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From the Rampage Desk: Week 3 - A Mirror Image

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NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The beloved Rampage finally prevailed and won their first game of the season Tuesday against the Stars. Most impressive perhaps was entering the 3rd period with a lead and keeping the foot on the gas and outshooting a desperate Texas squad. Quick turnaround, they now face the Calder Cup champ Monsters b2b tonight and tomorrow.

Week 2 Fast Facts

Saturday: CHI 4 - SAR 2

Shots: On goal - Rampage 32-23 (58.2%) and 25-19 (56.8%) at even strength, 5v5 Corsi 44-46 (48.9%), Mike Sislo led the team with 6 SOG and Troy Bourke had 4
Special Teams: PP - 0/2, PK 3/4
Jeremy Smith saved 19/22 (.864)
Goals: JT Compher (1) from Elson & Grimaldi
Ryan Stanton (1) from Mikko

Sunday: CHI 2 - SAR 1

Shots: On goal - Rampage 30-26 (53.6%) and 18-23 (43.9%) at even strength, 5v5 Corsi 48-39 (55.2%), Mike Sislo led the team with 4 SOG and 4 players had 3 each
Special Teams: PP - 0/7, PK 2/2
Spencer Martin saved 24/26 (.923)
Goal: Turner Elson (1) from Greer & Vogelhuber

Tuesday: SAR 4 - Tex 2

Shots on goal: Even at 31, Rocco Grimaldi led the team with 6, Trent Vogelhuber had 4
Special Teams: PP 2/8, PK 5/5
Jeremy Smith saved 9/10 (.900) in the 1st, Spencer Martin closed it out with 20/21 (.952)
Goals: Bigras (1) from Grimaldi and O’Brien
Garry Nunn (1) from Bourke
Sam Jardine (1) from Stanton and Greer
Rocco Grimaldi (2) from Compher

* - All fancy stats courtesy of Topher’s Analytics at Running With the Herd

The Good

Spencer Martin - Played well enough to win all 3 times he’s been in and sealed the deal in relief against Texas. Starting to move up in the league goalie stats with a 1.92 GAA and .926 Sv%. If Smith is out for any length of time expect him to move to #1 status and make most of the starts.

The PK - Now 4th in the AHL at 91.7%, and that’s a good thing because the Rampage take nearly 6 minors a game. Systemically it’s still a work in progress but as the players get used to it you see the results getting better and better.

Well distributed offense - 8 players have scored the 9 goals in the book so far. 3 defensemen, 2 centers and 4 wingers. Every skater that’s played more than 1 game has at least 3 SOG, every defenseman has at least 1 SOG per game.

The Win - After losing 4 practically identical games the breakthrough vs the Stars should be a huge load off the backs of everyone.

The Bad

Scoring - The Texas game makes things look better but that was the first game with more than 2 goals for the good guys. They still sit 29th in the league in goals per game. That’s got to change.

Boikov - Our young rookie has had a couple of rough outings, culminating with back to back minors in the 3rd period Tuesday along with a costly turnover that led to Texas first goal. Not that the other Ds aren’t taking penalties and making hideous turnovers, Boikov’s just happen to have been more costly.

Hot Taek

The Rampage look primed for a good road trip. Most of these guys are new so hanging out in Cleveland for a couple days will give them a chance to get to know each other better and get away from the distrsactions of playing at home. There’s a big trip to California that starts next week as well. We already saw a bit of a scoring breakout from the day trip to Austin, let’s hope that continues.

Last year’s team started out red hot and couldn’t lose. We all know how that turned out. Eric Veilleux is preaching patience and attention to the process and it seems to be paying off everywhere but the scoreboard so far. San Antonio is 3rd in the league in fewest shots against per game, a far cry from a year ago. Even though they’re 18th in shots for they still average 4.6 more Sh/gm more than their opponents, most of that coming in the second half of games. Last year we had good results from a flawed process, this year is poor results from a solid process. A mirror image.

