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From the Rampage Desk: Week 9 - Opportunity

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NHL: Preseason-Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The beloved Rampage kicked off the current 4-game roadie with an overtime win at Rockford on Wednesday and now turn to Iowa for a weekend set before facing Milwaukee on Monday. Going 2-1 in the next 3 games get them home with a .500 record and should be the minimum expected result.

Injury/Roster Report

- Nothing on the transaction wire since Goloubef was called up but there are rumors that both Cole Sanford and Jackson Houck have left the Eagles to attend college in Canada this week. Tough to say how much of a loss that is but Sanford had 15 points in 19 games with Colorado and sounds like a guy that the Rampage could have used at some point.

- None of the chronically injured are on the trip (right now) but Dan keeps dropping hints that could change. I guess best case is one or two guys could fly up and meet the team at their base in Chicago for a practice Sunday. Don’t see any of them participating in games until next weekend vs Tucson at the earliest but you never know with this org.

What we know:

UBI: O’Brien (schnozz)
LBI: Smith, Elson, Petryk (broken foot)
???: Bigras, Compher, Ranger

All are skating in some capacity except for Elson & Ranger.

Fast Facts: Rockford

SAR 3 - RFD 2 (OT)

Shots: 39-31 (55.7%) Grimaldi led with 8, Greer had 5
Special Teams: PP 2/7, PK 3/3
Spencer Martin saved 29/31 (.936)
Goals: Sislo (4), Lashoff (3), Whitney (5)

Week 9 Snapshot

Record: 10-11-1, 8th in Pacific

Goals For: 51 (2.32/gm, 28th)
Goals Against: 61 (2.77/gm, 15th)

Shots for: 28.23/gm, 23rd
Shots Against: 28.18/gm, 11th

Power Play: 12.6%, 28th
Penalty Kill: 84.9%, 9th
STI: -2.5

Shooting%: 8.2
Save%: .903
PDO: 985

The team’s defensive numbers are sliding negatively. Given the injuries that’s not a surprise but it’s a little deceptive. The Rampage tend to lose big and win small so there’s a lot of score effects in there. Their shooting percentage is about as good as it can get without a boost from the horrible power play (that scored twice on Weds) so Coach Veilleux has to continuously pound it into the guys’ heads to shoot more.

Spencer Martin is the only individual standout as far as being among the league’s best. He’s tied for 1st in wins and in the top 5 for saves and minutes played. AJ Greer is still in the Rookie Scoring top-10 despite a big slump since being returned from the Avs. Sam Jardine is 2nd in Rookie penalty minutes if you’re into that.

Preview: Iowa & Milwaukee

The Iowa Wilds are in the Central’s 5th place despite a poorer record than the Rampage. They give up more than 3 goals per game so it’s time to start scoring. Much of their offense comes from waiver-wire hero Teemu Pulkkinen who was called up to Minny the other day. Unfortunately he didn’t stay. The Rampage/Monsters have been pretty effective at shutting him down in the past in Grand Rapids so that should continue.

Milwaukee beat the Rampage twice to kick off the season and lead the conference in wins, points and percentage. Don’t want to be a downer but if that turns out to be a win I’ll be quite surprised.

Tonight will be (I think) the 4th chance the Rampage have at getting to the .500 mark for the first time all season. It’s somewhat meaningless in the standings, good for only a tie for 7th in the division, but like Dan Weiss talked about during Wednesday’s game it’s a psychological tipping point. It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of a soft spot in the schedule and get out of the hole they dug by losing the first 4 games of the year.

Lines/Pairs from Wednesday:

Whitney - Vogelhuber - Sislo
Greer - Nantel - Grimaldi
Bourque - Belzile - Nunn
Bourke - Henley - St Amant

Siemens - Boikov
Geertsen - Lindholm
Lashoff - Corbett

Martin
Simpson

Scratched: Jardine (suspension), Frazee

I’m sure Smilin’ Sam will be back in and I’ll bet Frazee plays one of the games. The top line has been really ineffective but there’s not much Coach V can do about that without blendering the whole lineup. For better or worse, he’s pretty much forced to leave everything as is until reinforcements arrive from the injured list.

Schedule

Friday at Iowa 8pm ET
Saturday at Iowa 8pm ET

Monday at Milwaukee 8pm ET

All games on Ticket760

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Saturday’s game starts an hour after puck drop for the Avs/Habs in Montreal so that’s out. The other two games don’t conflict so stop by and support your prospects!