The beloved Rampage have hit their first bumpy patch of the season, losing their last 4 and only gaining points in two of those. This weekend features a back-2-back at the Chicago Wolves who defeated San Antonio in OT a couple times earlier this month.
- Dennis Everberg was waived by the Avs on Thanksgiving and cleared on Friday, he should be in the lineup against the Wolves tonight. Evs had 3G/2A in 3 games earlier this year with the Rampage. Coach Roy mentioned that he wasn't as aggressive as he was last year, which I agree with, and that possibly he was trying to too hard to score, which I don't. Regardless, the 10 minutes a night in Colorado wasn't really enough for him to continue improving his game and some time with the Rampage ought to right the ship.
- Andrew Agozzino was called up to the Avs for the second time in his career. Last year he spent one game in Denver and recorded an assist. Even tho' Aggz has been a little cold lately, perhaps some lasting effects from his shoulder injury, he had 5 SOG vs Rockford Wednesday and should be able to contribute and add a little skill on the 4th line. Looking at Wagner & Skille's style of play, I'm pretty excited to see what they can do as a unit.
- Blake Sebring of the Ft Wayne News-Sentinel wrote a great article on the Komets mighty struggles so far this season.
"They keep making the same mistakes as odd-man rushes, turnovers before advancing past center ice and stupid, unnecessary penalties continue to happen. They give up a minimum of two odd-man rushes per period, and opponents are scoring on most of them. Their power play is decent, but they have given up four short-handed goals and at least a dozen more good opponent scoring chances. The team record of 18 against is in jeopardy because using four forwards on power plays means it's a coin toss as to which team will get the better scoring chances."
To some extent, this sums up many of the issues all 3 teams in the Avs system have had so far. Like Father, like sons.
Mikko Rantanen has missed the last 2 games with a wrist injury. He's had a soft cast on since last Sunday's game against the Checkers. The hope is that he will be ready for this weekend's games, the Rampage could really use him.
Reid Petryk missed Wednesday's game vs Rockford with an undisclosed malady. The guy has roleplayer written all over him but as we saw last Spring he's really much more than that. He's had points in 6 out of the 11 games this month (2G/5A) and makes other guys' jobs much easier by taking a lot the tough duties like forecheck, PK and d-zone breakouts.
Dan Maggio got shellacked in a fight Tuesday night and missed Wednesday's game
Agozzino obviously will not be available due to callup
Garrett Meurs was called up from Ft Wayne Wednesday and played vs RFD
Recap: Milwaukee & Rockford
Calvin Pickard is at his best when he gets a lot of work, and he hasn’t had much in the last few weeks. The team in front of him Tuesday wasn’t at it’s best by any means but he was definitely not himself. M-A Cliche opened the scoring 7:21 into the game on the power play and the Rampage looked stout until about 5 minutes left in the period. Hubert Labrie took a lazy tripping penalty and the Admirals immediately converted to tie the game. Colin Smith then took another tripping penalty and the Ads scored again. The momentum was gone.
The 2nd period featured fights involving Duncan, Mags & Big Sam plus a couple of goals from Borna Rendulic. The Admirals matched the 2 goals and we went to the 3rd with Milwaukee still up by one. Michael Schumacher drew a penalty early in the 3rd but San Antonio couldn’t tie it up. Midway through the period, Mat Clark got badly outplayed and the Ads had an insurance goal. A bad pinch by Zadorov a few minutes later made it 6-3 and Picks was pulled for Roman Will. Nothing happened in garbage time and the Rampage ended up with their 3rd regulation loss of the season.
The Rampage moved over to Rockford for Wednesday's game and came out hot after the 6-3 loss to MKE. They dominated SOG 15-10 and Troy Bourke had a crafty goal to give them a 1-0 lead going into intermission. Unfortunately, the good feels didn't last, the Hogs crushed the 2nd with a 17-5 shot advantage and scored a PPG with a momentum-crushing late score with 30 secs left in the period. Credit to the guys, they battled back in a largely even 4th with Michael Schumacher tying the game up with less than 5 minutes to go. The usual OT bullshit ensued, Trevor Cheek took a pretty soft slashing call and RFD won it on the PP 3:52 in. Considering the beatdown in the 2nd a point is nice to see but sooner rather than later just getting a point against the good teams isn't going to be enough.
Preview: The Wolves
Chicago came to San Antonio November 6th & 8th and won a pair of 4-3 OT decisions. That's not going to cut it, the Rampage need a win in at least one of these games and really they need two to make the Turkey Trip any kind of success. Hopefully the addition of Everberg and Rantanen can get the Rampage lines back where they need to be and get some even-strength scoring for the team. We've seen a reliance on PP goals lately that's a sketchy long-term strategy.
Lines/pairs from Wednesday:
Labrie/Big Sam/ Meurs
Scratched: Petryk (???), Mikko (wrist), Mags (noggin)
Best case: We see Evs & Mikko flanking Cliche, Pete back with Smitty/Borna and Hish centering the 3rd. Having a real 4th line that can roll with the others could make a huge difference.Mason made his return to the blueline vs RFD and played really well with Zadorov for the most part. I'd like to see that continue (even tho' it probably won't) with Labrie getting some time off.
Saturday night at Chcago 8pm in the ET
Sunday afternoon at Chicago 4pm in the ET
All games on Ticket 760
Standings - Rampage 2nd in Pacific, tied for 5th in WC
The IceHogs come to town next Friday & Sunday
* * * * *
The Rampage drop the puck 2 hours before tonight's Avs/Jets game and Sunday doesn't conflict, stop by and support your prospects. Enjoy!