Preview: Cleveland & Ontario

Our formerly beloved Lake Erie Monsters won the Calder Cup with current Avs coaches Jared Bednar and Nolan Pratt last year and promptly changed their name to the Cleveland Monsters for some reason. So far this year they’re 3-2 with a +3 goal differential. Last season’s “homecoming” to the Q arena was a great tribute to the many Rampage players that were fan faves there. This time that won’t be the case with only 4 players that spent time there as pros.

Despite the Kings cleaning out Ontario’s goalie stock in the first week of the season, they’ve managed ok with a 2-0-1 record. Giving up over 3 goals a game isn’t what we’re used to from the heavy possession style of the Kings’ org, but then again neither is scoring 4 goals a game. They’re still good and still will make it tough to get 2 points.

Needless to say these are two strong teams. In a perfect scenario the Rampage (1-4-0) take all three games this week and return to .500 with 68 games left to make their mark on the league. Defensively they’ve been stout, now it’s time for the offense to show up, especially at even strength. No one on the team has more than one point outside of the power play or empty net time. Six skaters that have played every game have no points of any kind. The team PDO is a ridiculously low 964 so there’s plenty of room to move upward.

Lines/Pairs from Tuesday

Whitney - O’Brien - Sislo
Greer - Compher - Grimaldi
Henley - Vogelhuber - Nunn
Bourke - Nantel - Belzile

Bigras - Lindholm
Jardine - Stanton
Boikov - Siemens

Smith (1st)
Martin (2nd/3rd)

Injured: Elson (LBI), Corbett (LBI), Geertsen (wrist/NR)
Scratched: St Amant

Alex Belzile made his season debut and was used sparingly at first but got a bunch of shifts in the 3rd. Jeremy Smith was viciously run in the 1st and didn’t return for the 2nd. Marty got the win in relief and it looks like Smitty is unavailable for the moment.

Team Leaders

Goals - Grimaldi 2, many others with 1
Assists - Greer 3, 4 others with 2
Points - Grimaldi, Greer 4, Compher, Stanton 3
Shots on goal - Grimaldi 16, Whitney 15, 3 others with 11

Schedule

Thursday at Cleveland, 7pmET
Friday at Cleveland, 7pmET

Sunday vs Ontario, 4pmET

All games on Ticket760

Links

Coach Veilleux post-game from Saturday & Sunday

Topher’s Analytics from Saturday & Sunday

News & Notes

- Mikko Rantanen was called up to the Avalanche on Monday... Ben Smith was waived to make room but got claimed by Toronto

- Shawn St Amant was called up from the Eagles to take Mikko’s spot after 2 solid games in his professional debut. Not a big fan of this move if Coach V isn’t going to play him, he’s 19 and needs as much ice time as possible, wherever it may be.

- Kent Simpson was called up from Colorado Wednesday which draws concern to Jeremy Smith’s health after getting trucked by some PTO shithead Tuesday and leaving the game after one period

- Forward Josh Nicholls was also called up from the Eagles Wednesday which hopefully is just a safety move. Nicholls was in training camp with the Rampage and played in at least one of the pre-season games if I remember correctly.

- The Rampage also signed former Bruins 1st round pick Matt Lashoff to a PTO since they don’t have a healthy sub on the back end right now. Lashoff is a 6’2 207# LHD with 354 games of AHL experience, most recently with the Flyers, Coyotes and Islanders affiliates. No news on when he might be joining the team but I bet he met them in Cleveland yesterday.

- The Eagles won in a roaring 3rd period comeback last night. Cole Sanford had 2 goals and an assist and now has 6 points in 5 games with Colorado. Nathan Lieuwen got pulled after letting in 4 goals on 11 shots so I guess it’s not a surprise anymore that Kent Simpson was the callup.

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Other than the 3rd period on Friday coinciding with the Avs/Jets 1st there are no conflicts, so stop by and support your prospects. Enjoy!