CEDAR PARK — It was the longest five-minute stretch of Devin Shore’s professional career.
After taking a tripping penalty with 50.9 seconds remaining in a tied game, Shore had to sit in the penalty box during the dry scrape that lasted 5 minutes, 19 seconds before overtime began in the Texas Stars 5-4 season-opening victory against the San Antonio Rampage.
“Felt like I was on an island,” Shore said. “I was really nervous … felt a lot longer than five minutes. Pit in my stomach. It was a bad feeling.”
He then watched Travis Morin, Esa Lindell, and Stephen Johns kill the remainder of his penalty, before he charged out of the box with more jump, turning the Texas Stars first 3-on-3 overtime game into a 4-on-4 competition.
“A lot more energy and a lot more motivation,” Shore said. “I was so nervous in the box, so I owe a lot to them.”
He also had more to celebrate when he scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway — converting a high-flip pass by Stephen Johns into a Peter Forsberg-esque finish.
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 11, 2015
“Once I got the puck I was just playing hockey,” Shore said. “I remember getting the puck and us celebrating in the corner.”
Johns’ flip pass was just as impressive as the finish, and the defenseman said he knew Shore would be pushing forward.
“I knew everyone on the ice was pretty tired and Shoresy had just gotten out of the box, so I knew he was going to have some energy,” Johns said. “And I just saw him take off and tried to get it to him. Thought I could try a flip, and luckily it worked out.”
It capped a come-from-behind win for the Stars, who trailed 3-1 entering the third period.
Brendan Ranford scored twice to tie the game, first on a short-side wrist shot, and then on a breakaway before Radek Faksa gave Texas a temporary 4-3 lead with his second goal of the night.
Ben Street tied the game with 68 seconds remaining for San Antonio and almost won the game when Shore was in the box, but Lindell made a goal-mouth clear.
Despite the scare, Texas took overtime and the team’s effort impressed Stars coach Derek Laxdal.
“What a third period for the kids,” Laxdal said. “They battled their butts off and responded in the third period. When you have a huge change of players and influx of young players, it took some time to find the game a little bit.”
Earlier Andrew Agozzino gave San Antonio a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the season when he corralled a loose puck and beat John Muse on the second shot of the game.
San Antonio doubled the lead less than four minutes later on power play goal by Maxim Noureau.
Overall, it was a rough first period for Texas.
San Antonio was the better team off the opening face-off and could have been up 3-0 if Agozzino had converted on a breakaway 90 seconds into the game.
Texas seized momentum in the second period and cut into San Antonio’s lead when Faksa scored on a wrist shot.
The goal was set up on a slick passing play by Greg Rallo and Curtis McKenzie, who worked the puck behind the net before connecting with Faksa in the slot.
It energized the Stars who continued to pressure Rampage goalie Calvin Pickard, but couldn’t find an equalizing goal in the second period.
That hurt Texas when San Antonio re-built it’s two-goal lead on a 5-on-3 power play goal by Dennis Everberg.