SAN ANTONIO – With their sweaters and ice decked out in pink, the San Antonio Rampage were determined to not let this game slip away. They could not let it happen, not on this night.
Dakota Joshua netted the game-winner with 3:51 left in regulation lifted the Rampage to a 3-2 win over the Texas Stars (21-20-4) in front of 12,184 fans for the annual Pink in the Rink game at the AT&T Center on Friday night.
“I was happy with our game,” Rampage Head Coach Drew Bannister said. “We did a good job of getting pucks underneath them. We were able to score late in the game and kept with it. We got there in the end.”
The win is the second straight for San Antonio, who will now embark on a month-long “Rodeo Road Trip” beginning next Wednesday in Iowa.
Despite being outshot 15-6 in the opening period, San Antonio got off to a fast start. Nolan Stevens kicked off the scoring just 1:32 into the game with a power-play goal. Klim Kostin fed Stevens with a beautiful no-look pass for Stevens’ eighth goal of the season.
Jordan Nolan extended San Antonio’s lead three minutes later when Stevens had a no-look pass of his own for Nolan’s tally, making it 2-0 Rampage. The Stars cut into the deficit thanks to Jason Robertson banging home a rebound past Ville Husso with one minute remaining in the first period.
“Those goals got us going,” Bannister said. “It gave us energy, guys have been struggling the past few days here. It got us going.”
Following a scoreless second period, Robertson tied the game at 13:07 of the third with a backhand shot for his second goal of the night. With time running out in regulation, Joshua sent a wrist shot from the high slot and beat Texas goaltender Landon Bow for the game-winning goal.
“We didn’t feel any panic on the bench,” Stevens said. “Dakota made a big play and he saved us tonight.”
San Antonio finished the game 1-for-4 on the power play, while Texas went 1-for-3. For the game, the Stars outshot the Rampage 31-29.
The night was bigger than just hockey as the team held its 10th annual Pink in the Rink game, celebrating the lives of Breast Cancer survivors as well as raising awareness.
“Our fans were great,” Bannister said. “The game is important for our players and it was great to have the numbers in the stands for this important cause.”
The Rampage are now 16-18-11 (43 points) on the season and will return to the ice on Wednesday when they kick off their Rodeo Trip against the Iowa Wild (27-14-9) at 7 p.m.