Dowling and Ully each score twice in Texas Stars win in San Antonio

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It hasn’t been a good season for AHL hockey in Texas.

The San Antonio Rampage are one of the few teams that have struggled more than the Texas Stars, and entered Sunday’s matinee without a win in the past 10 games.

The trend continued as the Stars won 6-2 at AT&T Center.

The first period began, as these contests between San Antonio usually do, with a frantic start. Just four minutes in, and the teams were up to seven shots on goal.

The most notable difference from Saturday’s game was the blueline. Julius Honka and Dillon Heatherington were paired together (two ex-Swift Current Broncos who were once paired together).

The new additions were the loudest in the first period. Mark McNeill and Heatherington chambered a team leading three shots through the first. But Heatherington made the most critical play of the first period.

San Antonio managed a partial two on one breakaway, which Heatherington broke up on a desperation sliding play.

Despite the 14-7 shots in favor of Texas through the first, the score remained tied at 1-1.

The Stars got on board early to open the middle frame. An Ethan Werek penalty allowed Matej Stransky to score a shorthanded goal from the left circle to beat Spencer Martin. It was Texas’ 11th shorthanded tally of the year.

Justin Dowling padded the lead with a five-on-three power play goal (surprisingly, his first on the man advantage) beating Martin short side to pop the water bottle.

Stransky took a penalty, and like a bad sitcom, San Antonio cut the lead within one thanks to A.J. Greer.

The final period would be all Texas. Justin Dowling scored his second of the night from the top of the right circle.

The assist gave Brandon DeFazio his 9th point against San Antonio in ten games.

The pace maintained itself soon after. Less than a minute after the Dowling goal, Cole Ully found a deflection off a Dillon Heatherington point shot.

Two empty net goals later (Travis Morin, and Ully respectively), and the game became academic without descending into chaos.

The Stars may be mathematically eliminated, but they found a nice groove against a familiar foe. Heatherington and Mark McNeil have settled into their roles, and Justin Peters has rebounded from a tough stretch. Whether or not they can build on this performance is another question, and one they’d had trouble answering all season.

Texas returns to action Wednesday against Grand Rapids at 7:30. Denis Gurianov is expected to play that game after nursing an injury.

Texas Stars Line Up

Jason Dickinson – Travis Morin – Mark McNeil

Brandon DeFazio – Justin Dowling – Matej Stransky

Cole Ully – Gemel Smith – Ethan Werek

Austin Fyten – Mike McMurtry – Matt Mangene

Dillon Heatherington – Julius Honka

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Nick Ebert

Dustin Stevenson – Mattias Backman

Justin Peters

Scratches: Gurianov, Bystrom, Herbert, Hache

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