Friday, December 21, 2018

Roope Hintz Scores Twice as Texas Beats Rampage 5-2

The Texas Stars responded to their recent loss to Chicago with a 5-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Friday night. With his family in from Finland and watching from the stands, Roope Hintz was the best player on the ice and finished with two goals in the contest.

Stars head coach Derek Laxdal commented on his brilliant young center after the game. “I thought he was outstanding tonight,” he said. “He showed why he’s going to be an NHL player. That’s the Roope Hintz we want to see every night.”
(credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Rookie defenseman Shane Hanna notched his first career AHL goal on a beauty of a wrister halfway through the second period to give the Stars a 3-2 lead, which they would never relinquish.

About Hanna, Laxdal said, “He did a great job getting that shot to the net with the screen in front of the goalie’s eyes. We like the way he’s playing. He battles. He’s been cut so much in the face here in the last year, it’s good to see him get rewarded.”

Several other players also helped carry the scoring load with both Nick Caamano and Colin Markison picking up two points a piece.

The Rampage scored twice in the first period, and the Stars answered both times within a few minutes. On the first San Antonio goal, Rampage winger Samuel Blais capitalized on a power play, beating Landon Bow from the right circle on the power play just over four minutes into the game.

The Stars had been 12-6-1-1 in games in which they scored at least one power play goal heading into Friday. That positive trend held to form. They answered the San Antonio goal during 5-on-3 play as Joel L’Esperance buried the centering feed from Erik Condra with a one timer to make it 1-1. Condra, who had eight points in five games against San Antonio heading into Friday, picked up his 200th career assist on the play.

Though they scored on the man advantage early, they finished 1-for-6 on the night. Laxdal mentioned that as an area that could have been better. “I thought our power play struggled a little bit. We got the one goal on the 5-on-3, and then we were real sloppy after that.”

“I think we can be a little bit better on the power play,” Hintz agreed. “But otherwise it was a good game.”

Rampage Connor Bleackley was left unmarked streaking towards the net with three minutes and change left in the first period. He picked a corner on the centering feed and put the Rampage up momentarily. Hintz’s first goal of the night tied it up again less than thirty seconds later on a neutral zone pass from Caamano. “I just try to get ahead of the D and get good position,” said Hintz of the play.

Defenseman Joel Hanley also picked up an assist on his first game back in Cedar Park.

Bow was not great in the first period, but bounced back in a big way, locking things down for the rest of play. He finished with 21 saves on 23 shots.

Michael Mersch earned a penalty shot eight minutes into the middle frame, but his attempt to go five hole only found Ville Husso’s shin pad. What followed was Hanna’s goal to give the Stars the lead just over halfway through the game.

“Once we got the 3-2, I thought we started to carry the game from there,” said Laxdal.

The Stars added the finishing touches in the third period when Michael Mersch tried to find Hintz during a 2-on-1 rush, but was stalled on the exchange by a sprawling defender. He created a loose puck situation instead with a chance from Caamano, and Hintz buried the rebound.

Markison’s empty netter with thirty seconds left in regulation pushed the score to 5-2. The tenor of the coaching staff and the dressing room after the game was that the Stars could’ve been better in a couple of areas, but they’ll gladly take the two points as the division standings continue to tighten.

“We weren’t at our best tonight, but we were good enough to win.”

The Stars are right back at it tomorrow in San Antonio. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.

Tonight's lines:
Mersch-Hintz-Caamano
Morin-L'Esperance-Condra
Mascherin-Dowling-Naas
Laberge-Hargrove-Markison

Heatherington-Hanley
Hanna-Gleason
Nyberg-Hansson

Bow

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

Tonight’s attendance was 5,172.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas v. San Antonio - December 21 2018

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