As Dan Weiss noted on his postgame last night, the San Antonio Spurs have their “Memorial Day Miracle”, and now, the San Antonio Rampage have their “New Year’s Eve Miracle”.
The Rampage won their 5th straight home contest, beating the San Diego Gulls 2-1 on two goals in the final 92 seconds to stun the visitors and send nearly five thousand rowdy fans home with giant smiles on their faces.
The game was a typical sleepy Sunday afternoon contest for 58 plus minutes. The Gulls had played the night before in Cedar Park and came out with a mission to slow the game down and not give the rested Rampage any easy chances. Corey Tropp got the Gulls on the board first, beating a screened Ville Husso from the blue line late in the first period.
After a scoreless second period that saw a 15 combined shots from both teams, the pace picked up a bit in the third. The Rampage, however, were unable to solve the Gulls defense and former Rampage goalie Reto Berra until they pulled Husso for the extra attacker with just under two minutes remaining.
First, AJ Greer made a terrific pass from below the goal line to Chris Butler who found an opening at the right circle and fired a shot into the gaping net. Butler’s goal woke up the fans, but more importantly seemed to wake up the team as well.
The winner came off an offensive zone faceoff with 7.4 seconds remaining. Alex Belzile won the faceoff and Rampage defenseman David Warsofsky collected the puck at the top of the left circle. After having his initial shot blocked, Warsofsky collected the loose puck and fired a slapshot over the shoulder of Berra with 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock.
Husso stopped 27 of 28 shots to pick up his second win of the weekend, and seventh on the season, after blanking the Stars on Friday night. The second year pro has seen his numbers improve significantly this weekend putting him squarely on page one of the goalie stats page with a 0.916%.
Streamables – (Courtesy of Nathan Rudolph @AvalancheReview)
Rampage 0 – Gulls 1
1st period (17:33) – SD Corey Tropp (5) ASST: Keaton Thompson (6), Sam Carrick (13)
Rampage 1 – Gulls 1
3rd period (18:28) – SA Chris Butler (5) ASST: AJ Greer (4), Jesse Graham (6)
Rampage 2 – Gulls 1
3rd period (19:59) – SA David Warsofsky (4) ASST: Alex Belzile (10)
- Ville Husso was, once again, terrific, allowing only the one goal which came through traffic from the blue line. This was Husso’s second straight strong performance after struggling in Manitoba against the league best Moose.
- The Rampage have not allowed a PP goal against on home ice since Dec 10th against Ontario. The Rampage are 5-0 in those games.
- The Rampage power play remains a problem, going 0-3 and struggling to really get any kind of offense established.
- The defense struggled at times with some bad turnovers in their own zone and some breakdowns in coverage. The Gulls had several quality chances that could have been converted if not for Husso.
- Happy New Year. The Rampage won a game in the final seconds. I’m not about to rain on that parade.
* Rocco Grimaldi was a late scratch, joining Reid Petryk with a sickness. Nantel moved to top line and Jesse Graham and Nic Meloche alternated on the 4th line.
Wed, Jan 3rd (7:00pm) – vs. Bakersfield
Fri, Jan 5th (9:00pm) – @ Stockton
Sat, Jan 6th (8:00pm) – @ Stockton
All times local.
All games can be heard on Ticket760 or streamed on AHL Live.