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From the Rampage Desk: Week 24.1 - 39 Days and Counting...

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The beloved Rampage have gone 39 days and 15 games without a win in regulation. What is it going to take to break that? Today it's a win against the red-hot Grand Rapids Griffins who haven't lost a game in exactly one month. No problemo.

News

- Mikko Rantanen was called up to the Avalanche on Saturday due to the dire injury situation there. Until Nate MacKinnon's MRI on Monday there's no guessing how long he will be with Colorado

- Spencer Martin was called up from Ft Wayne on Friday to replace Reto Berra

- Trevor Cheek was also called up from Ft Wayne to replace Mikko (and others probably)

Injury Report

Reto Berra left the Gulls game after the 1st period on Wednesday. Diagnosis is LBI unrelated to his previous ankle injury and he should be out a week or so.

Duncan Siemens has been cleared to play after missing 16 games with a neck injury sustained in early February. He should start today vs GRG

Ben Street seems to be ready to play but needed clearance from the Docs in Colorado. No word on if that's happened yet or when it might if it hasn't. I guess you could say the Rampage kinda need him right now.

Troy Bourke missed Friday's game perhaps with the flu, perhaps not

Taylor Beck remains out with LBI

Drazenovic and Schumacher are out with undisclosed injuries

Recap: San Diego/Ontario

Horrifying mistakes have now become commonplace and put the Rampage in a nightly hole they can’t climb out of. On paper Wednesday's game was winnable, they outshot the Gulls even without score-effects and by the eye test had as many or more good scoring chances. In reality, a few defensive breakdowns and poor goaltending let an even game get out of hand. Reto Berra saved 12/13 (.923) in the 1st period but left, probably for a week or longer, while Roman Will saved 6/9 (.667) in the 2nd and 9/11 (.818) in the 3rd. That’s not good enough. The Gulls had idiotic turnovers in their own zone and gave up odd-man rushes too and it didn’t kill their game.

Aggz had 7 SOG to lead the team which was odd because none were all that noticeable… Mikko had an assist for his 51st point of the year and leads the rookie scoring race by a few… Special teams weren’t a huge factor but the shortie and PPG the Gulls scored turned a 3-1 game into a 5-1 blowout… The Gulls PPG came on a phantom holding call on Zadorov very early in the 3rd, very poor officiating there… Cody Corbett scored his 3rd goal of the year, even tho’ it was in garbage time it was a nice one. He still has some turnover and positioning issues and playing with Mat Clark is no easy task but I’ve seen real progress in his game this year…

The Rampage came out swinging against Ontario on Friday, less than 2 minutes in Mikko lofted a wrist shot in from the blue line and Sam Henley tipped it out of midair past Peter Budaj for a 1-0 lead. Later in the 1st Mason Geertsen made a thoughtful pass to Andrew Agozzino in the corner who setup Borna Rendulic for an easy tap in and a 2-0 lead.

The 2nd started with more pressure for SA but a Brandon Gormley hooking call after losing his man set up a sequence that included another penalty, an heroic 1:15 5v3 kill done completely by Aggz, Guenin & Clark, and finally a fluky rebound goal for Ontario nearing the end of the power play. With around 4 minutes remaining the Reign tied the game up on a visibly deflating soft goal past Roman.

What happened in the 3rd was so typical that it wasn't surprising in the least. Yet another poor defensive play by Brandon Gormley allowed a strong-side rush right at the goal by Johnny Brodzinski who put it right over Roman's shoulder. Less than 2 minutes later, Max Noreau lost the puck in the slot and it was 4-2. Another minute goes by and a soft goal from the point ends Roman's night. Three goals in just over three minutes on five shots and the game went from tied to out-of-reach, all due to sloppy mistakes and poor goaltending. From there on, the Reign played collapse and control getting just one SOG in the remaining 13 minutes. Reid Petryk stole a puck in the o-zone and wristed one by Boods to make it 5-3 but that was as close as SA could get it. Another frustrating loss and 8 in an a row.

Preview: Grand Rapids

I usually FF through the inters when I’m watching on a delay but I caught Ontario coach Mike Stothers talking to the radio guy and it was very interesting. He said emphatically and repeatedly that when things aren’t going well it all goes back to getting pucks on the net. Simplifying the game. Getting traffic in front. All things Coach Dean says constantly and everyone thinks he’s an idiot, but Stothers is right. Even though Ontario is the top team in the Western Conference they've been through some rough stretches lately and Stothers word to the team was simply to get pucks to the net, focus on that and the other things take care of themselves. It's good advice and pretty obvious that when the Rampage do that, they end up with some good things happening. When they try to score, or not get scored upon, they end up looking like a team that hasn't won a game in regulation for almost 6 weeks.

Despite their poor start which included a couple losses to San Antonio, the Griffins have been pure fire lately winning 13 in a row. This is the most scheduly of schedule losses too with the Griffins hanging out in Texas for the past few days while the Rampage had to travel back from California yesterday. Today is Pucks & Paws Night, so don't be surprised if you hear some barking from the stands and I'm betting Nate Guenin gets a point at least.

Lines/Pairs from Friday:
Evs – Mikko – Nunn
Aggz – Hish – Borna
Big Sam – Belz – Pete
Thompson – x – Bordy

Z – Guenin
Mason – Clark
Gorms – Max
Corbett

Will
Martin

Scratched: Mags (nacho*), Bourke (sick?), Duncan (UBI), Street (UBI), Beck (LBI), Schumi (?BI), Draz (?BI)

- I think Mags might have been scratched for what he did to Kurt MacDermid and got suspended for, there’s probably a bounty on his ass or something. At the very least it would be a distraction. Also with Duncan coming back this was an audition for some defenseman to stay with the club rather than be sent back to FTW.

We'll see what the staff has in mind for today's lineup after morning skate. We know that Mikko is gone and Trevor Cheek and Duncan Siemens are available. All sort of fun possibilities are out there. What I expect is to see Geertsen and Corbett benched even tho' Dean said they were going to give playing time to the youngsters. If there's any justice, Brandon Gormley will have a nice long rest this week. It pains me to say this but he makes me miss Bruno Gervais at this point.

Schedule

Sunday evening vs Grand Rapids 5pm in the ET

Tuesday night vs Grand Rapids 8pm in the ET

All games on Ticket 760

Next up

Bakersfield & Texas at home next weekend

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Rampage game will be done long before the Avs take on Edmonton tonight, no conflict Tuesday so stop by and support what's left of your prospects and Nate Guenin. Enjoy!