Friday vs. Stockton
(Reminder: You can click the pictures to enlarge them)
This game was so confusing. Post-game I couldn’t believe the Rampage won, but at the same time I was shocked they didn’t win in regulation. I always wondered what it would be like if a team had a Power Play for an entire period and the last 8 minutes or so of this game is as close as I’ll ever get. Mason, Son of Geert (Mason Geertsen has my favorite name on the team) was really great in his return to the lineup and the Clark-Bigras pairing had a positive showing, with rough zone starts (although honestly everyone on this team had rough zone starts), so that is a marked improvement over the past weekend.
One thing I’ve noticed that I really like is that whenever the Rampage are getting dominated, like both games this weekend, the coaching staff starts dropping people and shuffling the lines trying to get something going. Last Saturday in Texas, they moved Cheek up to the top line with Hishon and Mikko, and were rewarded with a goal. Maggio on Friday is another example as he was on the ice for only 3 Corsi events. It was noticeable Sunday as well. Especially with Geertsen (spoiler- he was very bad), being dropped for the 3rd period, with Labrie moving from Forward to take Geertsen’s spot on Defense.
Sunday vs. Texas
The Rampage had a 14-10 Corsi lead through the first 18 minutes. The 1st period ended 21-14. The 2nd period was all Texas, all the time (30-7). However, despite being dominated, and having the lead, the Rampage did something very encouraging – they won the 3rd period possession battle 12-10! It’s really encouraging that the coaching staff’s adjustments seemed to work. As mentioned above, those adjustments did include dropping Geertsen. Hishon and Bourke also didn’t seem to get much ice time in the 3rd period. Those two started the game with Schumacher. Schumacher seemed to play most of the 3rd with the recently freed Cheek and Henley. Similar to the Texas adjustments paying off with a goal, this line combined for the clinching goal.
Bigras-Clark was the best pairing again, so hopefully last weekend was an aberration. My new favorite player, #FreedCheek backed up my support by having positive Corsi Rels in both games and getting the primary assist on the aforementioned clinching goal. Since he always seems to move up after coaching adjustments, #FreedCheek has at least one other supporter, someone more important than me – Coach Dean.
Pregame I had zero hopes – “A guy making his AHL debut is about to face 45 shots, what could possibly go wrong?” was my exact sarcastic quote. Apparently the answer to my question is nothing. So, I would like to end this article by leading us in a chant. “All Hail Spencer Martin, Our New Overlord!”