The beloved Rampage suffered their 2nd regulation loss of the season Sunday in a late collapse to a mediocre Charlotte team. Hopefully that's a wakeup call because Thanksgiving Week is going to be brutal: Four games in six days against the top of the Midwest Division on the road.
- Calvin Pickard was optioned back to San Antonio Sunday and will presumably play most if not all games this week
- Mikko Rantanen missed Sunday's game with an undisclosed injury which Dan Weiss assured us is not serious. I hope and expect to see him in the lineup tonight
- A few of the Rampage players are promoting awareness of men's health issues for Movember. Check out their 'staches and individual pages here
- Coach Dean made some comments over the weekend about Mason Geertsen's usage lately that were somewhat alarming, the basic gist being that Mason has plenty of development time ahead and getting him PT right now might not be a priority over icing what the staff feels is the best nightly defensive lineup. We've all had issues with this in the past with Duncan, Troy Bourke and a couple other Avs prospects. As much as I don't want to arrogantly declare that this is flat out wrong and shortsighted, I kind of want to here. Yes, Mason makes rookie mistakes and I can understand that there are trust issues with putting him out in the 3rd period of close games but once again, I don't see major differences between he and Hubie Labrie and therefore believe Mason should be getting that PT. In the short term, it's a wash at worst and in the long term it's much more beneficial to the organization. Those rookie mistakes aren't going away any quicker by having him in the press box, only experience can help there, and the more experience Mason gets, the better he's going to be later in the season and hopefully in the playoffs.
Martin made his fourth start in a row against Charlotte on Sunday and while he stumbled a bit compared to his first 3 games his stay in San Antonio as a whole was fantastic to see from a 20 year old goaltender. He ends up with a 2-1-1 record, saved 128 out of 139 for a .921 Sv% and a 2.76 GAA. He has markedly outplayed Roman Will and I have a feeling that if Pickard gets called to Colorado again Spencer will come back from Ft Wayne and be the starter, somewhat like the Berra-Pickard situation last year with the Avs.
A lot like the Texas Stars, the Ontario Reign mirror their parent club almost exactly in system and style of play. They came out in the 1st period Friday with a heavy possession game and dominated, netting a couple of goals more or less on Rampage breakdowns in the d-zone. Unlike the Avalanche, San Antonio has an amazing amount of resiliency and patience. They returned to the ice after first intermission and took it to the Reign, stepping up the forecheck and cutting down on turnovers. Ontario got a PPG but Max Noreau got it back minutes later. The 3rd was fairly even but SAR managed to score 2 on the power play, a wonderful blast from the point by Zadorov and a gritty late equalizer from Joey Hishon, to send it to overtime. Coach Dean sent Smitty, Borna & Bigras out 3v3, a clusterfuck ensued and the second point was lost after just 21 seconds. Pretty easy to second-guess the personnel decision but nothing’s worked so far in OT, may as well keep trying different stuff until something does. Just for kicks, next time Dean should do something nutty like Siemens/Henley/Aggz. Not like it could be worse, y’know?
On Sunday afternoon, the Rampage took a 3-0 lead on 3 power play (MOL) goals then gave up 4 straight for their 2nd regulation loss of the season. Their 18 SOG was a low for the year so far but that’s slightly misleading. They had the puck a fair amount of time but a few plays in the d-zone in the last 10 minutes, some poor, some unlucky, were the difference.
It’s hard to take much from this one. They played good, but not as good as usual. They scored 3 goals, maybe a 4th would have changed things in the standings a little but a 3-1 lead should be plenty going into the last 7 minutes of the game. Hopefully a silly collapse like this plus getting Picks and Mikko back for the road trip will inject a little urgency back into the Rampage’s game.
Milwaukee has been red hot lately, winning 9 of their last 10 to take the lead in the Midwest Division. Young Finnish goalie Jusse Saros has won 6 straight so the Rampage need to turn on the goal machine bigtime tonight.
Rockford is the same as ever, a deep veteran team that's going to grind the game away and rely on Michael Leighton to be solid in net. These guys have given us (as LEM) many tough games but they are vulnerable to our speed and forecheck.
Lines from Sunday afternoon:
Scratched: Mikko (???), Mason (nacho)
Obviously Spencer is back in Ft Wayne and Pickard will start. Mikko should be back on the first leaving Hish to go back to center where he belongs. Labrie was fucking awful on Sunday so putting Mason in the lineup would make me and many others quite happy. Would also be nice to see Cheek on the 4th instead of Mags, but we'll see. Dean seems to like having Mags for the heavy teams.
Tuesday night at Milwaukee, 8pm in the ET
Wednesday night at Rockford, 8pm in the ET
Radio on Ticket 760
Standings - SA 2nd in Pacific, tied with MKE for 2nd in WC
Sat/Sun at Chicago
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Tonight's game doesn't conflict with the Avs and Wednesday's starts and hour and a half before the Sens game. Stop by and support your prospects, enjoy!