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Forward Andrew Crescenzi scored with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation and the Ontario Reign (21-10-2-1) came away with a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars (21-15-3-3) in front of a sellout crowd of 9,491 on Sunday at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“I just tried to spin it and jam it in front of the net and luckily it went in,” said Crescenzi on his third goal of the season. “It was a close game and both teams played pretty well; especially it being both our third game in two and a half days, but it was nice to get the two points.”
In his season debut, netminder Michael Houser made 21 saves in the net for Ontario, while Stars goaltender Philippe Desrosiers also recorded 21 stops.
“We did a good job blocking shots,” said Houser. “Our penalty kill forward check was really good today. They didn’t have too many scoring chances off of it.”
Stars forward Jason Dickinson opened the scoring at 13:38 of the second period, burying a shorthanded goal into a wide open net on an errant pass by Houser.
“I thought he was good. It’s too bad he didn’t get a shutout. Just got to work on that puckhandling skills," Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers said after the game.
Ontario continued to build on momentum, coming up with several scoring chances in the middle frame that carried on into the third period.
At 6:33, Ontario brought the fans to their feet when defenseman Vincent LoVerde fired a shot from the point and Nic Dowd grabbed the rebound and lifted it over the right shoulder of Desrosiers. The tally marks Dowd’s fourth goal in the last three games. Sean Backman earned the secondary assist for his 29th team-leading point on the year.
“I’m trying to get to the net more. Obviously, I think that’s where the goals are scored as opposed to the perimeter with shots,” said Dowd. “Backs made a good play to stop the rim and got the puck under the point and I just tried to get there as quick as I could.”
Houser spoke about his AHL debut after the game: