The beloved Rampage dominated play against the Gulls on Tuesday but couldn't find the net early or often enough and fell further behind the playoff race. Fear not, it really appears that the team is healthy once again, just in time for a 3-in-3 weekend.
Brock Higgs was released from his PTO after only a single game. FWIW, he played well and if need be I wouldn't mind seeing him back again.
The AHL All-Star Weekend happens January 31st & February 1st. Mikko Rantanen will be the Rampage representative for the festivities. Skills comp is Sunday at 8pm ET and the game is Monday at 7pm ET, and the game itself will be shown on Altitude and FS Southwest as well as other fine channels across the globe.
Some fantastic news out of practice Thursday. Dan Weiss reported that all the recently injured forwards were skating with the team and without non-contact jerseys. For reference:
Mikko Rantanen (UBI)
Joey Hishon (UBI)
M-A Cliche (LBI)
Borna Rendulic (LBI)
Patrick Bordeleau (LBI)
It remains to be seen how many and who actually return to the lineup, no reason to carry 15 healthy forwards so if Garrett Thompson or Alex Belzile hit the wire tomorrow it narrows things down a bit
Andrew Agozzino remains out with LBI and he was not skating with the team Thursday
Erik Johnson should return to the Avs lineup on Friday or Saturday so a defenseman might be on the way to San Antonio.
Recap: San Diego
Injuries and callups have taken the lion’s share of scoring out of the San Antonio lineup for the time being and Tuesday’s game was a perfect demonstration of that. When the puck dropped, there were only 3 players in uniform that had more than 2 goals at even strength all year, Smith (8), Schumacher (6) & Everberg (5). Unlike the previous two games, the Rampage came out focused and dominated play for 60 minutes. It’s frustrating to have so many chances and not be able to score but that’s their lot in life right now. You’re not going to take roleplayers and make finishers out of them on a whim but that shouldn’t prevent a team from doing what they can as best they can. It’s only going to help on the off chance any skilled players ever return to the lineup.
Some numbers for posterity:
Outshot SD 41-22, 11-3 in the 1st and 18-9 in the 2nd
PK was 6/6
Alex Belzile scored the lone goal (at 6v5) for the Rampage, I've been pretty impressed with his play since being called up. He's more than your average ECHL grinder and definitely has some scoring touch. There's a few regulars I wouldn't mind seeing in the press box instead.
Back on the 8th, SA rolled into Bakersfield and held them to 17 shots against, winning the game 3-1 on goals from Bigras, Borna & Hish. Won't be the same lineup but hopefully some of the same tactics can give the Rampage an edge. A couple of wins will get SA back to .500
We haven't seen Texas in a few weeks, must be time to play them again. We still have a 4-3-2 record against them but they sit 9 points ahead in the Pacific.
This weekend boils down to who's back in the lineup and whether they can be productive right off the bat
Lines from Tuesday's game:
Evs – Draz – Pete
Schumi- Belzile – Smitty
Bourke – Big Sam – Mags
Thompson – Higgs – Cheek
Gorms – Clark
Duncan – Max
Mason – Bruno
And we'll supplement this with the practice lines from Thursday:
Mikko - Hish - Smitty
Evs - Clish - Pete
Schumi - Draz - Borna
Thompson - Belzile - Mags (might be the extra)
Bordy - Big Sam - Bourke
Friday night vs Bakersfield 8:30pm in the ET
Saturday night vs Bakersfield 8:00pm in the ET
Sunday afternoon vs Texas 5:00pm in the ET
All games on Ticket 760. One of these is on TV I think, sorry all, but can't find which one
San Jose comes to town next weekend for a pair
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Both Bakersfield games conflict with the Avs but Sunday's is free and clear. Stop by and support your prospects!