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San Antonio Rampage end road trip with a win over the rival Stars

Rampage beat their cross-state rivals 6-2

San Antonio -- The San Antonio Rampage finished up a successful early season road trip with an emphatic 6-2 win over I-35 rival Texas at the HEB Center near Austin Saturday night.

The Rampage scored five unanswered second-period goals in just 6:25 to blow open a scoreless contest after the Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead.

Not only did San Antonio score five goals in the second period, but Rampage sharpshooters scored those markers on their first six shots of the period.

After Texas’ Travis Morin opened the scoring with a power play goal 4:50 into the middle session, the Rampage responded just 39 seconds later when rookie Dominic Toninato scored his first pro goal with defenseman Jesse Graham and first-year skater Klim Kosten getting the assists. It was Graham’s first game of the season and the former Bridgeport Sound Tiger and Islanders draft pick responded with a spirited game on the blueline.

For Kostin, it was the fourth straight game with an assist for the young Russian skater, who also tangled with Texas center Curtis McKenzie three minutes later.

Colorado defender Andrei Mironov showed amazing patience with the puck to set up the next Rampage goal less than a minute later, taking the puck from the left point to the left faceoff circle, and waiting for Tage Thompson to get to the net. Mironov, on a conditioning assignment from the Avalanche, whipped off a pass to the crease with the puck deflecting over Texas goaltender Landon Bow off a Stars skate for a 2-1 Rampage lead at 6:25.

Reid Petryk then picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and scored on a partial breakaway, plowing into Bow with the puck crossing the goal line moments before the net came off its moorings exactly three minutes later for an unassisted goal and a 3-1 San Antonio edge.

Just over a minute later, Mironov snapped off a terrific pass from his own end to a streaking Toninato at the Stars line, and the former University of Minnesota-Duluth speedster slipped the puck under Bow for a 4-1 Rampage lead at 10:49 shorthanded, the first San Antonio shortie of the year.

A Stars’ turnover high in their own end resulted in A.J. Greer picking up a loose puck and feeding Felix Girard who zipped a high backhander past the shellshocked Bow at 11:54 to boost the Rampage lead to 5-1 with his first of the season and signaled Mike McKenna to grab his glove and replace Bow in goal for Texas.

The Rampage’s five goals in a period is the most for an AHL team this season, and helped improve their record to 4-1, including three straight on the four-game road trip. The only blemish was a 5-4 setback in Bakersfield last weekend, followed by a 3-2 win in San Jose against the Barracuda. The Rampage won Friday night at Texas, 3-2 in a shootout when Rocco Grimaldi scored the winner along with fellow shootout scorer, Joe Colborne, who scored an empty-netter Saturday night for the 6-2 final with the Stars.

Goaltender Spencer Martin’s work in the San Jose and Texas contests boosted his record to an AHL best 3-0 with a 1.62 GAA. Martin’s sharpness was most appreciated in Friday night’s win, as the Rampage were outshot 28-7 after two periods, with the score tied 2-2. St. Louis farmhand, Ville Jusso was exceptional Saturday night, stopping 34 Texas shots, including some clutch glove and pad saves that frustrated Stars shooters.

The Rampage will try and sweep the 3-in-3 with Texas Sunday afternoon with a 3 p.m. faceoff back at the AT&T Center.

TOP NOTCH—Kudos to Mironov, who has joined the team and contributed with sharp outlet passes and a desire to jump into the offense as well. His crossing pass toward the streaking Thompson for the go-ahead Rampage goal Saturday night was a thing of beauty, as he waited on the outskirts of the left circle and fired the pass that deflected into the net. Mironov also showed stamina in Friday’s game vs Texas, when the Rampage had only four defensemen for the first 10-minutes of the third period. First-year defender Nicolas Meloche was assessed a game misconduct with a dangerous boarding hit on Justin Dickinson in the second period, and when Duncan Siemens was given a 10-minute misconduct in the stanza's last minute, the Rampage were down to Mironov, Mason Geertsen, Jordan Schmaltz and Chris Butler on the back end but kept the Stars off the board. The Rampage even managed to outshoot the Stars, 14-3 in the third period.

Gertseen scored his first AHL goal after 91 games with a wrister at 13:36 that tied Friday’s game at 2-2.

Andrew Agozzino, who scored the game-winning goal vs. San Jose with less than three minutes remaining, now needs one more goal to hit 100 in his AHL career.

Rocco Grimaldi’s next point will be his 100th in a Rampage uniform.

Saturday night’s win was the 100th meeting between the Rampage and Stars in eight-plus years of driving up and down I-35 in South Texas.