The beloved Rampage continue their massive homestand still in search of their first home win in front of the San Antonio faithful in 12 games. The optimist in me says they gotta win sometime, the pessimist in me says that half the opening night roster is injured or gone to Colorado so it might be a while.
The Rampage announced Monday that they had signed former Komet and current Atlanta Gladiator Brock Higgs to a PTO contract. Higgs is a 5'11 180# C and has 15G/11A in the ECHL this year
Also, Komets beat reporter Blake Sebring is reporting that the Rampage have signed Komets LW Garrett Thompson on a loan. As far as we know, he wasn't on a 2-way AHL deal. Thompson is a 6'3 205# LW and has 11G/19A in Ft Wayne so far.
Topher from RWtH has the Corsi report from Fridays game, with shocking visual clues as to the #LabrieEffects on the rest of the team. (Hint: he's really awful)
Along with the game report, Topher also put out an estimated p/60 chart for the Rampage players at 5v5 this season. We don't need fancy stats to tell us that things are incredibly dire as far as who is injured and how important they are/were to the team's success, but this is a great way to quantify it. Four of the top-5 forwards and three of the top-5 defensemen are unavailable right now.
I got out the calculator and made an aggregate of all the players that are currently present and healthy and all the players that are not. The current roster has scored 31 goals 5v5 in a total of 6145 minutes of time on ice. The missing crew had 42 goals in just 3068 minutes. Not only do the Rampage have to replace the third of total ice time with lesser players, but 58% of the scoring is gone too. I guess we found all the missing goals.
Borna Rendulic didn't last long against Milwaukee Friday and has re-aggravated the LBI that kept him out of the preceding few games.
Joey Hishon and Mikko Rantanen remain out with UBI (hand injuries) but practiced with NC jerseys on Monday.
Andrew Agozzino remains out with LBI, still a few weeks away
The signing of the 2 lads above leads one to speculate if even more injuries have hit the team. Dan Maggio was a late scratch on Saturday, he might be unavailable. Colin Smith got in a fight at the end of the 2nd period Saturday and left the ice bleeding profusely. He sucked it up and came back but you have to wonder if he's good to go for the Gulls game. Always the possibility something horrible escaped our attention too.
In Colorado, Reto Berra continues rehab on his injured ankle but Coach Roy didn't seem to think he was close to returning. Any hope that he would come down on a conditioning assignment or that Calvin will return soon seems distant. Erik Johnson remains out with a knee injury, he's been skating with the team and could return soon. We might get a D back at that point. Chris Bigras and Nikita Zadorov have shown well so far so we might not see them for a while, if ever. I usually forget to mention Ben Street but he's out another 6-8 weeks we think.
Recap: Milwaukee x2
The Rampage kicked off the second half of the season Friday by getting their asses kicked by the Admirals. Other than one stretch in the beginning of the 2nd period and another in score-effect time, they could not generate anything resembling offensive pressure. Even the power play was powerless. Milwaukee’s superiority in speed and skill forced them to constantly take penalties and sit back in the d-zone unable to evacuate. 6 of the Rampage’s 19 shots came in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period, other than that they basically averaged a SOG every 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
The few bright spots were Roman Will with a very solid performance, saving 31/34 shots. The much-maligned PK killed off 7 out of 8 with MKE finally scoring on their 18th and final PP shot of the night. I guess it’s a good thing that SA limited them to 16 SOG at even strength. Mason Geertsen got what is now a rare start and made the most of it. I sincerely hope that either Dean takes that to be an indication that he deserves more PT, or someone helpful from the Avs front office points this out to him. The Avs org is not in the business of developing borderline guys on AHL contracts and experience now is what will help players like Mason out in the 3rd year of their ELCs.
Knowing that the score was 4-0 after the 1st Saturday, I was expecting to see some of the usual poor defensive play and impotent offense when I watched it later. That really wasn’t the case, Spencer Martin just had a bad night letting in 3 goals on 6 shots, 2 of which should have been saved. For the most part, the Rampage were playing well but the game was already over.
The 2nd was when things started to fall apart. A bunch of dumb penalties early got the Admirals another score, they then proceeded to sit back and do things like play their goon line on the PP and whatnot. As Coach Dean remarked after the game, it was embarrassing. Max Noreau finally got the Rampage on the board with a power play goal, breaking an 0-for-23 streak that dated back to New Years Day. The period ended with Smitty getting in a fight and leaving the game with a trail of blood behind him.
The 3rd was a mess of violence and meaningless goals. It’s nice to see the Rampage still trying but other than the effort there’s little you can take from anything that happened. The opponent checked out after 1st inter. I know there isn’t much the staff can do until some guys get healthy but making small adjustments and hoping for bigger improvements just seems to create more frustration. It also doesn’t help when players are so inconsistent on a nightly or even in-game basis. As a coach you’d like to say aha! this fellow is playing well, just put him here and we’ll get some production. It hasn’t worked like that unfortunately. As fans we can spitball about who should play where and how much but I’m not sure it matters.
Preview: San Diego
We've been at this point before, it's January and about half the team is injured or in Colorado. Beating any team seems like a tough ask, but they all have issues too and honestly the Rampage are capable of playing well enough to win an ugly game. A victory or two and some confidence will go a long way. Get some guys back in the lineup and things look pretty good. It's getting from right now to that point that is unpleasant and as fans we all deal with it in our own ways. In April we'll look back on December/January as when the season blew right the fuck up, maybe the Rampage will recover and make a run. Maybe not.
Alright, San Antonio is 0-2-1 against the Gulls and 0-2 at the AT&T Center. They're a big team with good goalies like recent acquisition Dustin Tokarski and they have old pals Mike Sgarbossa, Kenny Ryan and Shamus O'Beauty to throw at us.
Most recent healthy lineup:
Scratched: Mags (nacho), Hish (UBI), Mikko (UBI), Borna (LBI), Aggz (LBI)
With the addition of Higgs and Thompson we have anywhere from 12-14 forwards to choose from and 7 Ds plus the 2 goalies.
Rampage vs the Gulls 8pm in the ET Tuesday, radio on Ticket 760
Friday & Saturday vs Bakersfield
* * * * *
No conflict with the Avs tonight so stop by and support your prospects and some other guys. Enjoy!