By William Cotton
The San Antonio Rampage kicked off the annual Rodeo Road Trip with a 5-4 overtime loss in Des Moines. The side finished a disappointing 2/5 on the Penalty Kill, including allowing the game-winner on the power play at 3:23 of the extra frame. The Rampage fall to 23-21-3, good for 7th in the Central Division, and suffer their first loss to Iowa this season.
Iowa’s Colton Beck would get scoring started early in the first on an odd-man rush at 10:59 of the first period. The Rampage answered eight minutes later when Trevor Smith caromed a rebound from a Jordan Kyrou wrister off his waistline, that required a referee’s roundtable to affirm.
Smith’s goal would be quickly followed up by two more to kick off what would be a ‘wild’ second frame. The first of the two goal an unassisted tally from Adam Musil, which sparked a fight between Mark Cooper and Hunter Warner. The second came from Niko Mikkola, his long-awaited first of the year, coming on his 43rd shot.
A power play goal two minutes later cut San Antonio’s lead in half, but a Samuel Blais tally put the Silver and Black back up by two, fed from an excellent pass by Ryan Olsen in the low slot. Iowa, however, responded with a pair of quick goals less than a minute apart from Matt Read and Gerald Mayhew, the latter tying the game at 4, the sixth and final goal of a goal-heavy second period.
An uneventful third period would generate tension, but with neither team finding a way to break the tie after sixty minutes, the game went to overtime. A ‘necessary’ hooking penalty to stop a J.T. Brown breakaway from Samuel Blais allowed Iowa’s red-hot power play to activate, culminating in a second-rebound chance for Dmitri Sokolov, whose mother and uncle had flown from Russia, that would send the 7200-strong Iowa crowd home happy, closing out the game 5-4.
This game was the first of a back-to-back in Des Moines this weekend, and the first of the Rampage’s 10-game, February-spanning “Rodeo” Road Trip. The Rampage sit 5 points outside of the playoff picture with 49 points in 47 games, but possess three games in hand over 5th-place Milwaukee and 4th-place Rockford, who sit at 53 and 54 points, respectively.
Next game: Saturday 2/9 @ Iowa, 6:00 Central time.