Rampage – 4
Stars – 3
The Rampage have not fared well in Cedar Park Center since it’s opening in 2009, seeing more than their share of bad luck. Tonight, the tables turned and luck–along with goalie play–was on their side despite being badly outplayed for much of the game.
After a scoreless first period that saw the Rampage get outshot 17-7, the Stars struck first as Gemel Smith stashed home a rebound off the end boards giving the Stars a lead less then three minutes into the middle period. Just 37 seconds later, though, Stars goalie Maxime Lagace couldn’t handle a Mikko Rantanen wrist shot from the left circle and the game was tied.
The Rampage struck again less than four minutes later as Lagace badly mishandled the puck behind his own net and Rantanen picked up the loose puck off the stick of Reid Petryk and tucked home the easiest goal he’s going to score this year. Joey Hishon added a power play goal on a deflection of a Chris Bigras slapshot at 17:01 and the Rampage held a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Trevor Cheek would add to the lead at 3:27 of the third on a very nice Rantanen pass from behind the net and it seemed the Rampage were on their way to another victory.
The Texas Stars had other plans.
After Jason Dickinson pulled the Stars to within two on a nifty individual effort goal, Patrick Bordeleau took a major penalty for Boarding and Joey Hishon a Slashing minor (and Game Misconduct for Abuse of Officials) within 43 seconds of each other. The Stars would capitalize as Justin Dowling slammed home a loose puck in the crease which drew the ire of Rampage goalie Calvin Pickard.
The Stars kept the pressure on the rest of the game, but Pickard was up to the task as he turned away 18 of 20 shots faced in the final period and 45 of 48 for the game, earning him 3rd Star honors from the Texas media. The Rampage are now unbeaten in regulation in all nine games played this season, extending the franchise record.
- Mikko Rantanen 2g-2a
- Jason Dickinson 1g-1a
- Calvin Pickard 45 Saves
Postgame Sights and Sounds
Will update with Dan’s audio as soon as it becomes available.
What it Means
The Rampage (.833) maintained their lead over the San Diego Gulls (.800) in the Pacific Division with the win and, more importantly, prevented the Stars (.682) from getting any points.
The Rampage return to home ice tomorrow at 4pm for a rematch against the Wolves. Nikita Zadorov will make his Rampage debut.