The beloved Rampage return to the AT&T center tonight for just the 2nd time this season to kick of their first 3-in-3. They face Chicago tonight and Sunday with a road game Saturday in Cedar Park against the Stars. After a sniper had the San Diego airport on lockdown for most of Wednesday they finally flew home late that night.
Luke Steer over at BSN wrote a good article yesterday on statistically evaluating prospects and looked specifically at a few of the Rampage guys.
Tom Uminski of the Rampage's site had an interesting historical look at the Rampage-Wolves rivalry
Check out this week's podcast from Nate and JP at RWtH
Recap: Game 7 at the Gulls
The Rampage kept their regulation undefeated streak alive, barely, but surrendered the Pacific Division lead temporarily to the opponent Gulls. All in all it was a successful road trip, 5 points in 5 days on the road against their top competition for a playoff spot. San Antonio’s lineup was down 2 centers to begin the game, M-A Cliche out with an injury and Ben Street with the Avalanche, but they continued creating chances and playing solid D. Coming back from 2-0 down entering the 3rd period is definitely a good sign that there’s a lot of depth this year.
I could tell right away I wasn’t going to like the Gulls, they’re a big physical team that relies on a couple of good skill players and PP time for most of the scoring – basically the Amerks West. Plus they have a really good young goalie in John Gibson. In fact they scored on their first power play midway through the 1st then increased their lead to 2-0 in the waning stages of the 2nd. The Rampage were racking up fantastic scoring chances but couldn’t seem to solve Gibson. Mikko, Pete and Bourke could have had goals easy but they just weren’t dropping.
In the 3rd, Coach Dean mixed up the lines a little and put Troy Bourke centering the 3rd line between Schumacher and Petryk which paid off immediately with a Schumi goal. A few minutes later Andreas Martinsen scored his first North American goal to tie things up and both teams went conservative until OT. Picks made amazing save after amazing save in the OT but the Gulls 6th shot and Nick Ritchie’s 2nd goal of the night decided the game.
Bourke was a revelation at center and apparently Dean agreed, bumping him up a line and giving him more PT as the game went on. Mikko had a great game and was the primary puck mover and driver of play on the 1st line. While that’s good to see, that job should have been Joey Hishon’s but putting him on the 1st line was yet another change that didn’t get him engaged in the game. On the other hand, Colin Smith made the 2nd line with Andreas Martinsen and Borna Rendulic look the best it has all season, which isn’t saying much. If Street stays with the Avs over the weekend, I’d like to see Smitty with Mikko/Aggz and Bourke with Schumi/Pete. Other than a horrible boarding penalty in the o-zone Maggio was ok, mainly thanks to Bourke’s play, but if Clish/Street are both still absent this weekend it’s time to call up Trevor Cheek.
With San Diego losing to Ontario last night, the Rampage enter the weekend back atop the Pacific Division and Western Conference. The Wolves lead the Central Division with a 5-1-1 record and have won their last 3 in a row against Charlotte and Manitoba twice. Chicago will be without 2 of their top scorers in Ty Rattie and Magnus Paajarvi but we'll see old friends Andre Benoit and Jordan Caron on the ice. The Monsters fared well against their cloggy possession style last year so let's hope that continues.
The Stars beat the Rampage opening night and now sit 4th in the Pacific with a 7-2-1 record and lead the conference in goals by a mile with 42 in 10 games and have 12 players at a half-point or better per game. They've also given up 26 goals so we'll see some high-event hockey on Saturday night.
We'll have practice intel later in the day but this is how the lineup looked on late in the game Tuesday:
Injured: Clish (???)
Ben Street will not be back from Colorado until John Mitchell recovers from an oblique injury, maybe late next week. No word on M-A Cliche's status or any possible callups yet.
Friday night vs Chicago 8:30pm ET
Saturday night at Texas 8:00pm ET
Sunday afternoon vs Chicago 5:00pm ET
All games on Ticket 760
Standings - Rampage tops in the Pacific and WC
Weekly Rampage Report with guest stars Mason Geertsen and Michael Schumacher
At Texas again on Wednesday then a home game vs Stockton Friday
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The Avs game starts a half hour past the SA starting time tonight but the Sat/Sun games are conflict-free. Stop by and say hi.