Photo by Rebecca George
The San Antonio Rampage opened the 2014 preseason with a 4-3 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Barons. The Rampage were led by the Garrett Wilson (1)/Byron Froese (1)/Bobby Butler (2) line as they accounted for all four goals for the home team. Froese and Butler also added assists while veteran D-man Greg Zanon picked up a pair of helpers as well.
After dictating play for much of the first period, including a very impressive opening power play, the Barons struck first on just their second shot of the game as Kale Kessy beat netminder Dan Ellis on a rebound. The score would stay that way into the first intermission despite the Rampage outshooting the visitors 16-7 in the opening twenty.
The home team would strike early into the second period, however, as ECHL journeyman Froese would get a nifty deflection off a Butler shot, beating Baron’s goalie Ty Rimmer over the shoulder, and tying the game at one. Butler would add two more of his own in a 3 minute span of the second, one shorthanded, and one off a ridiculous angle from behind the Baron’s goal line.
The Barons clawed back to make it a 3-2 deficit before Wilson would score off what many Rampage fans will call a wraparound, but what most Barons fans will call an errant pass that luckily deflected in. Either way, it counts (well, kind of) and the Rampage would regain their two goal lead.
The Barons would add a power play goal later in the period to, once again, get to within one, but the silver and black would hold off the late charging Barons and escape with a 4-3 win. Dan Ellis got the win, stopping 24 of 27 shots faced.
Notes and Observations:
- The Rampage are returning a large number of players from last year, but, for some, the numbers are very different.
- The Rampage had some stretches where they played fantastic possession hockey with great passing and players finding open spaces. The Rampage also had some stretches where I swore it was April again.
- Mackenzie Weegar appeared to fit right in. He used his body well and is a very nifty puck mover.
- Josh Brown, on the other hand, really struggled. He looked over matched and had some pretty rough stretches where he couldn’t get out of his own way.
- Up front, among the longshots, Francis Beauvillier stood out to me for his size and speed. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get some AHL time this season.
The Rampage return to the ice for their second, and last, preseason game tomorrow afternoon in Cedar Park. Puck drop is at 3pm and I’d expect to see a couple of big names in the lineup for that one.