Texas’ homestand to forget continued Friday after a 5-4 loss to San Antonio in an 12-round shootout, extending the Stars’ winless streak to five games and putting their hold on first place in the AHL’s South Division and Western Conference in dire straits.
The Stars have not won in March and have just two points (both in shootout losses) to show for the first four games of their pivotal five-game homestand.
Texas (33-17-4-6, 76 points), are now just three points ahead of idle Charlotte in the South Division and Western Conference standings. Charlotte plays its next five games at home – including two games against the Stars next weekend.
San Antonio goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris stopped 10 of the 12 shots he faced in the shootout, besting the superb effort in the do-or-die period by the Stars’ Cristopher Nilstorp (who knocked away nine of 12 shots). Morris also was able to hold his ground in regulation and overtime, surrendering four goals off 40 Texas shots.
Texas claimed the early lead via a Tomas Vincour power-play goal at the 16:47 mark of the first period. Vincour was stationed just inside the left faceoff circle when he took a cross-ice pass from William Wren and blasted a shot past Grumet-Morris and off the crossbar into the net.
But San Antonio (26-25-1-4, 57 points) responded just 1:26 later with a power-play goal of its own. Former Texas player Greg Rallo whipped a shot under the glove of Nilstorp after a pass from Quinton Howden to knot the game at 1-1.
The Rampage wasted little time grabbing the lead in the second period, scoring at the 2:13 mark on a goal by Zach Miskovic, off the rebound of his own shot and an assist from Jed Ortmeyer.
Texas tied things seven minutes later when Colton Sceviour used his backhand to shovel a deflected shot from Toby Petersen past Grumet-Morris. It was Sceviour’s 15th goal of the season, which leads the team after forward Matt Frazier was called up to the Stars’ parent team in Dallas earlier Friday.
The Stars began the third period with 48 seconds of a two-man advantage when the Rampage’s John Lee was called for cross-checking as the horn sounded to end the second period. They took advantage of that opportunity as Vincour one-timed a pass from Sceviour from behind the net to give the Stars a 3-2 lead just 19 seconds into the third period. It was short-lived, though, because Ortmeyer found a way to stay on his skates long enough while being checked away from the crease to push a shot past Nilstorp to tie the game at 3-3 at the 4:25 mark.
Team captain and defensive stalwart Maxime Fortunus, who had missed the previous seven games and nearly three weeks with an injury, ripped a slap shot from the point for the go-ahead tally for Texas at the 15:06 mark of the third period. But Rallo scored a shorthanded goal with 3:41 to play to send the game into overtime.
Texas faces Abbotsford on Wednesday at 7:30 in the final game of its homestand.