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From the Rampage Desk: Week 20.1 - It's Tuesday, must be Bakersfield

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After a reunion at Lake Erie the Rampage move back to California for the final leg of the Rodeo Road Trip. Kicking off the week is a game against the Bakersfield Condors who are also Saturday's opponent.

News

- Sunday afternoon the Avs traded Colin Smith and a 4th round pick to the Maple Leafs for Shawn Matthias. Apparently he found out on the bus as the Rampage were headed to Bakersfield. He is expected to report to the Marlies.

Smitty was drafted as a 19 year old by the Avs back in 2012 and proceeded to score 106 points the following season for Kamloops. It's pretty rare that a 7th round pick earns a contract, much less gets a look at the NHL level, but Colorado signed him to an ELC and a little over a year later called him up for a game. Yeah, he didn't stick around and was over his head but it's still impressive.

Colin's rookie season with the Monsters he put up 8G/26A, good enough for 3rd on the team in scoring behind Aggz and Mark Olver, and was the only player to start all 76 games. Last year he put up 12G/19A missing 23 games with a viciously broken leg and that callup to the Avs. As of right now he's 3rd on the Rampage with 13G/21A and again the only player to start every game so far. He's a battler and a good teammate and will be sorely missed. Good luck Smitty.

- With Smith's departure, the Avs need to make a move to accommodate Matthias joining the team. Since Andreas Martinsen is the only waiver exempt forward, it seems like he will be the one joining the Rampage again soon unless something wacky happens between now and game time Wednesday night.

- The NHL trade deadline is Monday so there could be further moves that affect San Antonio, in fact I'll be surprised if there aren't

- Our friends at the Rampage site have a good article on Garrett Thompson this week

- With the Avs playing an outdoor game this weekend, Calvin Pickard looks back on the Monsters/Amerks outdoor tilt from a couple years ago

Injury Report

Dennis Everberg missed both games this past weekend with the flu

Nick Drazenovic missed Friday's game with the flu as well but was good to go Saturday

Mat Clark missed both games this weekend with a personal matter

Duncan Siemens remains in San Antonio recuperating from his collision on the ice against Charlotte

Komets

The brother Komets split a home & home with Toledo then lost to Colorado on Sunday.

Troy Bourke scored 3 goals and had an assist over the weekend. He's now at 10 pts in 8 games for Ft Wayne. Blake Sebring of the News-Sentinel had a good article on the youngster getting his confidence back.

Garrett Meurs set a team record by scoring 2 goals 4 seconds apart against the Eagles on Sunday. Check out the vid, that's quick.

Recap: Lake Erie

Patrick Bordeleau and Dan Maggio celebrated their return to the Q Friday night by staging back to back fights 2 minutes into the game. In hindsight, this probably pissed off the refs so they decided to send a message by calling every little penalty possible for the rest of the 1st period. It ended up benefiting the Rampage, who took a 2-1 lead to intermission on PP goals from Agozzino and Petryk. The 2nd period was a quiet, low-event affair with both teams combining for a total of 11 SOG. The Rampage got their only even strength goal of the night from Michael Schumacher and the Monsters capitalized on a stupid Labrie penalty late to make it 3-2. Lake Erie tied the game in the middle of the 3rd on a soft goal over Roman’s shoulder and both teams played for the point from then on. After killing Mikko’s 3rd minor of the night in OT, the Rampage couldn’t manage anything offensively and Michael Chaput ended the game with his 2nd of the game for LEM.

I think young Mikko is feeling a bit frustrated lately, the word is out and teams are basically manhandling him to get him off his game. At least one of his 3 penalties was a definite retaliation while the one in OT was from getting beat in front of the net. It’s tough to watch but ultimately it’s good prep for playing in the NHL. That said, he had 2 assists and drew some calls and did Mikko things all night in spite of getting mugged constantly… Aggz looked like his old self again getting a goal and an assist and almost had a sweet breakaway score… Petryk got off the skids with a badly needed goal on the PP and beat out a couple of icings on the forecheck… Nate Guenin looked good out there despite tipping the Monsters 2nd goal past Roman. He had an assist in his Rampage debut… Roman had another poor performance, it’s easy to see that when he is league average or better the Rampage always win and when he’s bad they always lose. Picks and Marty are similar of course, Sv% is a function of the team defense most of the time, but they both have some hard-luck losses in there too. I know it sounds like I have it in for the guy but he just needs to be better if he’s going to play as much as he does. He’s to the point that Sami was where if he could just make one more save here and there it would make a big difference to the team and to him personally.

