The San Antonio Rampage's recent downswing continued as they posted a 1-3 record over the past week. The lone victory over Chicago did snap the club's six-game losing streak, but they followed up with a disappointing home loss to rival Texas.
On Tuesday night, the Rampage played the first of two games in Charlotte. The Checkers took the tilt by a 2-1 count on Justin Shugg 's power-play goal with 6:06 remaining in regulation time. Eric Selleck opened the scoring in the second period to give the Rampage the lead. Jared Gomes and Ryan Whitney combined to set up Selleck's third of the season. Charlotte countered 56 seconds later when Chris Terry beat Jacob Markstrom to even the game. John Muse made 26 saves to post the win, while Markstrom also stopped 26 shots in the losing effort. Matt Gilroy played his first game with San Antonio after being sent down by the Panthers.
In Thursday's rematch, Michael Houser was the surprise starter in goal for the Rampage. Houser was recalled from the Cincinnati Cyclones to replace Markstrom who was on his way to Sunrise due to the Tim Thomas injury. Once again, the Checkers ended up winning, this time by a 3-2 margin, on a third period power-play goal. Greg Rallo converted with San Antonio on a first period power play to open the scoring. Drew Shore and Jed Ortmeyer picked up the assists. Zach Boychuk evened things up just under two minutes later with Charlotte on a power play. Ortmeyer notched a power-play goal early in the middle stanza, on assists from Shore and Rallo, to give the Rampage its second lead of the match. Charlotte's Keegan Lowe scored late in the second to tie things up. Chris Terry would pot the game-winner with 8 seconds left in the game, with Garrett Wilson serving a goaltender interference minor, to give the Checkers the victory. Houser stopped 23 shots, while John Muse picked up the win again, this time making 25 saves. The loss was the sixth straight for the Rampage. The next day, the team announced that goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris was traded to the Hartford Wolf Pack for future considerations.
San Antonio returned home on Saturday, which was Teddy Bear Toss Night, and skated to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Wolves in front of a crowd of 6.578. Mark Mancari staked the Wolves to a 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first period. Jed Ortmeyer scored midway through the frame to tie the game at one. Garrett Wilson tapped in a power-play goal at 15:16 to give the Rampage the lead. Greg Rallo and Drew Shore picked up the helpers. Just over a minute later, Quinton Howden notched his fourth of the season with an unassisted shorthanded goal to extend San Antonio's advantage to 3-1. Brent Regner would beat Michael Houser midway through the third period to pull the Wolves within a goal. Bobby Butler scored a power-play marker on a nice wrist-shot sixteen seconds later to restore San Antonio's two-goal lead. Drew Shore and Ryan Whitney got the assists on Butler's ninth of the campaign. Sergey Andronov would score late in the period, but the Rampage would hold on to get win and finally break their losing streak. Houser finished with 34 saves to raise his record to 5-2 on the season. Matt Climie took the loss for Chicago. San Antonio signed Rob Madore to an AHL contract to backup Houser until Markstrom returns from the parent Panthers.
The Rampage finished the week off by getting thumped 5-2 at home by cross-state rival, the Texas Stars. Texas jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals from Scott Glennie and Chris Mueller. Curtis McKenzie extended the lead to 3-0 with a goal midway through the second frame. Greg Rallo finally got the Rampage on the board five minutes later with his seventh of the season. Zach Miskovic and Ryan Whitney collected the helpers. Garrett Wilson scored 5 seconds into the third period to bring San Antonio within one. Drew Shore picked up the lone assist on the goal. Mike Hedden scored late in the third to make it 4-2 Texas before McKenzie iced the game with a empty-netter. Michael Houser took loss, while Cristopher Nilstrop made 35 saves to get the win.
San Antonio (11-15-0-2) is on the road for three games this week, starting with Wednesday night's rematch against the Stars in Cedar Park. The team will face the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday and do battle with the Iowa Wild on Saturday.
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