The San Antonio Rampage hosted a road-weary Texas Stars team on Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Center. The Rampage hoped that fresh legs would serve as a catalyst for snapping an eight-game winless streak, but unfortunately, brilliant play by Texas netminder Brent Krahn proved to be the deciding factor in the contest, as the Stars defeated San Antonio by a 2-0 score.
The matchup featured two clubs heading in different directions of late. San Antonio entered Sunday’s game winless since October 18, while Texas arrived to the Alamo City with a 7-0-2-1 record in their last 10 games.
Texas, playing their fourth game in five days, placed early emphasis on limiting time spent in their own zone and shortening shifts to preserve their heavily-taxed legs.
The Rampage attempted to counter the Stars’ moves with speed and flurries of shots throughout the opening period. San Antonio’s best chance of the period took place midway through the frame when center Kyle Turris fired a shot off Krahn’s leg pads, setting the stage for two quick rebound shots by left wing Ryan Hollweg and right wing Viktor Tikhonov, both of which Krahn saved.
The Rampage outshot Texas by a 12-8 margin in the first and hoped for better fortunes in the second period.
Following the first intermission, San Antonio continued to fire shots at will, doubling Texas in shot differential, only to see the same results thanks to more strong play from the Stars netminder.
Despite being outshot 16-8 in the period, Texas found the scoreboard first with 1:19 remaining in the second frame. Working on the power play as a result of a slashing penalty by Rampage netminder Al Montoya, Stars center Perttu Lindgren found Texas defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy on the left point. Vishnevskiy then fired a quick wrist shot that hit Montoya in the chest and trickled through his legs, with Stars center Warren Peters waiting to tap it in.
Down by one goal with one period to play, the Rampage refused to relinquish hope and matched their shot total from the previous period, firing 16 shots on Krahn and limiting Texas to a mere six shots of their own. Once again the Rampage effort was to no avail as the Stars netminder displayed why his stats render him the AHL’s premier goaltender thus far.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Rampage head coach Greg Ireland pulled Montoya to provide San Antonio with an extra attacker, only to see Stars rookie Sergei Korostin earn an empty-net goal on a pass from Texas right wing Mathieu Beaudoin.
In the contest, San Antonio limited Texas to 22 shots on goal, nearly tying the season-low 21 shots to which the Rampage limited Chicago on Friday, and set a new Rampage season high for shots of their own with 44 on the evening.
In the end, one goal and remarkable goaltending were all the Stars needed to secure their 12th win of the season and perpetuate San Antonio’s winless streak.
Krahn stopped all 28 Rampage shots that he faced for the win, while Rampage goalie Al Montoya made 20 saves on 21 shots in the loss.
The Rampage continue their homestand on Friday when they welcome the Peoria Rivermen to the AT&T Center for a 7 p.m. matchup.