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From the Rampage Desk: Week 22.1 - Reign in Blood

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Snappy title, eh? The beloved Rampage get a rematch against Ontario tonight coming off a 5-1 loss on Sunday. Injuries and illness and now a suspension are hitting the roster hard.

News

- Cody Corbett was called up over the weekend to offset some injuries

- Mason Geertsen was called up after Sunday's Komets game, again to offset some injuries

- Dan Maggio was suspended Tuesday for sucker punching Ontario's Kurtis MacDermid. He will miss the next 3 games, tonight and both vs Lake Erie this weekend

- The Rampage signed Garry Nunn from the Atlanta Gladiators to a PTO. Nunn is a 5'9 175# forward who has spent most of the last 7 years in the ECHL with Alaska and Atlanta. He has 44 pts in 43 games this year. Worth noting that this is the second signing from the Glads this season. I'm sure they would have rather called up someone from Ft Wayne but the Komets are on a road trip in Alaska right now with like 15 players.

- The Avs signed 19 year old forward Julien Nantel of Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) to an ELC yesterday. He should be a solid addition to the Rampage next year. Given that RN is the top team in the Q it is unlikely we will see him on an ATO later in this season.

- Dan Weiss had an interesting pre-game chat with Dean Chynoweth before Sunday's game. Talking about trading Hubert Labrie to Chicago he basically hinted that they were throwing in the towel early and taking a look at guys who will be around next season plus guys who might be around next season if they fit the needs of the team. With 3 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie signed for next year, the needs are many and broad.

This is a sea change for the Avs AHL squad, usually it's been fight fight fight until mathematical elimination no matter how hopeless it is in reality. I'm glad to see it but unless they're bringing in a boatload of ATOs for the last couple weeks I don't see much changing. Pretty much everyone in the pro dev system with a chance at playing time next year is already on the roster except for Spencer Martin.

Injury report

Mikko missed both games last weekend with the flu

Bordy had the flu on Sunday

Yogi had the flu all weekend and wasn't even going to dress on Sunday. Good thing he did because he had to relieve Roman after the 1st period.

Ben Street is now skating with the team in a NC jersey, no word on a return date but I bet he's pretty close

Michael Schumacher, Nic Drazenovic and Max Noreau are all out with unspecified injuries

Duncan Siemens is still sore from his collision with Hubert Labrie a month ago, no word on any return yet. They keep saying sore and not concussed which is interesting I guess.

Komets

The Komets are on a 7-game Western swing. In the past week they lost to Colorado 3-1, lost to Rapid City 8-6, beat Rapid City 3-2 in OT and pulled off a shootout win in Loveland against the Eagles on Sunday 4-3. Now that most of the prospects with a future are back in San Antonio, I'm not going to be following the K's that much. I do get the feeling they'll be back there for the Kelly Cup playoffs once the Rampage play out the string.

Recap: Moose/Reign

I could C+P any one of a number of summaries from this year for the Manitoba game. Dumb penalties and bad PK gave the Moose 2 goals, which was twice as many as they needed. Connor Hellebuyck is a good goalie at the NHL level so stopping the Rampage wasn’t a big ask. The ultra-predictable PP couldn’t find the net on 6 chances to cap off the usual special teams disaster. San Antonio rarely plays to it’s potential anymore and I agree with Coach Dean that the players’ execution leaves a lot to be desired on more nights than you would like, but I’m not seeing much innovation from the staff to combat a stagnant and predictable offense. This team has changed very little in what they do over the last 3 months and it shows and the main reason they seem to have gotten worse has more to do with other clubs improving over the season. We go through this every year with Dean, the same issues present themselves towards the end of every season.

Like: Beck, Zadorov

Taylor Beck’s play was great to see. He’s big, can move and has decent puck skills. Zadorov is back to 100% and playing some of the best hockey of the year for the Rampage.

Dislike: Everything else

Recapping Rampage games is getting extremely difficult, there are few positives and running down the same list of errors and shortcomings has become mind-numbingly redundant. Sunday afternoon the errors started right off the opening faceoff when Cody Corbett, fresh from being called up from Ft Wayne, couldn’t handle the puck and Jordan Samuels-Thomas took it and blew a wrister past a snoozing Roman Will. Despite that, San Antonio proceeded to play a strong 1st period save for another turnover that turned into another soft goal that trickled through Roman’s pads. The Reign made it 3-0 after more poor defense left Nic Dowd wide open for a rocket and the game was more than over with 43 minutes left to play.

Other highlights: Dan Maggio took offense at Kurtis MacDermid boarding Henley in garbage time and savagely coldcocked him. Suspension noted above… Cody Corbett scored with a few minutes left, that was the 1st goal since late in the game in Stockton ending ~118 minutes of futility. Reid Petryk had a beautiful setup on the play… Rampage played with 17 skaters thanks to the flu and other injuries. Garrett Thompson also had the flu but dressed anyway although in limited minutes… Yogi had the flu as well but was pressed into service after Roman gave up 3 goals on 6 shots in the 1st. He saved 21/23 in the 2nd & 3rd… Justin Hamonic struggled defensively, he and Joey Hishon were totally worked on 3 of the goals. I think they like this kid for some reason I don’t quite see yet… Rampage PP went 0/6 for the second game in a row… Troy Bourke was flying all night freed from the confines of the 4th line plugs. Dean really needs to find a way to use his speed, there’s so little on the team it makes a great changeup.

Preview: Reign rematch

Ontario is still really good and Peter Budaj is still one of the best goalies in the league. San Antonio actually had some decent pressure before score effects took over on Sunday so there is some hope. It's anyone's guess what the lineup will be, we know Mason and Garry Nunn will now be available so at least there could be 18 skaters. It's wishful thinking, but if you add Mikko, Ben Street, Noreau and Siemens to last week's lineup it would actually be pretty competitive. Too bad the spread between those 4 guys and the ones they would replace is so large.

A note about Siemens, since he was injured a month ago the Rampage have gone 3-7-1 with only one regulation win, which happened to be the next game against a reeling Charlotte team. We all know his weaknesses, not great with the puck and doesn't put up points, but his skating and defensive ability have been sorely missed. Looking at the current defense, if you take out Zadorov everyone left is a below average skater and Guenin is the only one that can maybe play semi-competently in the d-zone. There's just not much you can do as far as closing out a team late other than put Z/Guenin out a lot and hope the other guys don't blow it for you. Duncan played lots of tough minutes and, as of the last season Corsi report we have from Topher, was leading defensemen in Corsi for percentage and the only regular that was over 50%. The Rampage haven't found a way to replace that and it shows.

Lines/pairs from Sunday:
Aggz – Hish – Beck
Evs – Belz – Pete
Thompson – Big Sam – Borna
Bourke – X – Mags

Z – Guenin
Corbs – Clark
Gorms – Hamonic

Roman
Yogi

Scratched: Mikko (flu), Schumi (inj), Drazenovic (inj), Noreau (inj), Bordy (flu), Street (UBI), Duncan (UBI)

Schedule

Rampage vs Reign Wednesday 8pm in the ET, radio from Ticket 760

Links

Stats

Standings

Next up

Our old friends the Lake Erie Monsters stop by for a Friday/Sunday weekend series

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Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, the Rampage game will be at 2nd inter when the Avs drop the puck vs Anaheim tonight. Stop by for updates, I have no idea when I'll get to see the 3rd but we'll muddle through.