The effects that NHL call ups have on minor league teams usually goes largely unnoticed. In the past week, the Panthers have called up Mike Santorelli, Colby Robak, Jacob Markstrom and Scott Timmins. While the Panthers have since returned Markstrom, the rampage were forced to call up goaltender Brian Foster from the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones thus forcing the Cyclones to pick up a new goalie. The point is, minor league rosters are in a constant state of flux. Coaches know this, players know this, and every team does the best they can amidst all the changes. With that being said, lets look at how the Florida Panthers’ minor league affiliates managed this week.
The San Antonio Rampage of the AHL played three games this weekend, all on the road. The team finished up what has been a nine game road trip with a 1-2 weekend. Friday against the Peoria Rivermen, Jacob Markstrom’s absence was felt as Dov Grumet-Morris allowed five goals on 22 shots in two periods of work. Grumet-Morris was replaced by recently called up Brian Foster who stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period. Unfortunately, the Rampage could not muster a speck of offense and lost the game 5-0.
The Rampage followed Friday’s loss to Peoria with a two game series against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Rampage won 6-3 Saturday night but were defeated 7-3 in the Sunday rematch. Quinton Howden led the way Saturday scoring two goals and adding an assist while Grumet-Morris had a bounce back night stopping 40 of 43 shots faced. The wheels fell off in the last game of the nine game road trip as the Rampage were blown out of town in a 7-3 loss Sunday. Grumet-Morris stopped 39-46 shots faced while the Rampage only managed 23 shots on the opposition.
San Antonio, who was displaced from their home arena by the rodeo, finished their road trip with a 5-3-1-0 record. They return home Saturday to face the Chicago Wolves.
The ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones had an extremely busy slate of games playing four in five nights Fri-Tues. There could not have been a much worse time for the Cyclones to lose their starting goaltender Brian Foster, called up to Rampage, but Michael Houser stepped up in a huge way. The Cyclones went 4-0 over this stretch with Houser getting the start and the win in each game. The Cyclones record after the strong weekend is now 35-17-4-2. They have a nine point lead in their North Division and are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.