In the postseason, no matter which league, everything from the atmosphere to the speed is escalated. The San Antonio Rampage, appearing in their first AHL Calder Cup playoff game since 2008, were slow to get this message. The Chicago Wolves, a playoff-hardened club now affiliated with Vancouver, dominated the Rampage in the first period and looked to have young goaltender Jacob Markstrom squarely where they wanted him. Recap and highlights after the jump...The game opened with a Wolves goal from forward Bill Sweatt, who scored off a rebound that Markstrom thought he had, but bounced into the net. The Rampage did answer back with a James Wright goal, coming off an amazing pass from Bill Thomas to tie the game. The Wolves would end the period with two more goals, the first from Tim Miller and the second, on the powerplay, from Nicklas Jensen, his first of the night. Both goals were assisted by Darren Hayder, who set an AHL record for playoff assists.
The Rampage came out in the second period a new team. Drew Shore scored the second goal five minutes in, coming from Jon Matsumoto behind the net. Nicklas Jensen scored again, on the powerplay, three minutes later which would be the Wolves final goal of the game. Jon Matsumoto cut the lead to one on the powerplay, scoring his first playoff goal off a rebound from Colby Robak. Alexander Petrovic was credited with the secondary assist, scoring his first pro point.
Matsumoto tied the game in the third off a rebound Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack couldn't handle; neither club would score another goal in regulation. After Wolves defensemen Kevin Connauton was sent to the box for delay of game, Robak scored the overtime winner, earning his second point of the night and first star honors.
Matsumoto was alive and on fire tonight. He and James Wright set a set single game franchise record for playoff points with four. He had a hand in all but the first goal for the Rampage and put the team on his back with back-to-back goals to tie the game.
Jacob Markstrom (post-first period)
After allowing three goals on 11 shots, Markstrom showed his mental toughness by allowing only one goal for the rest of the game. Making 25 saves from the second period on, Markstrom made highlight save after save in the overtime period where the Wolves outshot the Rampage 7-0.
Rookies Drew Shore and Alexander Petrovic
Shore moved up to the second line, replacing the injured Michal Repik, and Petrovic started in place of Sean Sullivan on defense. Shore scored his second professional goal and Petrovic was everywhere on the ice in the final minutes.
Another player added to the roster mid-season, Wright had his best game as a Rampage. Having a hand in all but the third goal, Wright was everywhere the team needed him to be tonight, leading the team with five shots on goal and a plus-two.
Rampage Killer: The First Period
The Wolves scored three goals in the first period, and outshot the Rampage 11-8. They scored all three goals in the span of six minutes, taking complete advantage of Rampage defensive breakdowns and rebounds off Markstrom. Ugly first 20.
April 19, 2012 vs. Chicago Wolves Game 1 Highlights (via sanantoniorampage)
Next up: Game Two, Saturday from AT&T Center/San Antonio 8 p.m. ET