The inevitable bump in the road was coming. It was only a matter of time. Rampage fans are hoping it’s of the minor speed bump variety and not a gaping hole in the road.
After going into Rochester, in the biggest game of the season, and stealing a shootout victory on the shoulders of Michael Houser, the Rampage faltered on Saturday and Sunday. The losses to Toronto and Hamilton were the first consecutive losses for the Rampage since January 3rd and 4th vs OKC.
The Toronto game saw the Marlies score just ten seconds into the game when Houser failed to cover the puck. Toronto would add another in the first and it would be too much to overcome as the Rampage fell 2-1. The lone Rampage goal coming from Bobby Butler from, who else, Drew Shore. The lone bright spot for the Rampage was the play of Jacob Markstrom who came in relief just 10 minutes into the game and shut down the dangerous Toronto offense stopping all 23 shots he faced.
On Sunday, the Rampage were never able to mount any kind of sustained pressure on the Bulldogs and after falling behind early yet again, they fell to Hamilton 3-1. Quinton Howden would score the only goal of the game for the Rampage on the power play, his first PP goal of the season.
The Rampage can come home with the best record in the history of the Rodeo Road Trip with a win over Utica on Wednesday. The Comets had won four in a row before losing to Albany on Sunday and are no longer considered an easy win.
San Antonio Rampage “Three Stars of the Week” for the week ending February 23rd:
1st Star: Quinton Howden (3GP 2-0-2 3 SOG +1)
Howden scored twice this weekend, once shorthanded–his team leading third–and once on the power play, his first. He’s really upped his level of play since the arrival of Ryan Martindale and the two have developed some good chemistry together.
2nd Star: Jacob Markstrom (2GP 0-1-0-0 1.68GAA .944)
Jacob stepped in on Saturday after Houser struggled and play very well against the Marlies. Despite taking the loss on Sunday, Markstrom looked good and made three or four tremendous saves in the 2nd and third period against Hamilton.
3rd Star: Vincent Trocheck (3GP 0G-1A-1pts 8 SOG -1)
Trocheck registered just a single assist for the weekend, but it was his ability to keep the play alive and find a shooting lane that led to tying goal on a Joey Crabb tip against Rochester. Vincent then added the game winner in the shootout, just his second successful conversion in ten attempts this season.
Honorable Mention: Bobby Butler (3GP 1G-0A-1Pt 9 SOG -2)
As mentioned above Butler scored the lone Rampage goal on Saturday. He also added yet another goal in the shootout on Friday night. Butler is now an unbelievable 6-9 on shootout attempts this season.
Three Stars Season Standings
T-1. Bobby Butler – 5
T-1. Vincent Trocheck – 5
T-2. Drew Shore – 4
T-2. Jacob Markstrom – 4
T-3. Jed Ortmeyer – 3
T-3. Michael Houser – 3
T-4. Garrett Wilson – 2
T-4. Jared Gomes – 2
T-4. Denny Urban – 2
T-4. Greg Rallo – 2
T-4. Matt Gilroy – 2
T-5. Quinton Howden – 2
T-5. Steve Pinizzotto – 1
T-5. Dov-Grumet-Morris – 1
T-5. Jon Matsumoto – 1
T-5. Doug Janik – 1
T-5. Colby Robak – 1
T-5. Ryan Martindale – 1
T-5. Joey Crabb – 1
News and Notes:
– As expected, Drew Shore has returned to the Panthers. With the injuries to Barkov and Kopecky in the Olympics–both “long term”–we may have seen the last of Shore in a Rampage uniform unless the team can make the playoffs.
– Last week, the Rampage traded Denny Urban for Tim Miller. The Rampage have a glut of defenseman and with the knowledge of the Shore situation, the team dealt from a position of depth to acquire an AHL caliber forward.
– Mike Mottau has cleared waivers and was assigned to the Rampage today. While this is good news, this also brings uncertainty as Mottau is now the 6th veteran on the roster–with two more injured and due back. The team will likely rotate defensemen with Zanon, Whitney, & Mottau getting nights off.