The 2014-2015 AHL schedule was released this morning and to say it’s interesting is a severe understatement–but more on that in a minute.
The season kicks off against the Iowa Wild on Oct 10th, the seasons first of 11 “Dollar Beer Nights”. Another division rival, the Oklahoma City Barons, come into town the next night, wrapping up opening weekend. The Rampage travel to OKC the following Saturday for the first road game of the season. That game also kicks off a rarely seen early season road trip to Upstate New York for contests with Utica and Adirondack sandwiched around a two-game set with Hamilton.
The back-to-back with the Bulldogs is the first of 22 instances where the Rampage play consecutive games against the same opponent, five of which come during the 11 game Rodeo Road Trip. At first glance, there appears to be far more back-to-backs this season then in seasons past, but with the Rampage playing in the AHL’s “Outlier” division, it’s not surprising at all.
Teams, including the Rampage, are able to save quite a bit of money by playing in the same city on consecutive nights–or in some cases, Friday and Sunday–and we all know that this league is based on money.
Once again, the Rampage will play their closest rivals, Texas and OKC, 12 times. Additionally, the Rampage will play fellow division rivals Iowa and Charlotte 8 times. In a surprising twist, the Rampage will only play the Rochester Americans and Milwaukee Admirals twice this season, while playing all other Western Conference teams four times each.
Finally, for the second year in a row, the Rampage will have to beat two preseason powerhouses late in the season. While the Silver and Black does finish playing four of their last five games on home ice, two of those are against Grand Rapids and the final three against the defending Calder Cup champion Texas Stars.
It might be a good idea for the Rampage to have a playoff spot clinched before the final two weeks of the regular season.
–Photo credit to Roxy Limon–