Jussi Rynnas’ 32-save gem, wacky goal help Texas Stars to 3-2 victory

SAN ANTONIO – Bounces finally went the Texas Stars way in a 3-2 win against the San Antonio Rampage in the AT&T Center.

Midway through the second period Kevin Henderson fired a hard shot at the San Antonio net. It was initially stopped, but hit a pair of Rampage defenders and somehow trickled past goalie Sam Brittain, giving Texas a 3-0 lead.

It was the type of bounce Texas hadn’t gotten in four prior trips to San Antonio. And in a building where wacky bounces had favored the Rampage, the Stars breathed a sigh of relief.

“I guess what goes around eventually comes around,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said.

Of course, the Stars also created their own luck and led before the Rampage even fired a shot at Jussi Rynnas on Tuesday.

On the game’s second shift Scott Valentine fired a hard, low shot at Brittain’s left pad. Travis Morin scooped up the rebound and easily scored his 22nd goal of the season.

Texas outshot San Antonio 15-6 in that opening period and Rynnas bailed his team out when it made its biggest defensive mistake.

A two-on-one chance for San Antonio morphed into a two-on-zero, but the Finnish goalie was able to slide across and get his toe on John McFarland’s seemingly sure goal.

“I remember a guy was passing in the middle and I just try to reach my leg, and it hits somewhere,” Rynnas said. “You need to make those saves if you want to win games, especially this time of year.”

It was Rynnas biggest save in a 32-save performance. It was his second start since returning from a lower-body injury and Rynnas was a calming force that helped Texas kill five of San Antonio’s six power plays.

“Once I got that one big save I really settled,” Rynnas said. “And you see that they (your teammates) are really fighting for you today and it’s fun to play.”

Texas rewarded Rynnas’ play with another early goal in the second period. Brendan Ranford was left all alone on the left side of the ice and easily beat Brittain after a cross-ice pass from Greg Rallo.

Nine minutes later Henderson scored his wackiest goal of the season. It held up as the game-winner after Corban Knight broke Rynnas shutout and Garret Wilson scored on a power play with 5:40 remaining in the game.

This story was originally published in the Austin American-Statesman.

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