The beloved Rampage's win streak was stopped at 5 by Milwaukee on Saturday but they continued their solid play nonetheless, which is nice. The final 5 games of the season kick off tonight with a meeting vs San Jose.
- Avs 2015 6th round draft pick Sergei Boikov becomes the Rampage's first Amateur Try-Out signing of the season. He joined the team yesterday. Boikov is a defensive defenseman and a really good skater. He was a mainstay for Drummondville of the QMJHL this season and played for Russia in this year's World Junior Championships against Mikko Rantanen and the Finns for the Gold Medal. I'm sure those two will have some fun stuff to talk about in the room.
- Dean Chynoweth was suspended by the AHL for tonight's game because of abuse of the officials at the end of the Milwaukee game. He will be back on Friday.
This wasn't the first time I've seen Dean freak out on the refs but it was definitely the wildest. It's good to see, Dean gets a lot of criticism for being too staid on the bench but overall that's a good thing. The coach needs to even out the highs and lows young players go through not amplify them. Once in a while it's the right time to take a stand against some absolutely deplorable officiating and this was well placed. Not going to compare it to Patrick pushing the glass in his first game with the Avs but it's the same idea.
- Will Weber and Trevor Cheek were optioned back to the Komets on Tuesday. Ft Wayne has all but clinched the 2nd spot in the ECHL WC so there's not much to play for in the final 3 games. Kelly Cup Playoffs open on the 15th, which is the Rampage's final game so I expect the rest of the K's callups to trickle down there in the next week. SA's last game vs Manitoba could have a really 'interesting' lineup.
- Michael Schumacher is out with a shoulder injury
- Taylor Beck is out with LBI
- Reid Petryk missed both games last weekend with a minor injury but could be back tonight
I kept waiting for the Rampage to fall back to earth, not that a 5-game win streak is an amazing feat but it is impressive given where they were coming from beforehand. Friday night they played a good, even first on the road, yielding only a late goal on a defensive breakdown. Max Noreau tied it up but some careless play on the PP allowed the Hogs to get it right back. Garry Nunn’s goal as the 2nd period drew to a close obviously gave them some energy going into the 3rd in a tie game. They flat out dominated in the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period. 3 goals, 16 shots and probably had the puck in the Rockford zone 80-90% of the time. They eased back into some bad habits after that but the IceHogs had no answers and the game ended 5-2 with neither team generating anything approaching offense for the last 3 minutes.
Garry Nunn’s goal was the launching point for the dominant 3rd, it’s his 3rd goal for SA and his 9th point in 10 games. Not often you can get almost a pt/gm out of a callup from the ECHL… Trevor Cheek had a goal and assist… Mikko & Belz had 2 assists apiece… Max, Thompson and Borna also had goals… Mason Geertsen got his 5th assist of the year on a nice breakout pass to Belzile and looks more and more comfortable with consistent playing time… Reto Berra was solid saving 26/28 in his first game back after an injury.
The Rampage dominated play for the first 12 minutes on Saturday but the Midwest Division leading Admirals gradually took over momentum, capitalizing on a couple of defensive errors to take a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period. From there, they took defensive control of the game and ended up clinching a playoff spot with a 2-1 win. Taking a detached view, the Admirals had this one in hand but the refs didn’t make it easy or even fair for San Antonio. 6 straight calls went against the Rampage and flagrant fouls went uncalled including Mikko Rantanen getting tackled with 25 seconds left. Coach Dean went bananas at that and continued after the final horn, throwing water bottles towards the Referees and unleashing a few minutes of colorful metaphors. He received a game misconduct and later a suspension. Mikko went over to the ref after the game and gave him a sarcastic thumbs up. Gotta love that kid.
Despite MKE having twice as many power plays they only outshot SA by 3… The PK killed all 6… Yogi was stout saving 27/29. The two goals against were a breakaway thanks to a dumb play and a back door tap-in thanks to a dumb play… Borna scored with 79 seconds left, Mikko and Evs had the assists… Ben Street, frustrated that the Rampage were getting all kinds of soft calls while MKE hacked away with no consequence, hacked the shit out of rookie Vladislav Kamenev to demonstrate to the refs what a real penalty looks like.
Preview: San Jose
The Rampage continue their role as spoiler vs San Jose who are in a dogfight with Charlotte for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Given the changes in playing style and personnel lately it's a hard one to handicap but I'll say SA has a pretty good chance here.
Lines/Pairs from Saturday:
Evs – Street – Nunn
Henley – Mikko – Borna
Draz – Hish – Thompson
Cheek – Belz – Bourke
Duncan – Max
Gormley – Clark
Mason – Guenin
Injured: Pete, Beck, Schumi
Cheek's demotion makes it seem likely that Petryk is ready to go. Mags & Bordy have been healthy for a while and haven't dressed so I doubt Cheek was sent down to make room for a goon. Whether Boikov plays is a decision probably made at higher levels but I'm guessing we won't see him until Friday regardless.
Rampage vs San Jose Wednesday night, 8:00pm in the ET. Radio on Ticket 760
A weekend series vs Iowa
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No conflict with the Avs tonight so stop by and support your prospects and Nate Guenin!