The beloved Rampage have their last full weekend at home before embarking on the Rodeo Road Trip for the rest of February. They play two games against San Jose who hold the 3rd and final playoff spot in the Pacific.
- Just for the record, Nikita Zadorov was reassigned to the Rampage last Saturday and played 2 games last weekend
- With Varly in court this week, the Avalanche needed a goalie. Roman Will wasn't doing anything so he got to dress for a couple of NHL games. With Calvin ill because of the flu, he was almost a last-minute starter on Tuesday vs the Sharks and ended up playing the 3rd period making an official debut in the NHL. Will became the 586th ECHL alum to play in the NHL. Congrats!
- Nick Drazenovic still had a few games left on his PTO but the Rampage decided to sign him to a Standard Player Contract this week so he's with us for the rest of the season.
- Mason Geertsen was reassigned to Ft Wayne on Thursday. I think everyone who's familiar with the Rampage Desk knows my feelings about Hubert Labrie and this is yet another baffling case where someone that has absolutely nothing to offer the organization is given priority over a young prospect's development, with the tacit approval of the Avs Dev Staff.
If there is one single bit of upside in playing a plug like Labrie over Geertsen, I'd love to hear the reasoning. I'll freely admit that Mason has done little to impress so far this year and I'm not a fan of using too little playing time or shitty linemates as an excuse, but with the Rampage's season being all but over there's no reason not to get youngsters that are going to be around next season a headstart. Statistically there's zero evidence that Mason hurts the team any more than anyone else.
Looking on the bright side however, Geertsen is going from a team that's playing out the string to one that's a championship contender in the ECHL. Maybe playing a lot and actually winning games will do more for his confidence and development. I really hope so because optically this isn't a very good move.
- Patrick Bordeleau was summoned as a witness in Semyon Varlamov's civil trial in Denver this week and gave testimony on Wednesday. Check out BSN Avalanche's coverage, it's fantastic and they've been leading the nation on this story.
- The full RWtH crew (Nate, JP & Topher) was on for this week's episode, good stuff as usual.
- Topher had a bunch of new articles this week for RWtH Analytics, the lovely Disappointing Sunday, Updated WOWYs, and Updated p/60. Get to know who "The Usurper" is and check out more evidence of #TheLabrieEffect
- Cheryl sat down with Spencer Martin for a nice long interview from BSN
- After Saturday's game the All-Star Break officially begins. Most of the guys will be headed somewhere warm while Mikko heads to Syracuse to rep the organization in the festivities. The game will be widely available on Altitude and FSSW and other similar stations plus AHL Live will show the game for FREE for anyone else. MHH will of course have a thread for all diehards willing to watch.
Borna Rendulic, Joey Hishon, Mikko Rantanen, M-A Cliche and Patrick Bordeleau returned to the lineup Friday after various periods on the injured list.
Unfortunately, Joey Hishon lasted less than a period before being injured again. He did not skate this week.
Nick Drazenovic was a late scratch on Friday and missed all the weekend's action. He did skate in a NC jersey on Wednesday.
Trevor Cheek also missed the whole weekend with injury and did not skate this week.
Mat Clark missed Sat/Sun but was skating in a NC jersey this week
Troy Bourke might have a mystery injury. He was listed as a healthy scratch on Fri/Sat, played on Sun but did not skate with the team on Wednesday.
For 13 straight games the good fans of San Antonio left the AT&T Center disappointed, but not on Friday. The Rampage got a slew of healthy bodies back in the lineup and gave Bakersfield a beatdown. Goals from Everberg, Belzile, Thompson, Schumacher plus a pair from Reid Petryk put this out of reach in the mid-3rd.
It was a good game, not quite as solid as the Gulls game defensively but I suspect that has to do with the opponent. While this one gave us all the smiles, they need to keep backing it up. Petryk deserves a big shout-out, he’s the SA leading scorer in the last 2 months. Smitty’s set-up on Pete’s 1st goal is insane, it’s on the Rampage site and you should go watch it.
On Saturday, Mikko Rantanen scored his first pro hat trick and the Rampage won another home game to get back to .500. Nikita Zadorov returned to SA, said "I’m Back!" and chipped in with a couple of assists and solid defensive play. Overall it was a pretty sloppy game, LOTS of penalties and situations where Bakersfield controlled play late but having skill back in the lineup covers a lot of flaws. They can’t count on winning too many like this one if they want to move up the standings.
Sunday's game was an abomination. The Rampage were competitive in the first, actually outshooting the Stars 18-13, but Spencer Martin had another poor outing, letting in a couple of softies while the defense was fucking useless. Roman came in and let in another couple of bad goals and it ended up 6-1. Sam Henley had the lone goal and to the surprise of no one, Mikko got an assist. The 2nd period might have been the worst period to date for San Antonio, no SOG for the 1st 14 minutes and absolutely couldn't break the puck out of the zone. It was just painful to watch. The loss placed the Rampage in the basement of the Pacific and any hopes of the playoffs rest on winning every game from now until the end of the Rodeo Road Trip more or less.
Preview: San Jose
San Antonio split a 2-game series with the Barracuda a few weeks ago, losing 6-4 and winning 1-0 in overtime. San Jose is only 4-3-3 in their last 10 so they've been having a bit of a rough go of it lately. If we see the team that played on Fri/Sat last weekend then wins are a good possibility.
Lines/Pairs for Sunday's Game:
Schumi – Smitty – Mikko
Evs – Clish – Pete
Thompson – Bells – Borna
Bordy – Big Sam – Bourke
Gorms – Hubie
Z – Max
Duncan – Corbs
Marty (and later Roman)
Oftentimes NHL clubs will send down waiver-eligible guys to play in the AHL while the mothership is on the All-Star Break but no one was sent down on Thursday (Bigras, Martinsen & Guenin are eligible). There's a possibility we see Clark and/or Drazenovic come off the injured list for the weekend. Mason will be with the brother Komets for the first time.
Friday night vs San Jose 8:30pm in the ET
Saturday night vs San Jose 8:00pm in the ET
All games on Ticket 760
Standings - SA last in the Pacific
The All-Star Game on Monday then a home & home vs Texas next weekend
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Obviously the Avs are off both nights so if you need your hockey fix, stop by and support your prospects. Enjoy!