The San Antonio Rampage (0-1-0-0) had a slew of opportunities in the final moments of Saturday’s Home Opener against the Texas Stars. But in the end, San Antonio was unable comeback from a two-goal deficit, as the Rampage fell to the Stars, 2-1, in front of a crowd of 7,439 fans at the AT&T Center.
Rampage goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris made several highlight reel saves for the Silver and Black to keep it close, recording 32 saves on 34 shots. Grumet-Morris also played in front of a stellar penalty kill unit that went a perfect 8-for-8 on the night.
Rookie Drew Shore scored the first goal of the season for the Rampage with the goalie pulled and 56 seconds left in the third period to make it a one-goal game. The Rampage had several chances in the final moments, but were unable to find the equalizer.
Maxime Fortunus and Toby Peterson had the tallies for the Stars, while goalie Cristopher Nilstrop made 18 saves on 19 shots.
The Stars opened the scoring at 4:49 into the first period when Fortunus took a shot through traffic that was redirected and found its way past Grumet-Morris. Twelve minutes later the Stars struck again when Peterson took a shot that deflected in front of the net and snuck back Grumet-Morris.
"You look at both goals we gave up," said Rampage head coach Chuck Weber. "They bounced off us. First one was off a face-off loss and then unfortunately hit (Casey) Wellman and changed directions on Dov. Second one we won the face-off but we didn't get it out and unfortunately hit (Colby) Robak and redirected going in."
Despite allowing two goals in the first, Grumet-Morris found his groove in the middle frame, making several acrobatic saves to keep the Rampage within striking distance.
"I thought it was a strong first game for our team," said Grumet-Morris. "As far as I'm concerned for my game, two bad bounces in the first period and the biggest thing is you can't let that effect the rest of the game because there's nothing I can do to change those things.
"It's just bad luck and you have to accept that. Bad luck happens on the ice. Everyone experiences it."
Midway through the second period, Rampage center Scott Timmins had one of San Antonio’s prime opportunities when he came in on an odd-man rush and took a shot on Nilstorp, who was able to make a shoulder save.
Grumet-Morris again held strong in the third period as San Antonio killed off a 5-on-3 power play for 1:31 midway through the frame. The Rampage tallied their lone goal on the power play and with their goalie pulled when Shore grabbed the puck off a rebound in the low slot and beat Nilstorp high to cut the deficit in half.
"We showed that if we play teams five-on-five, we can play with anybody," said Weber. "But if we continue to have this parade to the box...we have to stay out of the box. We're wearing too many guys out."
Despite several opportunities in the waning moments, the Rampage were unable to light the lamp.
Prior to the game, the Rampage honored the memory of San Antonio local Jessica Redfield, one of the 17 people killed in the Aurora, Colorado shooting incident earlier this year. A moment of silence was observed and her family was on hand for the ceremonial puck drop. It was also the inaugural game for the “Jessica Redfield Pressbox” which will be named in her honor for the entirety of the 2012-13 season.
"I thought the guys showed some spirit there at the end and now we have to begin with that same spirit (Sunday)," said Weber.
The Herd will go back to work tomorrow afternoon as they welcome the Houston Aeros for an afternoon tilt with faceoff at the AT&T Center set for 3:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 210-444-5554 or at sarampage.com