, but only found the stick of Spencer Martin who drew the start for the injured Ville Husso. The French line made a lot of positive noise early. Not only did they account for the lone goal, they also generated a few good looks. One of their shots from the point was deflected in front of the net and hit the post.
Though Texas spent enough time in the offensive zone, puck possession was fairly even among the two teams early on. The Stars turned the puck over in their own zone to set up a point blank chance but caught a break as the puck went wide of the net. The Rampage drew a hooking minor and got their extra attacker out onto the ice during the delayed penalty. They hung onto the puck for about a minute of play and executed a couple of one-timers that Landon Bow shut down.
Bow continued his recent string of strong play in the first period, including on San Antonio's first power play of the game. He had to be on his game as the Stars were outshot 12-7 in the first period. Coming off his two goal game on Wednesday, Stars captain Curtis McKenzie had a quality scoring chance from the right circle that was denied by Martin.
Andrew Bodnarchuk started the second period with a quality chance off of a quick neutral zone transition. It appeared to give the Stars a charge but it didn't last long. After an icing committed by Texas, they were forced to take a draw in their zone and it led to a goal by A.J. Greer to keep up his point per game pace. Alex Belzile kept the pressure turned up for San Antonio and redirected a shot in front of the net to put the Rampage up by one and continue his five game point streak. Both of Belzile's goals this year have come against Texas.
The teams traded power plays on penalties committed by Roope Hintz and Jordan Schmaltz respectively. Schmaltz cross-checked McKenzie after taking issue with a play from the captain that he didn't like. Both penalties were killed off, but San Antonio quickly scored their third unanswered goal as Tage Thompson batted a puck out of the air into the net. It was Thompson's sixth goal of the season.
The Stars couldn't quite tilt the ice back in their direction late in the second period, and Bodnarchuk committed a tripping penalty to send the Rampage on their third power play. McKenzie made a good play on the forecheck to help kill the penalty off, and the Stars went into the locker room down by two.
Coach Derek Laxdal blended the lines in the third period to try and generate some scoring. It was successful in that the Stars had a few early attempts that were initially turned away by Martin, but the strategy eventually paid off. Jason Dickinson followed up on a rebound and scored for his eighth goal of the season. The Stars then had a chance for the equalizer on the power play. Newly acquired Reece Scarlett was driven head first into the boards to draw the penalty. Dickinson had a tip-in opportunity, but the Stars were blanked on the power play going 0 for 3.
The puck didn't bounce the Stars' way later in the third, and a centering pass from San Antonio bounced off of a skate and into the back of the Texas net. The play went under a lengthy review, but the call on the ice stood. Andrew Aggozzino was awarded the goal. As if things weren't already getting away from the Stars, Rocco Grimaldi redirected a puck in front of the net to score and close the door on a potential comeback.
The Texas Stars continue their road trip on Tuesday, November 21st at 7 PM against the Chicago Wolves.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Bayreuther, Rallo, McNeill, Ully (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 6,704.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - November 18 2017