The beloved Rampage head to Grand Rapids for a 2-game set against the Griffins this weekend. In their Monsters incarnation, the Ramps played the Griffs well and often. This should be a good indicator of what's changed and what hasn't to begin the new season.
- Leading off this week's top stories, defenseman Cody Corbett was optioned to the Komets on Tuesday. Obviously it's not a great thing to be demoted but Corbett spent a lot of last year in street clothes and getting little playing time when he did dress. I think he's going to thrive playing all the time. He's got 2 years left on his ELC and needs to prepare for having a big year in 16-17.
- The Komets begin their season tonight at Kalamazoo with the home opener tomorrow
- Our friends with the Rampage start their "Get to Know" series this week with a look at Mason Geertsen
- Cheryl has your Rampage Rewind for Week 1 over at BSNDenver
- Blake Sebring of the Ft Wayne News-Sentinel profiled Garrett Meurs this week. Blake is also doing a weekly podcast this year, in this week's episode he's pretty bullish on the Komets' talent coming out of camp.
- Speaking of podcasts, Nate & JP from Running With the Herd's latest show recaps last week's game vs Texas. Interesting side note, Nate discussed a survey from Spurs Entertainment that asked about how tied to the uniforms, name and branding of the Rampage that season ticket holders were. Could we see the San Antonio Avalanche in burgundy and blue next year?
- Sean Shapiro from Hockey's Future wrote a good piece on Calvin Pickard this week, check it out.
Recap - SAR vs Texas
The Rampage began their 15-16 season against the Texas Stars last Saturday. After leading 2-0 after the 1st and 3-1 after the 2nd, they gave up 3 goals in the 3rd and squeeked into OT after a fantastic 6v5 goal from Ben Street. Texas scored on their 3rd breakaway goal of the game to win 5-4.
1st line - Aggz/Street/Everberg. These guys were fantastic, picking up 18 of the team's 37 shots on goal and 3 of the 4 goals - all 3 had at least a goal and assist and Street went 1G/2A with 11 SOG.
2nd line - Martinsen/Hish/Smitty. This line was decent but didn't really click. Hishon had 2 assists but they were both on the PP. I've never liked Hish & Smitty together, they're very similar and tend to cancel each other out.
3rd line - Bourke/Clish/Bordy. Bordy still looks hurt and was terrible, Dean finally benched him for Reid Petryk in the 3rd. Other than that they were pretty ineffective. I don't see this mish-mash lasting long, there's just no identity there.
4th line - Schumi/Big Sam/Pete. As 4th lines in the AHL go, this one is pretty stout. They did their jobs well defensively, were able to move the puck and all 3 participated on the PK.
1st Pair - Siemens/Noreau. The most consistent pair for SA, Noreau looked great out there. He had a goal on the PP and an assist on the late 6v5 score. Duncan quietly played solid D and that allowed Max to be Max.
2nd Pair - Bigras/Clark. Clark is nursing a minor injury and missed the second half of the 1st period. He wasn't all that good overall but Bigras was fantastic for a rookie. He gets pigeonholed as a defense-first guy but every game I've watched in the pros has had him jumping into the play and making things happen in the offensive zone. His shot might not be much to look at but he can definitely get the puck deep with his passing and skating and if the right guy is with him when that happens he's going to put up some points.
3rd Pair - Mason/Reds. Redmond had a grisly game, very reckless. I've seen guys come down to the A after playing in the NHL get wide-eyed at all the space and time but you still need to dial back the excitement and play solid D. Mason had a good game and would have looked a helluva lot better had his partner been even slightly responsible.
Goaltending - Calvin Pickard. Not a great game but he was let down by the D badly on 4 of the 5 goals. Two breakaways, an idiotic 2v1 coverage by Clish and a terrible turnover behind the net by Clark were the main culprits. Picks thrives on lots of work and once the season gets going and the D pairs solidify, we shouldn't see games like this anymore.
The Griffins are 0-2 after a trip to San Diego last week but the speed and skill are still there. It's a cliche (not M-A) but throw out the records when these two teams get together, at least that's how it was in Lake Erie. It will be interesting to see if that carries over with the new affiliation.
Practice lines this week:
Clark - undisclosed injury since camp, I'll say probable
Beaupre - shoulder(?), doubtful
Bordeleau - still recovering (?), doubtful
Friday night at Grand Rapids 7:00pm ET, radio on 760 The Ticket
Saturday night at Grand Rapids 7:00pm ET, radio on 760 The Ticket
The weekly Rampage Report from Dan Weiss guest stars Coach Dean and Hish
The home opener vs Stockton next Saturday night
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Tonight's game serves as a great lead in to the Avs/Ducks and Saturday's has no Avs conflict either. Stop by and support your beloved prospects!