Rampage, Moose hang on for wins
SAN ANTONIO 3, TEXAS 2
Joel Perrault broke a 2-2 tie with 5:10 to play as San Antonio opened its season with a 3-2 win over Texas before 7,804 fans at the AT&T Center on Friday. Jeff Hoggan and Chad Kolarik also netted goals for the Rampage.
Hoggan, who led the Rampage with 22 goals last season, potted the club’s first goal of 2009-10 when he beat Stars goaltender Brent Krahn 2:34 into the contest. Former first-round draft picks Kyle Turris and Viktor Tikhonov picked up the assists.
Texas evened the contest at 19:34 of the opening period when Maxime Fortunus netted the Stars’ first of two power play goals on the night, an unassisted marker.
Kolarik, who racked up 20 goals and 50 points as a rookie last year, regained San Antonio’s lead with his first tally of the new season 9:13 into the second frame.
But second-year defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy knotted it up once more for Texas on the man advantage at 11:52 of the third.
Perrault’s game-winner was assisted by Brett MacLean and Sean Sullivan, who earned his second helper of the evening.
Rampage goaltender Al Montoya earned the victory with 20 saves on 22 shots in net.
MANITOBA 4, HOUSTON 3
Manitoba built leads of 2-0 and 4-1 but then had to hold on for a 4-3 win over visiting Houston on Friday at the MTS Centre in both teams’ season debuts.
Attendance for the rematch of last spring’s Western Conference Finals – won by the Moose in six games – was 7,826.
Manitoba captain Mike Keane registered a goal and an assist in the win, and the Moose also got goals from ex-Aero Marco Rosa, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and Marty Murray.
Mario Bliznak and defenseman Michael Funk each chipped in a pair of assists, and reigning AHL goaltender of the year Cory Schneider made 21 saves to pick up the victory.
Trailing 4-1, the Aeros made it interesting with two goals in the final 1:28 of regulation. Three-time AHL All-Star Andy Hilbert, recently signed by parent-club Minnesota, lit the lamp at the 18:32 mark, and Robbie Earl followed at 19:59 before time ran out.
Colton Gillies also scored for Houston, and both he and Hilbert finished with a goal and a helper on the night.
The teams will square off for a rematch on Saturday night in Winnipeg.