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Rampage off to a solid start on eleven-game road trip

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The Silver and Black drop opener to Texas before gaining splits in Grand Rapids and Rockford.

Connor Brickley is up to 17 goals for the Rampage.
Connor Brickley is up to 17 goals for the Rampage.

The San Antonio Rampage got through the first five games of their grueling eleven-game road trip with a respectable 2-3 record. The Silver and Black (29-18-4-0) are currently in fifth place in the AHL's Western Conference.

Stars 6, Rampage 1

The Silver and Black got the road trip off to an inauspicious start, getting blow out 6-1 by rival Texas. Cameron Gaunce opened the scoring at 17:29 of the first period. The Stars tallied four times in the second stanza to build an insurmountable 5-0 lead after forty minutes. Jamie Oleksiak (power play), Gemel Smith, Curtis McKenzie (power play) and Greg Rallo were the goal-scorers. Shane O'Brien bagged a power-play goal at 12:27 of the third period, from Corban Knight and Bobby Butler, to finally get the Rampage on the board. Smith completed the scoring with Texas' third power-play tally of the night with 3:17 left to go in regulation. Dan Ellis took the loss, surrendering the first three goals on 15 shots. Michael Houser stopped 13 of the 16 shots he faced in relief. Jussi Rynnas made 28 saves to post the easy win.

Rampage 5, Griffins 4 (OT)

The Rampage bounced back from the rout in Cedar Park, TX with a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over host Grand Rapids. Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen notched his 28th of the season for the only goal of the opening period. Brett Olson evened the contest early in the second, with the assists going to veterans Mark Mancari and Greg Zanon. Bobby Butler put San Antonio ahead with a shorthanded goal from Jonathan Racine at the 9:20 mark. Vincent Trocheck extended the Silver and Black's lead 48 seconds later, beating Tom McCollum unassisted. Andreas Athanasiou got one back for the Griffins to make it 3-2 before Garrett Wilson scored to put the Rampage back ahead by two. Butler and Trocheck drew the helpers on Wilson's 17th. In the third period, Pulkkinen lit the lamp again at 5:15 to cut the deficit down to one and Mark Zengerle sent the game to extra time with a power-play goal at 18:09. Rocco Grimaldi bagged his fourth overtime goal of the campaign at 5:30 of the extra session to give the Rampage the win. Mancari and Zanon each collected their second helper of the night on the game-winner. Dan Ellis stopped 36 shots to get the win while McCollum finished with 17 saves for the Griffins.

Griffins 4, Rampage 2

The two teams met again a day later with the Griffins skating to a 4-2 decision. Jeff Hoggan opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 13:56 of the first period. Connor Brickley scored 77 seconds into the second period from Mark Mancari, and again 3:06 later, with Rocco Grimaldi and Mancari getting the helpers, to give San Antonio the lead. It wouldn't last, as Andy Miele and Hoggan would tally by the end of the frame to give Grand Rapids a one-goal advantage. Miele would put the game away with an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining in regulation. Jared Coreau posted the win, making 24 stops. Michael Houser took the loss, finishing with 32 saves.

IceHogs 2, Rampage 1

The Rampage, playing for the third consecutive day, were edged 2-1 by the IceHogs in Rockford. San Antonio fell behind yet again, with Brandon Mashinter getting the first period's only goal. Connor Brickley bagged his 17th of the season to tie the game at 6:42 of the second period. Mark Mancari and Greg Zanon combined on the assists. IceHogs center Cody Bass beat Dan Ellis midway through the final frame for the eventual game-winner. Ellis finished with 29 stops in the losing effort while Rockford's Scott Darling also made 29 saves to get the win.

Rampage 4, IceHogs 0

San Antonio finished its season series against Rockford with a 4-0 victory. The IceHogs were 3-0 against the Silver and Black coming into the game. MacKenzie Weegar potted his second goal of the season, from Vincent Trocheck, to open the scoring at 1:44 of the first period, with the Rampage on a power play. Brett Olsen scored midway through the frame with John McFarland drawing the lone assist. Trocheck bagged a power-play goal at 12:40 of the second period, from Bobby Butler and Weegar, to put San Antonio up by three. Greg Zanon tallied in the final period, with assists going to Blake Parlett and Ryan Martindale, to complete the scoring. Michael Houser posted the shutout, his first of the year, with 37 saves. Rockford starter Michael Leighton gave up 3 goals on 15 shots before giving way to Scott Darling, who stopped 4 shots including a penalty shot by Rocco Grimaldi, after two periods.

The annual Rodeo Road Trip stops in Chicagoland next for Saturday and Sunday games against the Wolves at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

For more on the Florida Panthers' fine AHL affiliate, click here to visit the official site. Rampage player stats can be found here.