The Rampage and Monsters faced off again Saturday and we were treated to a superb goalie battle for the first 58 minutes of the game. San Antonio dominated play in the 1st, the 2nd was even steven and Lake Erie had the upper hand in the 3rd. The Rampage seemed to sit back a bit and fell behind in shots 18-8.

With less than 2 minutes to go things got interesting. Brandon Gormley attempted a weak chip out of the zone which traveled about 20 feet right to Oliver Bjorkstrand who lasered it past Reto Berra. Ouch, safe to say it looked like it was all over. But 7 seconds later Lake Erie took a penalty and the Rampage went into 6v4 mode, promptly giving up an ENG after Max Noreau whiffed on a shot from the left point. Now it really looked bad. Suddenly Mikko had a rebound on his stick and shoved it past Brad Theissen. 37 seconds later Max Noreau tied it up and out of nowhere we were going to OT tied at 2. All goals came in a wacky 1:22 stretch. Other than Smitty and Theissen slashing each other nothing much happened in OT and a skills comp ensued.

The first two shooters, Colin Smith & Sonny Milano, scored but following that round after round went by and the goalies gave nothing up. Nikita Zadorov shot 6th for SA and made a comical flailing move managing to lose the puck and stumble into Thiessen. Max Noreau went 7th and dispensed with all the dekes everyone else was making and smoked a slapshot over the goalie’s shoulder from the bottom of the circles to give the rampage Ad-in. Trent Vogelhuber must not have been paying attention because the 5 guys preceding him had tried to deke Yogi to the left and were stopped. He was too and San Antonio had the 2 points.

Max Noreau was the hero of the game with an assist on Mikko’s goal, the game-tying score and the game-winner in the shootout… Reto Berra was fantastic making 39/40 saves in regulation and 6/7 in the skills comp, impressive considering it was his first game in more than 10 weeks. If the Rampage are going to break the .500 cycle they been in for the last month they’re going to need a good goalie to do it. Hopefully he can stick around for a while… Mikko Rantanen scored his 18th goal and 44th point, keeping him in 7th place in AHL scoring. He’s one of only 3 guys in the top-10 at point/game or better and trails only Seth Griffith of the P-Bruins for points rate (both right around 1.26/gm)… Aggz had an assist to give him 3 on the weekend so he’s looking back to form. He played a lot in both games, 5v5, PP, PK you name it… Zadorov had a troubling game. Although he managed a few SOG and assisted on Max’s goal he was unengaged all night and had what seemed like 10 turnovers from being soft as church music on the puck. If he’s got lingering issues from his LBI it might be better to sit him against Bakersfield so he can be fresh for the 3-in-3 next weekend.

Overall this was a fantastic return to Cleveland for the Rampage. Both teams played great and both came away with 3 points. It was good to see the Q Arena again and Coach Jock on the broadcast and even better having Doc Cathy back posting in the thread like old times.

Preview: Bakersfield

The Condors sit one spot ahead of the Rampage in 5th and have lost 2 in a row. Hopefully coming off a weekend of good play and having Berra in the net can make the difference here.

Lines from Saturday night:

Thompson – Clish – Borna
Aggz – Draz – Pete
Schumi – Mikko – Smitty
Big Sam – Hish – Bordy

Gormley – Max
Z – Guns
Hubie – Hammy

Yogi
Roman

Scratched: Evs (flu), Mags (nacho), Clark (personal), Duncan (UBI)

Hopefully Evs has recovered from the flu enough to play or we'll have Mags/Bordy together on the 4th again. Hishon was moved back to Rantanen's line midway through last game, probably a good idea. No word on if Clark is with the team in Bakersfield. If someone from the Avs is on the way it won't be until the weekend. Yogi is scheduled to start tonight AFAIK.

Schedule

Rampage at Condors Tuesday night 10pm in the ET, radio on Ticket 760

Links

Stats

Standings

Next up

A weekend 3-in-3 moving gradually northward from San Diego, back to Bakersfield and on to Stockton.

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No conflict with the Avs tonight so stop by and say hi to your prospects and Nate Guenin. Enjoy!