Back on the ice Tuesday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins, the San Antonio Rampage were hungry for some points to help them move up in the Western Conference Standings. Bracken Kearns got San Antonio on the board first with a power play goal at 6:32 of the first period. Bill Thomas tallied another goal to build the Rampage’s lead to 2-0 heading into the second period. Just two minutes into the period, Jon Matsumoto set up Michal Repik for the Rampage’s 3rd goal of the game. Minutes later Grand Rapids got on the board to cut the Rampage’s lead to 2 goals. The Rampage had the opportunity to regain their 3 goal lead, but Greg Rallo missed the penalty shot he was awarded in the middle of the second. However, Bill Thomas found the back of the net for the second time this evening to allow the Rampage to enter the final period with a 4-1 lead. The third period was all Grand Rapids as they scored 3 goals in just over 2 minutes to tie the game with about 13 minutes to play. The only member of the Rampage to get a puck past Griffins goaltender Thomas McCollum in extra time was Mark Cullen, and that wasn’t enough for the Rampage. The Griffins scored twice in the shootout and went on to win the game 5-4.
48 hours later the Rampage were ready to face the Griffins again at the AT&T Center. Brent Raedek got one past Jacob Markström early in the first to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead. Momentum shifted after Rampage defender Mike Caruso picked up the puck around center ice, passed to Bill Thomas and went to the net where he was able to put the puck past Griffins goaltender Thomas McCollum, a former OHL teammate, to score his 4th goal of the year to start the Rampage’s comeback. The Rampage scored again early in the second period after Michal Repik faked a shot, opting to pass to Greg Rallo instead who’s shot was deflected into the net by James Wright to put the Rampage up 2-1. Repik picked up another assist later in the period on the Rampage’s 3rd goal which was scored by Greg Rallo. The Griffins answered back less than a minute later with a goal by Chris Minard, and the 2nd period ended with the Rampage leading 3-2. The Rampage struck again early in the 3rd when Bill Thomas slid the puck past McCollum after a nice wraparound. This gave the Rampage a 4-2 lead which they held onto nicely until the final buzzer.
After victory Thursday night against the Griffins at home, the Rampage were up bright and early Friday to travel out to British Columbia where they would play their two weekend games against the Abbotsford Heat. It didn’t take the Rampage long to open the scoring Saturday night. James Wright scored less than 7 minutes into the game with the assists on the goal going to Greg Rallo and Scott Timmins. The Rampage built up a nice 2-0 lead before the first 20 minutes were over, with another goal coming from Bracken Kearns. The lone goal of the 2nd period went to San Antonio forward Jon Matsumoto. The goal came from Colby Robak and Michal Repik and was Matsumoto’s 20th goal this season. The Heat finally got on the board 12 seconds after the start of the 3rd period when Ben Walter got the puck past Jacob Markström. That would be the only shot, of 39 total, that Marksröm didn’t stop for the night. San Antonio increased their lead to 5-1 when Bill Thomas scored his 24th and 25th goals of the year. Abbotsford pulled their goalie while on a power play giving them a 6 on 4 advantage at the end of the third, but James Wright sealed the win for San Antonio scoring an empty net goal to give the Rampage a five goal lead with 90 seconds to play. A lopsided score of 6-1 gave the Rampage a much needed and deserved 2 points moving them up in the standings to tie for 5th place along with Rochester, Peoria, and Abbotsford.
The teams didn’t have to wait long before facing each other again as a 1pm PST game was in store for the Heat and Rampage on Sunday. The Rampage came out strong with Greg Rallo and James Wright scoring for San Antonio in the first half of the opening period. Wacey Rabbit scored his second goal of the season with help from Scott Timmins and Tyson Strachan while the Rampage were killing off a penalty. The Heat scored their first goal of the contest at the end of the first and the teams went into the first intermission with San Antonio leading 3-1. Abbotsford closed the gap with about 5 minutes into the second to make the score 3-2, but Bracken Kearns helped the Rampage regain their two goal lead. The Heat went on to score 4 more goals, one in the second period and three in the third, to lead 6-4 with just over 4 minutes remaining in the game. Sean Sullivan scored as the Rampage tried to make a comeback but unfortunately ran out of time. The Heat proved to be too hot for the Rampage in the third, with Abbotsford winning the game 6-5.
The San Antonio Rampage (35-27-3-2) are currently tied with Rochester, Peoria, and Charlotte for the 6th spot in the Western Conference with 75 points, only 2 points away from 4th place Abbotsford. They managed to pick up 5 out of a possible 8 points this week, which helped them move from 10th place to 6th place. The Rampage will be back home in San Antonio to play the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday before taking off for the weekend to play the Rockford Ice Hogs and Peoria Rivermen next Saturday and Sunday.
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