Cuglietta's Game Winner Keep Texas's Slim Playoff Hopes Alive in 4-3 Win Over Rampage

The Texas Stars sure made things interesting by allowing three goals in the third period, but they ultimately prevailed over the San Antonio Rampage by a 4-3 score. For now, the Stars are still technically in the hunt for the playoffs, provided they win on Saturday and get help.

Colin Markison had two big helpers on the rush.
(credit: Andy Nietupski)
Rookie forward Diego Cuglietta scored the game winner nearly twelve and half minutes into the third period after a furious comeback by the Rampage. That’s not a bad way to pick up your first career AHL goal. That makes the fifth time this season a Texas Stars rookie has had the game winner count for his first AHL goal.

Jake Oettinger got the nod in net again and responded to his subpar game on Wednesday with a decent outing to give his club a chance. Allowing three goals in rapid succession in the third period isn’t ideal, but it was more of a team gaffe as the Stars were caught out of position several times. Oettinger finished with 24 saves on 27 shots.

Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther got the Stars started off the right way with an early tally from the point just over one minute into the contest. The Rampage started a super green goaltender in Joel Hofer to give him a look. Frankly, it was a goal that should never be allowed, but the Stars took it gladly.

Ty Dellandrea chipped in with his second goal of the season just after the two minute marker in the second period. He finished a feed from Colin Markison on the rush to push the lead to two.

Michael Mersch then followed his own rebound for a goal nine minutes later to give the Stars a commanding 3-0 lead. Just like Wednesday’s game, however, the Rampage didn’t seem to get the memo as they rang off three quick goals in the third period to tie.

Tallies from Bobby MacIntyre, Jordan Nolan, and Ryan Olsen were haymakers that could’ve sent the Stars to the bus with their heads down. Olsen’s equalizer had the building on their feet and forced Texas to regroup on the fly.

But the Stars had one more card to play. On the very next shift, the Stars won the faceoff and Markison once again set his teammate up on the rush. Cuglietta made a diving play to force the puck past Hofer and regain the Stars lead.

The Rampage scored four unanswered goals on Wednesday night, but the Stars were determined to keep it at three on Friday.

Now to get our heads around the playoff scenarios. Iowa beat Chicago in the waning seconds of overtime during Texas’s game to put the Wild in third place for now. The Stars are no longer able to catch them. They will need to both win their final game on Saturday and have Milwaukee and Manitoba drop their final two games in regulation. The odds are long, but stranger things have happened.

The final game of the regular season is against the Rampage in Cedar Park.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett (season-ending ACL injury)
Laberge (upper body)
Morin (upper body)
Cecconi (undisclosed)
Point, Hargrove, Hansson, Damiani (scratch)

Tonight’s attendance was 9,185.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - April 12 2019