The beloved Rampage return to where the magic used to happen this week - good ol' Quicken Loans Arena. Even tho' there's been significant roster turnover since the Lake Erie days, most of the guys still spent a fair amount of time there. And even tho' the Lake Erie fans have wholeheartedly adopted their new squad, there will surely be soft spots in their hearts for a few of the Rampage players.
- After being waived twice and absent from the Avs lineup since January 12th, Nate Guenin was assigned to the Rampage on Thursday.
- Reto Berra injured his ankle before the Avs game on December 21st and just started skating with the team this week. Now we find him on a 2-week conditioning assignment with San Antonio. Word is that he should play both games against the Monsters, in Bakersfield and in 2 out of next weekend's 3-in-3
- Spencer Martin had 50 saves last Sunday but that wasn't enough to save him from getting sent to Ft Wayne on Thursday. Cody Corbett will join him on the flight.
- Many of us have noticed New Jersey Pro Scout Claude Noel at Avs and Rampage games a bunch lately so I decided to reach out to fellow SBN writer Brian Franken over at All About the Jersey to see if he could shed some light on why the former Jets coach has been stalking us. Like every other team the Devs don't say squat about their scouting staff to anyone but Brian speculated that they were looking for forward talent since that's the major need in their development system. We'll see if anything comes of that in the next couple weeks, always nice to get a little insight into what these guys are thinking up in the press box.
- The good folks from the Rampage put together an article on some of the guys thoughts on returning to Lake Erie this weekend.
Andrew Agozzino and Nikita Zadorov returned to the lineup last Friday after various LBIs
Duncan Siemens remains out indefinitely after an on-ice collision last week.
No word yet on Ben Street's visit to the Avs medical staff or if he's close to skating with the team
Reto Berra's conditioning assignment means that barring a trade (or another goalie injury to the top-3) the Rampage should have either he or Pickard available for the rest of the season. Patrick Roy didn't give any indication which would be in Colorado after Yogi's stint in the minors yesterday but either is fine.
The brother Komets stumbled a bit last weekend, dropping 2 to Cincy and Toledo but beating Kalamazoo.
Garrett Meurs had a goal & assist vs K-zoo and Trevor Cheek had an assist
Troy Bourke had a goal against Toledo, assisted by Belzile and Meurs but the big play of the game came in OT when Meurs had a certain goal snatched away by a phenomenal save by Toledo G Jeff Lerg. This vid made the rounds as "Save of the Year", check it out. Unbelievable. Meursy was a good sport about it:
Cmon I tried https://t.co/JyGrwgk6dn— Garrett Meurs (@garrettmeurs) February 15, 2016
Recap: San Jose/Stockton
The Rampage got smoked in the 1st period Saturday and never recovered, losing 5-0 to the Barracuda. Their once mobile and solid defense is a shadow of what it was in October and now relies on the forwards to do all the puck moving while the D repetitively attempt to chip the puck off the boards and out. Shot differentials were 20-8 in the 1st and 43-30 for the game as a whole. The ref was out to lunch all afternoon and let heinous foul after heinous foul go uncalled against SA. I hate blaming the refs and I don’t think he ultimately was the difference maker here but it determined more of the outcome than you’d like to see.
Aside from that, there were a couple of positives. Andrew Agozzino played his first game since December 20th and quickly moved up the lineup. Still a bit rusty and it might take a few games to get into game shape but the team is more dangerous with him in the lineup. Nikita Zadorov returned after missing a week with LBI, started off a bit slow but was jumping into the play like old times in the 3rd period.
The Rampage capped off a grisly weekend by getting utterly dominated by the Heat 5-1. Spencer Martin was the lone bright spot stopping 50 of 54 SOG after riding the bench for the last 3 weeks and Garrett Thompson scored SA’s only goal of the weekend, ending a 141 minute scoreless streak. Let's grouse about individual performances for a while, Agozzino & Z were back in the lineup but obviously not at 100%, Clark & Gormley continue to struggle in the shutdown role while the other pairs aren’t much better in theirs, Nick Drazenovic is playing over his head on the 2nd line which limits production there, a slow and generally useless 4th line means overuse of the other 3, etc.
To sum up the weekend:
Sh% 1.8 - This after scoring 8 on 40 shots (20%) vs Charlotte. Total both for 9.5%, it evened out.
PDO 915 – Not that it matters in a sample size like this but it gives an idea of the futility of the weekend
Garrett Thompson scored the only goal, unassisted, so the Rampage have gone 155 minutes without someone setting up a score.
Preview: Lake Erie
The Rampage make their return to the Q ahead of only Manitoba and Iowa in the Western Conference while the Monsters sit solidly in a playoff spot, 4th in the Midwest Division. Oddly enough, the Rampage's 148 goals is more than anyone in the grindy Midwest other than Grand Rapids, kind of nice to be out of there tbh. Also oddly enough, the Monsters are the only team in the WC that San Antonio hasn't faced.
Lines/Pairs from Sunday:
Thompson – Clish – Borna
Aggz – Draz – Pete
Schumi – Smitty – Bordy
Evs – Hish – Mikko
Hubie – Max
Gormley – Clark
Scratched: Mags, Hamonic, Sam
Reto Berra hasn't played since a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on December 9th so it's a little hard to guess what he's going to look like in the nets. We do know he has a scoring touch of his own in the AHL so maybe that can play into the plan. Nate Guenin may draw the ire of Avs fans when playing for Colorado but he should be a major upgrade defensively on just about everyone on the SA roster. I'm wondering if they put him with Z and let the big man run loose or maybe put him with Gormley and see if splitting him off from Mat Clark can get him out of his funk.
Rampage at Monsters Friday night 7pm in the ET
Rampage at Monsters Saturday night 7pm in the ET
All games on Ticket 760
Bakersfield on Tuesday, chill for a few days, then a 3-in-3 against a few other California teams to close out the Rodeo Road Trip. March is almost all home games with one quick trip to the coast.
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No conflict tonight and Saturday's game will lead right into Avs/Oilers so stop by and enjoy your prospects and Nate Guenin!