At some point in the third period Saturday night, Denis Gurianov took over.
The Russian forward scored a hat trick in the third period, helping the Stars run away late in a 5-1 home win against the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night and move into second place in the Pacific Division.
“It felt great,” Gurianov said. “I told the guys on the bench I was going to get the hat trick for sure.”
The first goal used his speed as he exploded from mid-ice and powered in for the score. The second was a perfect one-timer from the right side, and the third showed off his strength from close range.
He celebrated is first ever AHL hat trick with a mock hat toss of his own as the fans showered the ice with their own lids.
“He’s really coming along in the last month and shown some spurts,” Stars head coach Derek Laxdal said. “He’s stringing two or shifts together and then two or three games together and gaining some confidence.”
Phil Desrosiers made his first start of the season for Texas and made 23 saves. Desrosiers has made 26 appearances with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL with a 2.74 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He fills the spot of Landon Bow, who was called up to the Dallas Stars on Saturday morning.
“I work so hard down there,” Desrosiers said. “My goal all summer was always to play one more game in the AHL. I’m just happy to be here and I’m very proud of myself. Here every pass is on the tape and there are fewer turnovers.”
The Stars also acquired a couple players on Saturday. They sent Mark McNeill to the Nashville Predators for defenseman Andrew O’Brien and acquired forward Tyler Kelleher from the Milwaukee Admirals in exchange for future considerations.
In the first game of the home-and-home series on Friday night, Texas got out to a two-goal lead thanks to a pair of shorthanded goals. But the Rampage rallied back with four unanswered goals to win 4-2.
“I liked our response,” Laxdal said. “We answered the bell as a team. We had more of a physical presence as a team tonight. We took over as the third period went along. We’ve had some tough battles with them and there’s some animosity built up between both teams.”
Texas took the lead midway through the opening period. Justin Dowling’s initial backhanded shot was saved, but Hintz was there to jump on the loose puck and help it trickle into the net. It was his 14th goal of the season.
Despite going on the power play twice and taking a 4-1 advantage in shots early in the second period, the Stars couldn’t convert.
San Antonio got on the board with two minutes left in the frame when Oskar Sundqvist banked a shot off the post from the slot. The goal came right after a four-on-four period and Texas had three defenders on the ice.
In addition to the dominance of Gurianov in the final frame, Austin Fyten scored his fourth goal of the season midway through the period off a feed from Tommy Thompson.
The Stars stay at home for the next two games, hosting the Tuscon Roadrunners Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. before playing three games on the road against the Milwaukee Admirals and Iowa Wild.
“I just need to be good every night,” Desrosiers said. “I haven’t played a lot here, but I hope to and when they call me I want to make a good impression and wait for another call.”