Stars Fight for 4-3 Win in San Antonio to Stay Alive
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, playoff hopes remained alive with a 4-3 victory over the San Antonio Rampage at AT&T Center tonight. The Stars led 3-0 but the Rampage turned three straight into the net to tie the contest before Diego Cuglietta scored the eventual game winning tally.
The Stars wasted no time to test rookie netminder Joel Hofer who was making his professional debut. A little more than a minute into the game, Gavin Bayreuther launched a shot toward the cage from the blue line and was able to slip it through a screen past the young goaltender to open the scoring. Bayreuther's seventh tally of the season ties a personal best in the AHL while he has also recorded two goals in the NHL.
After the first intermission, Ty Dellandrea net his second goal in four games to give the Stars a 2-0 lead. John Nyberg threw a long pass across the ice, leading the rookie center into the offensive zone on a partial breakaway. He got behind the defense and stopped at the top of the crease before tucking the puck into the net.
Michael Mersch added another goal for the Stars nine minutes later to extend the lead. Mersch had the puck alone in front of the net and had his shot saved, but the rebound kicked back to him on the right side of the crease before hammering in his 23rd of the year.
The Stars lead looked convincing, leading 3-0 with one period to play and outshooting the Rampage 26-13 in two periods. For the third straight game, the Rampage mounted a comeback after trailing.
San Antonio ended Jake Oettinger's shutout bid in the third period though as Bobby MacIntyre walked off an offensive zone faceoff and ripped his eighth of the season on the netminder's blocker side. The goal less than seven minutes into the final period was then doubled two minutes later by Jordan Nolan. Nolan broke past the Stars defense and put a backhanded shot through Oettinger to pull within one with his 17th of the season. Texas went on the penalty kill a few minutes later and Ryan Olsen answered with the tying goal. Nolan set up the pass to Mitch Reinke before Olsen retrieved the final pass atop the crease.
The Stars wasted no time to respond. After winning the neutral zone faceoff, Colin Markison stepped into the offensive zone and sent a shot to Hofer's pads. Cuglietta raced to the crease and dove to slip the puck past the Rampage netminder with just 7:48 remaining in the game.
From there, the Stars shut down the Rampage attack and held them off the board to take the win. Oettinger rebounded for his third career win with 24 saves while Hofer took the loss in his pro debut, making 31 saves.
Due to both Iowa and Manitoba taking wins tonight, Texas would require a win tomorrow and also would need both Milwaukee and Manitoba to not gain a point in the final two games of the year. Iowa's 85 points are now out of reach for Texas who is sixth in the division with 82 points.
3 Stars presented by Dahill Office Technology Corporation
1. Diego Cuglietta (TEX)
2. Michael Mersch (TEX)
3. Jordan Nolan (SA)
The Texas Stars are the primary development affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, and wrap up the regular season tomorrow, Saturday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. against the Rampage at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Ticket packages for the 2019-20 campaign are on sale now. For more information or to renew your seats, call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visitTexasStars.com.
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Texas Stars exchange high fives along the bench
(San Antonio Rampage)
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