The beloved Rampage prevailed in their home opener on Saturday and now head to California for an early season road trip, facing Bakersfield and San Jose. There’s both joy and sadness in the Rampage being over .500 for the first time since February of 2016.
Rampage 2 – Ontario 1
The good guys came out strong in the 1st period dominating shots 12-4 and taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Blues prospect Sam Blais. Jordan Schmaltz made it 2-0 early in the 2nd and from there things got pretty sloppy. Spencer Martin passed a puck right to Michael Mersch to give Ontario a little life 2-1 mid-2nd but they were able to prevail despite not generating any scoring in the final 37 minutes of the game.
I liked the Rampage’s play in the 1st period a lot but from then on it had that same old feel from last year that were never going to score. It was very grindy and the bench got short in the 3rd using mostly the defensively oriented players to sit on the lead. Ontario’s offense was stifled so there wasn’t a real hint of danger but you won’t win many games if 2 goals is all you can manage.
Thanks to Topher from RWtH (link below) we have some shot metrics from the game. Duncan Siemens and Nic Meloche were the stars on D with both guys over 70% CF. The top line of Blais/Aggz/Rocco were equally as stout with CF ranging from 65-72%. Felix Girard and David Warsofsky suffered in this area with Girard managing +9/-12 and Warsofsky +18/-19 on the night. Warsofsky was a bit of a disappointment in his first game but the refs chose not to award the Rampage a power play all night and that’s where he’s really going to be a help.
– J-C Beaudin is the first numbers victim of the season and was optioned to the Eagles before the team left for the West Coast. I’m not a fan of this move but I see the logic behind it. Coach Veilleux wants veterans he can count on in the early season so they don’t get behind the 8-ball in the standings. If playing Beaudin isn’t the organization’s priority then by all means, send him to the ECHL.
– AJ Greer was spotted practicing with the team while the Avs were on their East Coast road trip. He’s still on their roster and will be until he passes concussion protocol.
– The Colorado Eagles had a press conference Tuesday to announce they will become the AHL’s 31st franchise next season and affiliate with the Avalanche. The Rampage announced a 5 year affiliation agreement with the St Louis Blues at the same time. We’ve had lame duck players before, now we have three-quarters of a lame duck team.
First meeting for both teams obviously. The Condors lost their opener to Stockton 4-1 and San Jose beat Stockton 6-4. The Cudas will play the Griffs Friday night so the Rampage have a rest advantage there, which is nice.
Lines/Pairs from Saturday
Blais – Agozzino – Grimaldi
Ranford – Colborne – Kostin
Bourque – Girard – Vogelhuber
Musil – Toninato – Petryk
Siemens – Warsofsky
Butler – Schmaltz
Geertsen – Meloche
Beaudin, Belzile, Nantel (LBI), St-Amant (UBI), Graham
No word yet on if there will be any changes. I’m sure Husso will start one of the games this weekend.
Thursday – Rampage at Condors, 9:30pm ET
Saturday – Rampage at Barracudas, 4pm ET
– Radio call on Ticket760
– Topher’s Analytics from RWtH
– As with all games this season we’ll be hanging out in the RWtH discord server chatting tonight, please join us.
They guys return home for a 3-in-3 with our good friends the Texas Stars next weekend
Many thanks to the San Antonio Rampage for the Feature Photo and to Topher at RWtH for diligently charting opening night