Jason Dickinson celebrates his first period goal against the San Antonio Rampage. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
CEDAR PARK — Jason Dickinson was a bit of a swiss army knife for the Texas Stars in their 6-3 victory against the San Antonio Rampage.
He played wing, he played center, he killed penalties, and he scored a pair of pretty goals.
“He’s been a real asset for us,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “It allows us to have that flexibility with our players and that’s worked out great.”
Dickinson started the game as the left wing on a line with Devin Shore and Matej Stransky and that line wasn’t on the ice for a goal against. Then later in the game — with Gemel Smith serving a 10-minute misconduct — Dickinson was double shifted as a center and as a winger, virtually playing every other shift in the third period.
“Legs are alright,” Dickinson said. “We work out hard enough that I was prepared for that and I’m ready whenever it happens.”
Oh, the goals, they were pretty.
The first one stood up as the game-winner and capped a four-goal first period. He stripped the puck from a Rampage defender skated in and beat Roman Will on the blocker side.
The second goal will certainly make the AHL’s weekly highlight reel.
With Texas leading 5-3, Will charged out for a loose puck with intentions of a poke check, while Dickinson charged in from the neutral zone. Will hesitated and Dickinson won the race, he then proceeded to flip the puck over the goalie, gloved it down, and scored into the empty net.
“I was trying to chip it over him,” Dickinson said. “I think it worked out a little bit better than I expected.”
The Stars were setup to succeed before they even stepped onto the ice.
Earlier in the day the Stars added Patrik Nemeth on a conditioning stint and Devin Shore returned after his first NHL call-up. They also had a boost from Jack Campbell, who made 23 saves in his first start of the season.
On the other side San Antonio lost Calvin Pickard — who has been a thorn in the Stars side — about 90 minutes before the game when he was called up to the Colorado Avalanche.
That forced San Antonio to sign local guitarist Rick Plester to a ATO as an emergency back-up goalie and, barring a horrific injury, Will was going to play the entire game — no matter what.
And the Stars capitalized on their situation.
Texas scored three goals on its first seven shots and gave Campbell a 3-0 lead before he even faced his second shot.
While he had a porous defense in front of him early, Will probably would have been pulled if he had an AHL back-up goalie behind him.
Travis Morin opened the scoring with a highlight reel goal — one that’ll probably make the pre-game opening video soon — when he shoveled home a rebound while falling and being checked by a San Antonio player.
Less than two minutes later Cory Kane scored his second goal of the year, also on a rebound chance, while Brendan Ranford scored 76 seconds later after a crisp pass from Morin.
Dickinson completed the first-period onslaught when he scored shorthanded later in the frame.
San Antonio, and it’s goalie, started to find it’s game in the second period and outshot Texas 15-14 in the sandwich stanza.
Joey Hishon got San Antonio on the board when he spoiled Campbell’s shutout bid, but Texas countered when Greg Rallo hammered home a pass from Smith.
From there, tempers started to flare and the ‘rivalry’ impact was felt in the Cedar Par Center.
With three minutes left in the period Julius Honka was penalized for charging, which prompted a minor scrum and showdown between Smith and Michael Schumacher.
Smith and Schumacher skated face-to-face for about 45 seconds with the Rampage player holding the Texas forward’s collar. The referee then gave both players a misconduct for ‘inciting,’ which isn’t actually a penalty in the AHL rule book (it is a penalty in the NHL).
The Stars had to weather an early storm from the Rampage in the third period when Andrew Agozzino and Nikita Zadorov scored before Dickinson’s second goal.
While he was beat by Dickinson, Will rebounded after the rough start and stopped 27 of 29 shots he faced in the second and third periods.