Well, it's official. The once scorching San Antonio Rampage have gone cold. The Silver and Black lost 4-3 in overtime to the Texas Stars to finish the season on a four-game (0-2-2) losing streak. The last three of those losses came against Texas.
The Rampage will face the Oklahoma City Barons in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs, starting Thursday night in Oklahoma City. The first two games are in OKC with the final three games of the best-of-five to be played in San Antonio, if the series goes the distance.
Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first twenty minutes on a goal from Julius Honka and a pair from Matej Stransky, who beat Michael Houser twice in a 4:38 span.
Houser, making his first start since April 2, settled down after the opening period, allowing the Silver and Black to mount a comeback.
Connor Brickley knocked home the rebound of an Alex Petrovic shot at 5:18 of the second stanza. The goal was Brickley's twenty-second of the season.
Wade Megan notched a shorthanded marker on a breakaway at the 13:22 mark to cut the deficit to one. The unassisted goal was Megan's eighth of the year and third shortie.
Vincent Trocheck scored for the second straight game to tie the tilt with 1:06 left in the frame. Trocheck's eighth was set up by John McFarland and Garrett Wilson.
San Antonio outshot Texas 10-7 in third, but could not beat goalie Jack Campbell, who finished with 30 saves, to snap its skid.
After taking a cross-ice feed from Patrik Nemeth, Brendan Ranford beat Houser, who stopped 23 shots, at 4:49 of the extra session to give the Stars the win in the season-finale for both teams.
San Antonio finished the campaign with a 45-23-7-1 record, the best mark in franchise history. Despite having his season cut short by injury, Bobby Butler led the team in goals, with 27, and in points with 59. Captain Mark Mancari was the team-leader in assists with 33. Youngsters Wilson (23) and Brickley (22) each broke the twenty-goal plateau and Rocco Grimaldi finished with 42 points in 64 games. Dan Ellis led the club's goalies with 22 wins.
Unfortunately, the Silver and Black are going into the playoffs on a bit of a sour note. Could it be that all the late season additions to the roster have wreaked some havoc with team chemistry? Or did the Rampage just reach a point where it was over the regular season and looking forward to the playoffs? We'll find out come Thursday.
The good news is they have been very successful against the soon-to-be departed Barons this year, posting a stellar 9-1-2 record.
For more on the Florida Panthers' fine AHL alliliate, click here to visit the official site. Rampage player stats can be found by clicking here. You should also check out Running With The Herd and follow play-by-play man Dan Weiss on twitter to complete the circle of Silver and Black coverage.