The San Antonio Rampage wrapped up their second extended road trip of the young AHL season outscoring two opponents 8-1 Friday and Saturday nights.
Goaltender Spencer Martin registered his sixth AHL shutout Friday night as the Rampage blanked the Rockford Ice Hogs, 6-0. Martin’s shutout was legit – he stopped 17 shots in the final period alone as the Hogs tried to get back into the game, down 5-0 at the end of two periods. Overall, Martin kicked out a season-high 39 Rockford shots en route to the win.
Defensemen David Warsofsky, Mason Geertsen and Chris Butler lent Martin support at the other end of the rink, with Warsofsky scoring two goals, Geertsen his second of the season and Butler his first Rampage goal from the blueline. Andrew Agozzino and Reid Petryk also tallied, while Avalanche organization newcomer, Vladislav Kamenev assisted on three goals.
The dormant San Antonio power play found life, scoring a franchise-tying four goals, and almost getting a new high five. Tage Thompson scored what appeared to be the seventh Rampage goal and fifth extra skater marker in the third period, but it was waived off by the officiating crew. Instead of announcing the Rampage goal, the PA announcer told the crowd of a double minor on Rampage defenseman Jesse Graham for high-sticking, about 30 seconds before the San Antonio goal! Re-read that, please. Graham did crash a Hog against the boards, but no arm or whistle. Play continued in the zone and Thompson scored. However, the officials effectively put their heads together, denied the goal and banished Graham to the box!
First time for everything. Last season in San Antonio, Trey Bourke almost scored on a breakaway, which is fine, but he was supposed to be in the penalty box, so we’ve seen some strange calls made the past year or so. At least the call had no effect on the outcome of the game, as Martin stood on his head all night.
Saturday, Martin got the call again, and except for a first-period Chicago goal, ran his record to 6-1-1 and put him in contention for AHL Player of the Week, as the Rampage beat the Wolves, 2-1. Andrew Agozzino scored the game-winner just 75 seconds into the third period, and once again Martin made it stand up. The Wolves pulled their goalie with 2:20 left in the third period, and the puck stayed in the San Antonio zone for much of that time as Martin used every trick in his book to keep the Wolves at bay.
Agozzino is now at a point per game with six goals and six assists in 12 contests. Each of the three goals in the game were scored by players who donned the big bad Wolf last season, as St. Louis Blues farmhands faced-off against each other in this one. Adam Musil, a Blues fourth-round pick, scored the first Rampage goal from former Blues first rounder, Jordan Schmaltz and Samuel Blais, who surprised last year with 26 goals in Chicago after his selection by St. Louis in the sixth round in 2014.
For the record, NHL veteran Brandon Pirri scored the only Wolves goal to open the scoring at 11:21 of the first period. Weird stat of the day – Pirri, while playing for the Florida Panthers four years ago, scored his NHL career-high 22 goals with TWO assists for 24 points. How does that happen??
Once again, it was Martin who was the difference, as the Rampage were outshot once again, 35-20. His 1.93 GAA puts him fourth in the league. But if you delete his five-goals allowed in 40 minute span vs. San Diego, his GAA falls to 1.41! Overall, Martin has allowed only 15 goals in eight games with a .934 save percentage.
Great to see Warsofsky get on the scoreboard with his two goals and an assist for the weekend. One of the last cuts from the Avs training camp, Warsofsky is the power play general the Rampage have lacked since Maxime Noreau was the team's second-leading scorer behind Mikko Rantanen three years ago. Warsofsky had 148 points in 305 AHL games coming into the season, playing in Providence and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before signing with the Avs this season. Last year the Marshfield, Massachusetts native scored 16-31-47 in 58 games with the AHL Penguins.
UP NEXT: The Rampage welcome the reigning Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins for a Tuesday morning “grab the kids from school and take them to the hockey game” game that has a 10:30 faceoff. Why didn’t they have those when I was in 6th grade?
San Antonio, at 9-3-1 and in second place behind Tucson percentage-wise, busses up to Cedar Park to play the Texas Stars Wednesday night, followed by their only regularly schedule November home game Saturday night vs the same Stars. The Rampage finish up the month, guess what – on the road again with two stops in Bakersfield against the Edmonton Oilers affiliate sandwiched around a game in San Jose, with a contest in San Diego for good measure against the Ducks farmhands.
With all the road games – 14-6 by the end of the month – it means a busy December for the AT&T Center change-over crews, as the Rampage will be home 10 times – including an eight-game homestand – with only three roadies and one of those vs the Stars. Another eight-game homestand awaits in January/February prior to their annual San Antonio Stock Show sabbatical…this season, a 12-game, 26-day journey. At least, with the teams on the west coast, the games will be somewhat close by. The AHL schedule breaker, er maker, in the past, put the team through three-games-in-three-night nightmares in three different cities back east many years.
One very creative situation sticks in my mind – a Friday night game in Providence, followed by a Saturday night contest at Quad Cities, Illinois. Try making those connections from Rhode Island to Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Illinois! Brutal.