The beloved Rampage enter week two of their California trip 1-2, and 4-7 on the season. Over the weekend we saw 2 very different games against the San Jose Barracuda - a win in an undisciplined free-for-all and a loss in a tightly controlled grind.
San Jose Fast Facts
Game 1: SAR 6 - SJ 5
Shots: 32-46 (42.1%), Whitney led with 7, Grimaldi had 4
Special Teams: PP (2/4), PK (2/3)
Spencer Martin stopped 41/46 (.891)
Goals: Whitney (1) from Sislo & Corbett
Grimaldi (3) from Compher
Greer (3) from Stanton & Compher
Compher (5) from Greer & Grimaldi
Whitney (2) from O’Brien & Lashoff
Game 2: SJ 3 - SAR 1
Shots: 26-16 (61.9%), 5 guys had 3 each
Special Teams: PP 1/6, PK 6/7
Nathan Lieuwen stopped 13/15 (.867)
Goal: Sislo (3) from Whitney & Lashoff
- Joe Whitney finally broke the drought and scored his first 2 goals of the season
- After a poor defensive effort in the first 2 periods, the next 4 were solid.
- 3 point night on Saturday for Compher, 2 point nights for Greer, Grimaldi and Whitney
- Just have to say a few words about Sharks prospect and former teammate of Greer and Nantel in Rouyn-Noranda Timo Meier. The dude was diving hilariously all over the place like he played for the 2010 Canucks. Old buddy Greer got his stick near his face and he went down like he’d been poleaxed. Duncan had his hand on his shoulder and he pretended to be a sack o’ potatoes. Got the embellishment call on that one. Late in Sunday’s game he had a big, yet legal, blindside hit on Mike Sislo and Siemens confronted him. He pretended to want to go and Duncan dropped the mitts. Meier didn’t. Chickenshit move and the refs agreed, giving him a double roughing minor along with Dunc. No idea why he was playing like that, he’s a skilled guy and probably capable of scoring at any level. It would be a shame if the Sharks are asking him to be Mr Sandpaper/Douchenoozle for some reason. He’s going to get the “diver” tag about 2 shifts into his first NHL game if that continues.
- Giving up 36 shots against and an unofficial 20 scoring chances against in the 1st/2nd on Saturday
- Combined .886 Save Percentage for Marty/Lieuwen on the weekend. Marty’s performance was actually decent considering the poor play in front of him, and he won, but would be nice to see him stop a couple more. Lieuwen only let in 2, but he’s rocking a .762 so far in the backup role. Not good, wonder if Chase Marchand is enjoying college right now...
- Lashoff and Corbett were atrocious. Both are soft as church music and do zilch to impede the other team coming up ice or to clear the front of the net. Neither can hold onto the puck with the slightest bit of forecheck pressure. This is a big issue because Jardine and to a lesser extent Stanton aren’t very physical either. Assigning Boikov to the Eagles sent the D corps over a tipping point, they are very easy to play against and it’s shown in the last few games. IMO, those two plus Jardine are all really similar and there’s no reason to have more than one guy like that. Keep Jardine, play him 3rd pair minutes and get rid of the other two. Call up Boikov and use Geertsen until he settles down too. It’s the only logical course, no need to waste time with a couple of guys that aren’t in the team’s long-term plans that don’t add anything over the younger alternatives.
The Rampage played pond hockey against San Jose in the first game and managed to keep up and ultimately prevail. All 6 goals were pretty legitimate except for maybe Whitney’s prayer shot, so they showed they can pour the goals in when conditions are right. In the second game they went back to the tight defensive style that it seems the Avs/Rampage are trying to instill in the organization, and got far fewer chances and just a single score effect goal late.
This puts Coach Veilleux in a difficult position. The four wins have all come in the more wide open games, most of the seven losses are in tight defensive battles. How does he regulate that? Is it possible to let the players run a bit while still sticking to disciplined defensive play? I think it will be down the road but by then it might be too late if they don’t start winning some of these grinders soon. I love seeing things like limiting San Jose to 3 shots in the 2nd period on Sunday, and 16 overall, but they lost that game. You can’t really lose more than 30 games and hope to make the playoffs and they’re almost a quarter through that quota with 65 more games to play.
Preview: Ontario & Stockton
Ontario sits in 5th place in the Pacific with a 3-2-3 record, one of those wins is against the Rampage and it wasn’t close. Stockton is in 2nd place behind the Tucson PDOrunners with a 5-2-1 record and are a much better team. These are gonna be toughies and the Rampage sure as hell don’t need to be 4-10. Time to figure out who they are and be that, well.
Lines & Pairs from Sunday:
Greer - Compher - Grimaldi
Whitney - O’Brien - Nantel
Bourque - Belzile - Sislo
Bourke - Henley - Nunn
Siemens - Stanton
Jardine - Lindholm
Lashoff - Corbett
Other than the Compher line there were various blendings of the forward lines, those are just guidelines. No one line dominated ice time, they rolled 4 most of the game. The D pairs were pretty fluid too, in fact Duncan and Stanton probably played as much with other guys as they did together. I’ve said my piece about the D in general but Jardine and Lashoff played entirely too much in the 3rd period for all the good it did anyone. #FreeSergei
Injury & Roster Report
- Nathan Lieuwen was sent down to the Eagles and Kent Simpson called up on Tuesday. One of them has to be better than Roman Will, right?
- Trent Vogelhuber left Saturday’s game in the 1st period with an undisclosed injury. No guidance on status or expected return. He was still with the team on Monday so it’s nothing major.
- Jeremy Smith (?BI), Chris Bigras (?BI), Turner Elson (LBI) and Reid Petryk (broken foot) are back in San Antonio working with the training staff and won’t join the team on the road.
Goals: Compher 5, Greer/Grimaldi/Sislo 3
Assists: Greer 8, Grimaldi 7, Compher/ Bourke 4
Points: Greer 11, Grimaldi 10, Compher 9
Shots: Grimaldi 39, Whitney 30, Sislo 29
Greer tied for 11th in the AHL in points, 1st in Rookie Assists, 2nd in Rookie points
Grimaldi 3rd in the AHL in SOG
Compher tied for 1st in Rookie goals, 1st in Rookie Sh%
Record: 4-7-0, 7th in Pacific
Special Teams: PP 13.8% - 22nd, PK 86.5% 7th
Goals For: 2.45/gm - 27th, Goals Against: 3.09/gm - 17th
Shots For: 29.18/gm - 19th, Shots Against: 27.18/gm - 5th
Shooting percentage went up a bunch this week but the save percentage went down, still a bunch of regression upwards in the bank.
Wednesday at Ontario 10pm ET
Friday at Stockton 10:30pm ET
Saturday at Stockton 10:30pm ET
All games on Ticket760
- This week Topher gives us an early look at WOWY’s and projected points per 60
If you’re not familiar with WOWY, it’s a way of looking at how players do together and apart on an individual basis. Basically it shows who are the drivers and who are the passengers. Some pretty good news here, especially if you like the idea of young forwards heading to the NHL at some point this season.
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Friday night’s game conflicts with the Avs/Jets game but the other two are all clear. Enjoy!