The San Antonio Rampage returned home earlier this month after venturing to nine different cities and traveling over 7000 miles during the month of February for their annual Rodeo Road Trip. While on the road, the Rampage went 7-3-0-1 acquiring 15 points, tying a record for most wins (7) on the Rodeo Road Trip and setting a record for winning percentage (.682). Over 11,000 fans welcomed the Rampage back to the AT&T Center on March 3rd.
Bill Thomas opened the scoring for the Rampage in the beginning of the second period with his 18th goal of the season and Left Winger Eric Selleck found the back of the net for the 4th time this season to give the Rampage a 2-0 lead early in the third. Less than a Minute after Selleck’s goal, Jon DiSalvatore countered with a goal for the Aeros. That would be all the scoring for the game due to solid goaltending by both Jacob Markström and Aeros goalie Darcy Kuemper. The 2-1 outcome is something that the Rampage are quite familiar with lately, winning 4 of the 6 previous contests by that same score. This is with much thanks to their strong defensive core. Led by the Rampage Captain Nolan Yonkman, the defensemen are working very well together and have been a big part of the reason why the Rampage have managed to come away with points in the majority of their recent games.
The following weekend the Rampage headed up to Austin to start off a three game weekend with two games against the Texas Stars. Although losing in overtime by a score of 4-3 on Friday, the Rampage played a hard game but were given no breaks by the officials. Greg Rallo, Bill Thomas, and James Wright tallied goals for the Rampage. Defenseman Sean Sullivan was the only Rampage player to finish the night above even strength, recording a +2. The Rampage were determined to end the game with a different outcome Saturday. Scoring for the Rampage were forwards Jon Matsumoto, Mark Cullen, Bill Thomas and Michal Repik. Evan Barlow and Colby Robak each had 2 assists on the night as the Rampage rolled to a 4-3 victory over the Stars.
After leaving Austin with 3 out of 4 possible points, the Rampage headed back to San Antonio to face off against the Lake Erie Monsters on Sunday. A shorthanded goal helped the Monsters increase their lead to 2-0 early in the 2nd, but Evan Barlow scored shortly after cutting the Monsters lead in half. Each team went on to score one more goal, with defenseman Colby Robak scoring his 8th goal of the season for the Rampage. Lake Erie beat the Rampage for the 4th time this season, this time by a final score of 3-2.
After a hard loss against the Monsters Sunday, the Rampage were ready to take on the Abbotsford Heat and Rockford Ice Hogs this weekend at home. Michal Repik opened the scoring with his 12th goal of the season with 5.1 seconds left in the first period. A strong start was exactly what the Rampage were looking for but unfortunately Abbotsford answered with 3 goals, and won the game 3-1. The players put the loss behind them and focused on winning against the Ice Hogs Saturday. In the middle of the first the Rampage were down 1-0 after a turnover by Greg Rallo lead to a shorthanded goal for the Ice Hogs. This was San Antonio’s 8th allowed shorthanded goal of the season, and their 3rd shorthanded goal allowed in their past 4 games. Rockford added to their lead with another goal in the 3rd, and sealed their victory by scoring an empty net goal, with just over a minute to play in the game. Despite the shutout, the Rampage penalty killers played exceptionally well in the first period. Scott Timmins had to sit for 4 minutes in the box after being called for high sticking during the last few minutes of the 1st. Moments after Timmins’ penalty; James Wright was assessed a 2 minute minor for Tripping. The penalty killers managed to successfully kill off a crucial 5 on 3, which for a few moments was an essentially 5 on 2 after Rampage defender Mike Caruso blocked a shot and was momentarily hurting.
It’s a tight playoff race for American Hockey League Western Conference Teams. With only 4 points separating the 3rd place and 10th place teams as of Sunday morning, every point counts. The San Antonio Rampage (33-26-3-1) are currently on the outside looking in with 70 points, as they sit in 10th place in the West, just one point behind 8th place Rochester. This weekend was a weekend that both the Rampage and their fans would have liked to have seen with a different outcome, but with two mid week games, the Rampage could be back in the top 8 before next weekend. They finish out a 5 game home stand this week with games on Tuesday and Thursday against the Grand Rapids Griffins before hitting the road next weekend to play the Abbotsford Heat in British Columbia.
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