This week, the San Antonio Rampage paid a visit to Rosemont, Illinois to close out the series against the Chicago Wolves and write their name on a ticket to the second round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Rampage headed to Chicago with a 2-0 series lead in a best of 5 series. Due to the Florida Panthers recalling goaltender Jacob Markström and defenseman Tyson Strachan, the Rampage would be without two key players.
Tuesday night, the Wolves got on the board half way through the first when Jordan Schroeder got the puck past Rampage goalie Dov Grumet-Morris. The Wolves increased their lead to 2-0 at the end of the first when Darren Haydar scored his second goal of the series during the last minute of play in the first period. During the second period, the Rampage power play had their chance to shine. Chicago took 3 minor penalties in the period and young defender Alex Petrovic one timed a pass from Evan Barlow to put the Rampage within one of the Wolves. The Rampage headed into the final period trailing 2-1. During the last minute of play in the 3rd, Darren Haydar scored an empty net goal to restore Chicago’s 2 goal lead with 38 seconds to play. With Grumet-Morris back in the net, and 2 seconds remaining, Bracken Kearns fired a shot past the Wolves goalie, Eddie Läck, to make the final score 3-2 in favour of Chicago.
24 hours later, both teams were back on the ice at the All State Arena. Jon Matsumoto won a face-off in Chicago’s zone and got the puck back to the defenseman Mike Caruso who blasted a shot from the point that found its way past Eddie Läck. San Antonio led 1-0 just 43 seconds into the game. The Rampage held the lead until Chicago evened the score with just over 2 minutes left in the second period on the power play. Midway through the third, former Florida Panther and San Antonio Rampage forward, Steve Reinprecht, scored his second goal of the night to give Chicago a 2-1 lead with 8 minutes remaining. Chicago once again scored an empty net goal during the final minute of regulation, to seal their victory. With the Rampage dropping games 3 and 4, they could only look ahead to game 5 Friday night where the winner would take all.
After heading to Chicago with a 2-0 series lead, and dropping the first two games in Chicago, the Rampage were in a must win situation if they wanted to keep their Calder Cup dreams alive. Luckily for the Ramage, they would be able to welcome back Strachan and Markström into their lineup after being with the Florida Panthers for few games. The score was still 0-0 after the buzzer ended the first period due to tremendous goaltending by both Läck and Markström. 6 minutes and 46 seconds into the second period, Eddie Läck played the puck outside of the trapezoid area penalizing the Wolves. The Rampage took advantage of Läck’s blunder and Evan Barlow put the puck in the back of the net to give the Rampage the first goal of the game. The third period began with a 1-0 Rampage lead, and remained that way until the 8 minute mark when Mark Cullen increased the Rampage’s lead to 2-0. Minutes later Chicago cut the Rampage’s lead in half when Brad Hunt was able to finally get a puck past Markström. With just 1 minute and 8 seconds remaining in the third period, Haydar tied the game to send it to overtime. After a scoreless first overtime period it was on to the second overtime. Just a little over 5 minutes into the 2nd overtime, Roman Derlyuk scored what may be the most important goal in the history of the San Antonio Rampage to win the game. After a solid 85 minutes of play, the Rampage emerged victorious and secured a spot in the second round for the first time in franchise history
You can watch highlights from Friday’s double overtime thriller here: Highlights of San Antonio vs. Chicago Game 5
The Rampage advance to the second round and will face off against the Oklahoma City Barons next in a best of 7 series. The schedule is as follows:
1-Oklahoma City Barons vs. 6-San Antonio Rampage
Game 1 – Thurs., May 3 – San Antonio at Oklahoma City, 7:00 CDT
Game 2 – Sat., May 5 – San Antonio at Oklahoma City, 7:00 CDT
Game 3 – Mon., May 7 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 7:00 CDT
Game 4 – Thurs., May 10 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 7:00 CDT
*Game 5 – Fri., May 11 – Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 7:00 CDT
*Game 6 – Sun., May 13 – San Antonio at Oklahoma City, 4:00 CDT
*Game 7 – Tue., May 15 – San Antonio at Oklahoma City, 7:00 CDT
*– If Necessary
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