– Photo by Darren Abate
For the first time since 2007, the San Antonio Rampage are 2-0 after the first two games of the season. Led by an offense that put constant pressure on the defense and a swarming defense that made the opponents truly work for every single zone entry, the Rampage beat divsion rivals Iowa (3-2) and Oklahoma City (3-2 OT) to open the 2014 campaign on a winning note.
All six goals scored by the silver and black have come from six different players, showing the depth this team has…for now. Led by Mark Mancari (1-2-3), the Rampage have six players with at least two points through the first two games.
On the other end, the even strength defensive effort has been outstanding. Of the four goals allowed over the first two games, three have come when the opposing team had the extra skater. The Rampage didn’t allow an even strength goal until Iiro Pakarinen scored the equalizer in the 11th minute of the second period last night.
In goal, Dan Ellis and Michael Houser had equally impressive performances, both allowing just two goals on 25 shots for identical .920 save percentages. Ellis was relatively untested against Iowa until late where he came up huge as the Rampage killed off a nearly full two minute 6 on 3 to end the game. Houser was strong all night against the Barons showing great net coverage and reaction skills.
The Rampage did suffer one significant injury and I’m still waiting to hear word on another that could have a huge impact. Quinton Howden suffered an upper body injury late in the second period Friday night and will miss at least a couple of weeks. In the OT on Saturday, Vincent Trocheck blocked a slapshot with his skate and hobbled back to the bench. He did make his courtesy wave for his second star of the game, but was noticeably limping as he left the ice. I was told he was at the post game Meet and Greet, so that is somewhat optimistic.
– Overall team play. Team is fast and relentless on puck pursuit. Defense looks strong and both goalies were very good.
– Alex Petrovic and Jonathan Racine didn’t have a good weekend defensively.
– The new goal song. I love Kongos. I love “Come With Me Now”. It is NOT a goal song. Take away the fact that I led the efforts to dump Satriani last year. There are hundreds of better options to fire a crowd up. It is, admittedly, a VERY minor gripe. I’m just a big “Gamenight Experience” guy and this song just isn’t working for me.