The San Antonio Rampage have had success recently against their in-state rival Texas Stars. Scoring 18 goals through three games, but poor play over the past few weeks reared its ugly head as the Silver and Black closed the 2014 portion of the schedule.
Bobby Butler scored his 12th goal of the season, but it was not enough as the Stars (13-10-8-0) defeated the Rampage (17-10-3-0) 6-3 in front of 4,392 fans inside the Cedar Park Center on Sunday evening.
Texas got the scoring started before fans even settled into their seats. San Antonio turned the puck over and Gemel Smith buried it past Rampage goaltender Dan Ellis just 23 seconds into the game to put the Stars up 1-0. Butler two minutes later while San Antonio was on the power play, sneaking the puck past Texas netminder Jussi Rynnas to tie the game.
The Stars took back the lead when Curtis McKenzie punched home a loose puck in front of the net for a power-play tally at 13:06 of the opening period to put Texas ahead 2-1 going into the second period.
Garrett Wilson tied the game in the second period with another power play goal at 2:51 of the middle frame. Brett Olsen and Mackenzie Weegar assisted on Wilson’s tenth of the season. Texas took back the lead with Scott Valentine’s first goal of the year and the Stars went up 3-1 when Brett Ritchie beat Ellis at 9:06.
Jesse Blacker scored his first professional goal to cut Texas’ lead down to one. The Stars answered back when Smith buried the puck into an empty net after Ellis came out too far to play the puck, giving the home team a 5-3 advantage going into the third period.
San Antonio outshot Texas 17-3 in the final period, but could not connect. Ellis was pulled for an extra attacker and Ritchie scored the empty-net goal to seal the 6-3 Stars win.
Ellis stopped 24 of the 29 shots he faced, while Rynnas made 37 saves on 40 San Antonio shots. Texas finished the game 1-for-4 on the man advantage, while San Antonio was 2-for-4 on the power play.
The Rampage will now have a break before they begin the 2015 portion of the schedule. They will make their final visit of the season to Utica to face the Comets on New Year’s Day at 3 p.m. inside the Utica Memorial Auditorium.