Ben Gleason's Three Point Game Shoots Stars Past Rampage 5-2

The Stars continued their winning ways at home in a 5-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Thursday, making it five straight in Cedar Park. Rookie defenseman Ben Gleason was spectacular throughout the contest, notching a pair of goals and an assist with his effort. Second year blue liner John Nyberg also helped carry the scoring load, picking up his first professional goal in the latter half of the second period.

“Any time you can get your back end to contribute in the game, you usually end up winning,” said Stars head coach Derek Laxdal. “When you get three goals from the back end, that’s very important.”

“Tonight was a big night for our back end,” added Gleason. “Everybody was feeling really good after the break. And right now we’re rolling.”

Ben Gleason after his second goal.
(credit: Andy Nietupski
Center Roope Hintz and winger Michael Mersch both had two points as they combined with Joel L’Esperance to give the Stars a new look. “I tried to load up two lines here tonight,” said Laxdal of the decision. “I thought they gave us a great game there. They scored off the rush, and did a great job in the O zone. I liked what I saw.”

Rampage forward Jordan Kyrou has been on an absolute tear, having produced fifteen points in his last eight games. He added to that total as he scored both of San Antonio’s goals in the first half of the game, once on the power play and once at even strength. After allowing those two markers, Stars goaltender Landon Bow really settled in and finished strong with 24 saves on 26 shots.

The Stars buckled in as a whole after Kyrou’s power play one timer eight and half minutes into the game. They went hard on the forecheck and gained significant zone time in the latter half of the frame. Hintz scored his first goal at the tail-end of a long shift after an impressive zone keep and set-up by Gleason with six and a half minutes left in the period.

“I thought we started playing well after about the ten minute mark in the first. And then we started to gain some traction with our speed. [San Antonio] was playing real tight in the neutral zone. We started to loosen the game up as we went along, getting some pucks in deep.”

Mersch scored his goal nearly three minutes into the second period when he cleaned up a rebound and roofed it past Ville Husso giving the Stars a 2-1 lead. Kyrou’s second goal came on a slick wrister from the low right circle a couple minutes later to tie.

Nyberg found twine with six minutes left in the middle frame. Hintz found him pinching down towards the top of the circle, and Nyberg’s wrists did the rest. It had been a long time coming, and somewhat of a relief, for the Swedish rearguard. “That’s a dream, right?” offered Gleason. To score a professional goal. So it’s good for him. We’re all proud of him right now.”

Gleason’s two goals that came in the third period were only eleven seconds apart, and they broke the game open for good. Seven and a half minutes into the period, Justin Dowling set him up on an identical play to Nyberg’s. On the ensuing face-off, the Stars won possession, and Gleason feathered a prayer from the center ice logo. It was clearly an attempt to get a puck deep into the zone, but it took a fortunate bounce through Husso’s five hole.

“It’s definitely something that people always make jokes about, but I was lucky to have one go in tonight.”

“I thought I really thought our guys played a solid game, especially coming off a little Christmas break,” concluded Laxdal. “We got a big kill in the third period, and then came right back and scored. And then we got the lucky bounce on the fifth goal and the game was basically done from there.”

The Stars are at home again for the Ontario Reign on Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Norrish, Point, Payne, Laberge (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 5,137.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - December 27 2018