Stars crush San Antonio Rampage, sweep weekend series


Niklas Hansson has been eating his Wheaties lately.

The Stars defenseman has five assists and two goals in the last three games and finished with a goal and two assists in Texas' 7-4 demolition of the San Antonio Rampage Sunday night at the HEB Center.

"I guess the puck is bouncing my way right now," Hansson said. "We've been working hard to create some offense. The last couple of games have shown some good results of it. We play from the D zone up to the offensive zone and that creates a lot of good chances."

The Stars beat the Rampage 6-4 in San Antonio on Saturday night. Tony Calderone andColton Hargrove scored in the third period to give Texas the two-goal lead late. Denis Gurianov had two goals in the win.

With four points from the weekend series, Texas currently sits in fourth place in the Central Division, three points ahead of the fifth-place Rockford IceHogs and seven behind the third-place Iowa Wild.

"It's been a pretty good group effort from the forwards and the back end," Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. "We haven't scored a lot of goals the last few months so you're happy for the guys to have a little success. For us to have any success moving forward, it's got to be a group effort and scorer by committee."

Nicholas Caamano scored two goals in the first period with Niklas Hansson assisting on both goals. San Antonio center Ryan Olsen added a goal for the Rampage midway through the period.

It didn't take long in the second period for the Stars to add to their lead when Colin Markison scored his seventh goal of the season just three minutes into the frame. Erik Condra tied for the team lead with his 18th of the season just over three minutes later.

Olsen tallied for the second time in as many periods after a bad giveaway by Gavin Bayreuther near the red line. But Colton Hargrove scored a one-timer with two minutes left in the frame to give Texas a 5-2 lead.

Joel Hanley continued the goal-scoring bonanza 30 seconds into the third period with a shot from the blue line. Hanson finished off the scoring with his sixth goal of the year midway through the third.

"It's crunch time right now," Caamano said. "We really want to make the playoffs. I think we're starting to find our groove and it's late in the season and it's comfortable. We're just rolling and we're encouraging others in the room.

Texas is on the road for its next three games, begging Wednesday night in Manitoba against the Moose. The Stars return to the HEB Center on March 20 at 7 p.m. when they host the Grand Rapids Griffins.

"If you look at the division, the top three teams have kind of run away, so it's four teams battling for that last spot," Laxdal said. "Down the stretch, every game is going to be a grind and it's going to be a sprint to the finish."

Follow @ByZachSmith and @HCNSports on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news on all local and regional sports. 

Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com