In a hard fought battle to gain ground in the West Division standings, the San Antonio Rampage earned a point with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Texas Stars at Cedar Park Center Friday night.
The Rampage jumped on the board first with Kyle Turris’ 21st goal of the season just eight minutes after the initial puck drop. With a four-on-four matchup, Rampage forward Mikkel Boedker provided San Antonio with a scoring opportunity when he took a shot from the blue line that deflected off of Texas netminder Brent Krahn’s leg pads out in front of the crease. Turris quickly reacted and poked the puck in five-hole past Krahn to give the Rampage a 1-0 advantage.
The Stars evened the score just 3:49 later with Garrett Stafford’s seventh goal of the season. Working the puck from behind the Rampage net, Stars center Aaron Gagnon skated to the left faceoff circle and passed the puck to Stafford who was waiting at the blue line in front of the Rampage bench. Stafford then fired a shot through traffic that beat San Antonio goaltender Josh Tordjman low to the stick side.
Tordjman, who earlier in the day was announced as the winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as AHL Man of the Year for his efforts in the community, turned away five Texas quality scoring opportunities of the Stars seven shots on goal in the first period.
After an eventful first frame, both teams maintained the same energy level and came out fighting. The Rampage reclaimed their lead just 1:22 into the middle stanza with a goal by Rampage center MacGregor Sharp. With his ninth goal of the season, Sharp one-timed the puck from the middle slot on a pass from San Antonio captain Jeff Hoggan at the left half wall to beat Krahn top shelf.
Less than two minutes later, the Stars tied the score 2-2 at the 3:19 mark of the second on a shorthanded goal by Stars left wing Francis Wathier. With a shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Tordjman high on the blocker side, Wathier tallied his 17th goal of the season.
At the 7:55 mark of the second, Rampage center Joel Perrault gave San Antonio a 3-2 lead with his 16th goal of the 2009-10 campaign. Stationed behind the Texas net was Stars netminder Brent Krahn who was attempting to free the trapped puck that was stuck in the netting at the left corner on the backside of the net. Perrault saw an opportunity and was able to free the puck from behind the net and deposited the black disc past the goal line before Krahn could return to defend the net.
With 4:07 remaining in the period, Texas knotted the score at 3-3 on a power-play goal by Gagnon. Receiving a cross-ice pass from Dan Jancevski, who was stationed at the blue line in front of the Texas penalty box, Gagnon fired a waist-high shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle that beat Tordjman stick side.
Each team posted nine shots on goal during the final period of regulation and remained scoreless to extend the game to an extra session. In overtime, Gagnon and Wathier teamed up two-one-one against a Rampage defenseman as Gagnon skated the puck across the blue line into the Rampage zone and sent a pass across the slot to Wathier who beat Tordjman over his right shoulder for the win. The Rampage own a 5-0-5 record overall in overtime and are 3-0-3 in overtime on the road.
Tordjman turned away 20 of 24 Texas shots in the loss while Krahn stopped 33 of the Rampage’s 36 shots for the victory. The Rampage went 0-for-2 on the power play and were 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Rampage (33-30-5-7) will host the West Division-leading Chicago Wolves tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center. Saturday is also Kids Night, presented by SeaWorld, and Jackson Stewart (actor Jason Earles) from the Hannah Montana show, will be on hand to sign autographs during the game.