After 3 games in two weekends on the road, the new Rampage get to meet their hometown fans tonight at the AT&T Center. The Stockton Heat (former Adirondack Flames, Abbotsford Heat, Quad City Flames, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, etc...) bring their 2-1-0 record to town fresh off a 1-0 win at Texas.
San Antonio doesn't have the best reputation in the AHL for ice quality let's say and there's currently a torrential multi-day downpour happening thanks to the big hurricane in the Pacific, so the arena could be interesting tonight for many reasons. Let's hope it all goes off without a hitch.
Leading off this week top stories, the Avalanche sent this summer's 1st round pick Mikko Rantanen to the Rampage yesterday and recalled Dennis Everberg. Mikko's got some big skates to fill as Everberg had 3 goals and 2 assists in 3 games so far with SAR. Rantanen will wear his familiar 96 in Silver & Black.
Earlier in the week RW Borna Rendulic was optioned to San Antonio after light usage in 3 games for the Avs. Rendulic will keep his #71 jersey.
Ben Street was named this year's captain for the Rampage. Andrew Agozzino & Max Noreau will be the home alternates and Mat Clark & M-A Cliche will wear the A on the road.
Dan Weiss drops the knowledge in this week's Rampage Report with guest stars Max Noreau and Ben Street
Troy Bourke is this week's focus in the "Get to Know" segment
Cheryl has your Rampage Rewind for Week 2 over at BSN. Big announcement also, they will be having a weekly interview with a Rampage player during the season starting with Mikko Rantanen. Watch for it.
The guys at Running with the Herd did their weekly podcast on Tuesday, check it out here.
Chris Bigras posted a game photo of his on Instagram and I noticed that he was wearing the shot-blocker skate guards like everyone on the Avs has adopted. I wonder if everyone in San Antonio has them too.
Spencer Martin made his pro debut last night against the Indy Fuel and crafted a 3-0 shutout. Don't let the score fool you, the Komets didn't tally until halfway through the 3rd and 2 of the goals were empty netters, one by Trevor Cheek. Justin Cohn had a great post-game chat with highlights to boot.
Blake Sebring's weekly Komets Podcast can be heard here.
Recap Week 2
The Rampage traveled to familiar Van Andel Arena for the second match of the season and did some serious grinding to get the 3-2 regulation win. First one in Silver and Black! Andrew Agozzino had 2 goals and Zach Redmond netted the game-winner with 5 minutes remaining. After the 3rd period collapse in Texas it was very promising to see SAR battle back from a goal down going into the 3rd and seal the comeback victory. Also a good sign was winning while dealing with the relentless penalty calling from ref Tim Mayer, who decided that the fans didn’t like 5v5 play and called a total of 15 minor penalties. In the past, this type of active reffing has spelled big trouble for the Monsters/Rampage.
Usually when you travel for a weekend set a win on Friday means you’re happy with whatever may happen on Saturday. You would figure in this case that Grand Rapids, still looking for the first victory of the season, would come out strong and do whatever it took to get the upper hand. Nope. The Griffs came out flat yet again and a little over 5 minutes in they were looking at the red light on behind their goal thanks to Dennis Everberg. A minute later Zach Redmond scored and a minute after that Andrew Agozzino made it 3-0. Late in the 3rd Everberg scored an empty-netter to put it away and Calvin Pickard saved all pucks turned his way for a 35-save shutout.
In the past when the guys have gotten an early lead we have seen the dreaded Turdle. The bench shortens, the aggressiveness wanes and we see a multi-period 5-man PK which tires everyone out and often leads to the opponent getting back into the game late or even a bad loss. Not so this time. The 4th line was out in force in the 2nd and early 3rd, I could swear they played more than the 1st line. All 6 defensemen rolled throughout. There were legitimate scoring chances and only the good play by GRG relief goalie Jared Coreau kept the score where it lay 7 minutes into the 1st. The usual desperation flurry jacked the SOG total up for Grand Rapids late in the 3rd but that was the only sign of laying back with the lead. Very impressive to see and I applaud Coach Dean for keeping the foot on the gas the whole game.
The only lineup change was a line modification, Joey Hishon and M-A Cliche swapped center positions on the 2nd/3rd lines. Other than the 1st line we haven’t seen any scoring so far and the Rampage are going to need some sooner or later. It’s a solid strategy, Hish/Smitty and Clish/Petryk are both similar and spreading roles out should have a good effect down the road.
Given the roster modifications this week it's tough to project a lineup but I'm expecting something like so:
Aggz - Street - Mikko
Martinsen - Hishon - Rendulic
Bourke - Clish - Smitty
Schumi - Big Sam - Pete
Bigras - Clark
Duncan - Max
Geertsen - Redmond
Scratched: Maggio, Labrie
Injured: Bordy (illness)
Injury Report: According to Dan Weiss Bordy was really sick all last week and lost a bunch of weight. No word on his expected return. I noticed midway through the Saturday game that Sam Henley was wearing a full-face mask. I'll see if Dan has any info on that later in the day.
Aggz & Street both have 7 points in 3 games, good for a tie in 3rd in the AHL. Everyone above them has 5 or 6 games played. So they're basically killing it.
Aggz is tied for 4th in goals scored but again everyone above has 5/6 games played
Street is 2nd in assists with 6, behind a guy that has 8 in 6 games played
The Rampage have the 3rd best PP in the league and the 10th PK. Note: Stockton has the #1 PK and hasn't let in a PPG yet.
Calvin Pickard has a .933 Sv% and 2.32 GAA, 9th and 15th in the league among starters. Toss out the Texas game and he's right up with the tops in the league.
Rampage vs Heat Saturday night 8:00pm in the ET, radio on 760 The Ticket
The first trip to California for a pair against Ontario next weekend followed by a Tuesday night game at San Diego
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The beloved Rampage drop the puck an hour before the Avs take on dreadful Columbus tonight. Stop by and say hi.