The San Antonio Rampage seem to have improved over the last couple of weeks, leading to a slight move up in the standings. The Silver and Black continue to be a tough out for most opponents, and have now picked up at least a point in five-straight games. Like their parent club, they are having serious issues with their power play, which is costing them wins. The Rampage are currently five points behind the Rockford IceHogs for the final playoff spot in the AHL's Western Conference.
San Antonio posted their second straight win with a 4-2 decision over the Texas Stars in Cedar Park on Wednesday. Michael Houser had big night for the Silver and Black, turning away 44 of the 46 shots he faced, including all 19 in the second period. Defenseman Matt Gilroy opened the scoring with his fourth of the season, from Ryan Martindale, at 14:57 of the first period. After a scoreless middle frame, Jed Ortmeyer scored 23 seconds into the third, with the assists going to John Lee and Quinton Howden, to make it 2-0 Rampage. Ortmeyer netted a power-play goal two minutes later, by tipping in a Gilroy shot, to push San Antonio's lead to three. Logan Shaw picked up the secondary helper on the veteran forward's tenth. It was Ortmeyer's second straight two-goal performance. Texas finally got on the board, via the power play, when AHL scoring leader Travis Morin beat Houser for his 26th goal. Rookie Vincent Trocheck scored from John McFarland to restore San Antonio's three-goal advantage before Stars center Scott Glennie lit the lamp to complete the scoring. Texas goalie Josh Robinson surrendered all 4 goals, on just 18 shots, in taking the loss.
The Rampage returned to San Antonio for Friday night's meeting with the Toronto Marlies. Toronto was down by two goals twice, but came back to win 4-3 in overtime. The game was played in front of a huge crowd of 15,251 on Pink in the Rink night, which saw the Rampage sport pink and white sweaters to benefit breast cancer research and awareness. Bobby Butler scored twice in the first period to stake San Antonio to a 2-0 lead. The first goal was an unassisted tally at 1:39, the second was a shorthanded goal, assisted by Logan Shaw, at the 15:15 mark. Butler has now notched a team-leading 15 goals. Brandon Kozun scored a power-play marker to get Toronto on the board early in the second period. The goal was set up by former Panther T.J. Brennan and Spencer Abbott. Rampage captain Greg Rallo lit the lamp at 4:38 of the third period to restore San Antonio's two-goal lead. Eric Selleck and Ryan Martindale picked up the helpers on Rallo's ninth. The Marlies rallied to tie the game on goals from Tyler Biggs and Jerry D'Amigo. D'Amigo scored with just 55 seconds left in regulation. San Antonio's Jed Ortmeyer took a tripping penalty 16 seconds into the extra session to set the stage for Toronto's Kozun to win it with another power-play goal. Brennan and Abbott got the helpers again, as Kozun beat Jacob Markstrom 18 seconds after the penalty call. Markstrom finished the game with 22 saves, while Marlies keeper Garret Sparks blunted 26 shots to post the win. The Rampage went a disappointing 0-for-7 on the power play. Toronto converted twice in their nine chances.
San Antonio is off until February 5th, when they kick off a ten-game, month-long road trip in Toronto against the Marlies. The Silver and Black will not play at the AT&T Center until March 1st, when they host Texas.
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