Gaunce Tallies Four Assists, Four Players Record Three-Point Games
SAN ANTONIO, TX – The Texas Stars secured their first South Division title in team history with a blowout 8-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage Sunday afternoon at AT&T Center. Cameron Gaunce had a career-high four assists, while Justin Dowling, Mike Hedden, Reilly Smith and Scott Glennie all had three-point games for the first place Stars.
Reilly Smith opened the scoring for Texas with a sizzling wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Dov Grumet-Morris to the near post into the top right corner of the net at 10:13 of the first period. Six minutes later Jack Combs tied the game for the Rampage, but that only lasted for 75 seconds before the Stars reclaimed the lead. Leading scorer Colton Sceviour scored his 21st goal of the season on a back-door tap-in from a beautiful cross-crease pass from Travis Morin at 17:26. Just 33 seconds later Mike Hedden found the net, assisted by Scott Glennie and Jamie Oleksiak, and Texas carried a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Stars continued the onslaught early in the second period as Morin beat Grumet-Morris with a wrist-shot at 2:33, assisted by Smith. Glennie scored on a rebound for his fourth of the year at 6:07, from Gaunce and Hedden, to put Texas ahead 5-1 and chase Grumet-Morris from the game. Backup Brian Foster came in and just 1:21 later Justin Dowling tipped-in a shot from Gaunce at 8:31 to give the Stars a 6-1 lead. The Rampage stopped the bleeding at 12:52 when Jared Gomes’ shot from the point eluded goaltender Jack Campbell to cut the San Antonio deficit to five. However, Dowling made it 7-2 with a power play goal when captain Maxime Fortunus sent the speeding forward off on a breakaway. Dowling took the pass, raced into the zone and lifted a backhand off the underside of the crossbar and in for his second goal of the game at 16:54. Texas out-shot San Antonio 14-4 in the second period.
The Stars capped off the scoring in the third period when Dowling made a dazzling cross-ice pass to find Hedden on the far post for a tap-in at 11:36 and an 8-2 lead. The goal was Hedden’s second of the game, his 13th of the season, and was assisted by Dowling and Gaunce. The assist gave Gaunce four for the game, marking the first four-point game by a Texas Stars player this season.
Jack Campbell stopped 16-of-18 shots to record his 19th victory of the season in goal for Texas, passing Cristopher Nilstorp for the team lead in wins. Dov Grumet-Morris took the loss in goal for San Antonio, allowing five goals on 17 shots in the first 26:07 of action. Brian Foster gave up three goals on 15 shots in 33:53 of relief. The win mathematically clinched the South Division regular season crown for Texas, the first division title in club history. The six-goal win was the largest margin of victory of the season and the Stars equaled a team record for most goals in a single game (8). It was the third time in franchise history they have scored eight goals in one game and the second this (January 19th at Peoria, an 8-4 win).
The Texas Stars will complete their five-game road trip on Tuesday, April 16th as they once again travel to San Antonio for a 7:00 p.m. showdown with the Rampage at AT&T Center. The Stars next home game is on Friday, April 19th against the Houston Aeros at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s game at Cedar Park Center is a $3 Beer Night and another Texas Lottery Lucky Section Night, where fans can win scratch off tickets from the Texas Lottery when the first Stars player scores a goal. 2013-14 Season Tickets are now on sale. Put your deposit for 2013-14 season tickets and receive priority for both Texas Stars 2013 Calder Cup playoff tickets and 2013-14 season seat selection. For more information on Texas Stars season tickets call (512) GO-STARS (467-8277) or visit www.TexasStarsHockey.com.
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Photo: Josh Huskin