Vermont's Connor Brickley and Wisconsin's Tyler Barnes recently signed ATO's with the San Antonio Rampage after their respective college seasons ended. The young forward duo helped spark the Rampage to back to back wins this weekend to stay mathematically alive in the AHL playoff race.
On Friday, Tyler Barnes notched two goals in his AHL debut to power the Rampage to a 5-2 over the visiting Charlotte Checkers. Defenseman Ryan Whitney started the scoring binge with his 7th goal, from Jed Ortmeyer and Drew Shore, midway through the first period. Barnes bagged a power-play marker with 24 seconds left in the frame from Garrett Wilson and Whitney. Shore lit the lamp, with assists to Greg Rallo and Ortmeyer to give the Silver and Black a three-goal cushion. That combination clicked again, as Ortmeyer scored his 14th from Shore and Rallo to make it 4-0 Rampage at 11:56 of the second. Nicolas Blanchard tallied late in the second, and Zach Boychuk scored his 33rd on a power play in the third to give the Checkers some life. Barnes put an end to the Charlotte rally with his second of the night from Josh McFadden and Wilson. Michael Houser stopped 17 of 19 shots for the win, while John Muse made 29 saves in a losing effort for the Checkers.
The Rampage followed up the Charlotte win with a 3-0 shutout over the Lake Erie Monsters. After a scoreless first period, Josh McFadden scored his first career AHL goal, from John McFarland and Ryan Martindale, at 7:11 of the second to open the scoring. Connor Brickley bagged his first AHL goal ten minutes later to make it 2-0 for the Silver and Black. McFarland and Drew Shore picked up the helpers on Brickley's power-play tally. Greg Rallo fired home a power-play marker in the third period, with the assists going to Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon, to round out the scoring. Michael Houser stopped 26 shots to post his first AHL shutout and even his record at 12-12-1. Calvin Pickard took the loss for Lake Erie, making 27 saves.
San Antonio (29-33-3-6) is currently in 14th place in the Western Conference and need to win all five of their remaining games to have any chance of making the playoffs.
The Rampage are off until the weekend when they play three straight games against the Texas Stars. Friday's contest will be in Cedar Park, while the tilts on Saturday and Sunday will be in San Antonio at the AT&T Center.