My good pal Nathan Mallett tweeted after tonight’s 5-1 Rampage win over the Abbotsford Heat “For the record, THIS Rampage team is the team I expected to see this season”
There is no doubt that expectations were high heading into 2013-14. A stacked line-up full of NHL weathered vets and young skilled rookies had fans chomping at the bit to get the year underway. However, when it started, as with so many seasons for our loveable losers came the familiar disappointment San Antonio hockey fans have become accustomed to.
In years past, a quick glance at the roster gave you all the explanation you needed to understand the team’s struggles. This year however there is no explanation. When your AHL roster includes the likes of Bobby Butler, Jon Matsumoto, Greg Rallo, Joey Crabb and Jacob Markström you’re expected to win. Factor in rookie phenom Vincent Trocheck, and veteran blue-liners Ryan Whitney (a 2010 Olympian) and Matt Gilroy there is no reason to believe this team shouldn’t compete for at least a west division title.
Yet here we are, half way through another season with the Rampage currently treading water in the cellar of the western conference.
Tonight’s 5-1 drumming of the Abbotsford Heat simply was what we expected to see back in October. Four goals on the man advantage (4-6) and a perfect penalty kill against a dangerous power play. Controlling the tempo and limiting the other team’s chances. Out working the opposition and winning one on one battles. Another day at the office for a stacked team like this, right?
I have no reason to offer up as to why this team has struggled despite their talent. All we can hope for is that tonight will help the fellas loosen their grip on the stick a little bit. Winning is fun and any team plays better when they are enjoying themselves but the Rampage are running out of time. They better start enjoying themselves and fast.
The Rampage will continue their 8 game home stand Saturday night once again facing off with the Abbotsford Heat. Puck drop is at 7 p.m
Image by Josh Huskin – http://www.joshhuskin.com