– San Antonio, TX
The Rampage reached new heights by winning their 12th-straight home game on Friday night, setting a new franchise record. The Silver and Black playing as Los Chimuelos de San Antonio defeated the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate) by a final score of 4-0. The team was boosted by the returns of the Jordans (Kyrou and Nolan) and Mackenzie MacEachern. Sammy Blais joined the team Saturday after serving a 1-game suspension for an elbowing incident that happened prior to his call-up to the Blues.
Friday Night vs San Diego Gulls
After both teams traded shots it was the Chimuelos who broke the ice at 8:04 with a blast from the left point from Captain Chris Butler. The shot was tipped past Gulls goalie Jeff Glass by left winger and Alternate Captain Jordan Nolan to make the score 1-0 Chimuelos. Nolan dug the puck out of the left corner before Kyrou swept the puck to Butler who was already wound up to fire. The goal would be the only one of the period for both teams as the Chimuelos would outshoot the gulls 12-6 and head into intermission up 1-0.
After a relatively quiet opening period, San Antonio erupted for three straight goals in the middle frame. The first two goals came at 7:24 and 11:11 of the second, courtesy of the dynamic-duo of Blues prospect Conner Bleackley and left winger Bobby MacIntyre. Klim Kostin would start the first scoring play in his own zone when he tapped the puck from below his own goal line to MacIntyre who gave it to Bleackley at the top of the far side circle. Bleackley would rocket down the ice, transitioning from far to near side through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. The center, who had gone nearly coast, attempted a wraparound that slid through the crease and onto the stick of MacIntyre who slammed it home making the score 2-0.
A few minutes later after a San Diego turnover, Bleackley, from the left point, shoveled the puck deeper into the Gulls zone where it eventually reached Blues prospect Tanner Kaspick. The rookie center attempted a wrist shot from the bottom of the far circle, which missed its mark but found MacIntyre’s stick who once again slotted home rebound from nearly the same spot as his first goal. The scoring in both the period and the game was concluded on the powerplay at 18:24. A Jakub Jerabek shot from the far point found its way through traffic to make the score 4-0 Chimuelos. Mitch Reinke and Austin Poganski picked up assists on the play and San Antonio outshot the Gulls 11-9 on the period and 23-15 through two periods.
The final period featured some chippy play, five penalties, and zero additional scoring. Chimuelos goaltender Jared Coreau made 8 more saves to complete his 23-save shutout of his former team. Coreau was traded to San Antonio just weeks earlier, and the goalie nicknamed Rozie was still wearing a mask and pads in Anaheim Ducks colors, when he shutout their affiliate featuring NHL-talent Patrick Eaves, and 20-goal scorer Sam Carrick. The win ran the Rampage home winning streak to twelve and restored some confidence to the club that had just dropped three straight on the road.
Stars of the Game
1st – Bobby MacIntyre (SA) – 2G
2nd – Jared Coreau (SA) – 23 SA, 23 SVS
3rd – Conner Bleackley (SA) – 2A
Saturday Night vs Stockton Heat
Facing a Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames AHL affiliate) team featuring goalies with goals against north of 4, and save percentages south of .900 the Rampage came out in the first looking like a team that had just won twelve-straight home games; overconfident and lackadaisical. Lucky for the Rampage, the Heat looked like a team that had just lost a close fought game to a desperate Texas Stars team, hungry for a win after losing five straight. The period featured a plethora of blocked shots and ended in a scoreless tie, with the Rampage holding a slight edge in shots 7-5.
The Heat burned the Rampage early in the second period at 2:11 when Kerby Rychel found a juicy rebound to the right of the Rampage net and fired the puck into the wide-open cage. San Antonio answered at 11:18 on the powerplay as Kyrou wristed a shot past from an area between the top of the left circle and the high slot. Butler and Blais exchanged passes before Butler fed Kyrou, and the score was tied at 1-1. The period ended at that score with the Heat outshooting the Rampage 14-8, and 19-15 through two periods.
An entertaining period of the game featured four goals with both teams netting two goals apiece. Not long after a San Antonio disallowed goal because of an early whistle from the referee, Ryan Olsen tipped a Poganski pass into the net past Heat netminder Jon Gillies. MacEachern took a pass at the Heat blueline and slipped a pass of his own to Poganski as Olsen skated towards the crease, and then went sprawling as he deflected Poganski’s pass and then crashed into Gillies a split second later. The Heat answered when Andrew Mangiapane hammered a slapper past Coreau from the high slot, making the score 2-2 at 14:13. Just over three minutes later Blais put the Rampage in front once again when he wristed home a top-shelf shot from just inside the near side circle. Trevor Smith brought the puck into the offensive zone for the Rampage, dropped the puck off for Joey LaLeggia, who sent a pass to Kyrou at the point. The AHL All-Star found Blais and just like that the score was 3-2 Rampage at 17:32. With the Gillies pulled, the Heat managed to tie the game once again on a Buddy Robinson shot from the slot at 18:46. The Rampage nearly doubled-up the Heat in shots 13-7 in the third period and led 28-26 through three periods. However, regulation time ended with scored tied at 3.
Both teams had chances in overtime, with the best chance to end it for the Rampage coming from an Olsen breakaway just 50 seconds into the extra session. The Heat, however, would get the better of the Rampage with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Rychel scored his second of the game and ended both the game and San Antonio’s home winning streak.
The Rampage now sit at 6th in the Central Division at 22-21-2-0 and 46 points, just 5 points out of a playoff spot.
Stars of the Game
1st – Kerby Rychel (STK) – 2G (GWG)
2nd – Jordan Kyrou (SA) – 1G, 1A
3rd – Sammy Blais (SA) – 1G, 1A
The Rampage remains at home to play their annual Pink in the Rink game against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate) on Friday, February 1st at 7:30 pm CST. The game is the last home game the Rampage will play before embarking on a 10-game road trip when the San Antonio Stock and Rodeo Show takes over the AT&T Center during the month of February. The Rampage will need to be much better than their current 4-15-1-0 road record reads in order to make a run at the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs.
Blues Prospects Update
Conner Bleackley was all over the ice this weekend, earning two assists in Friday’s game, and creating headaches for the Heat, drawing penalties using his speed during Saturday’s game. He seems to have found great chemistry with winger Bobby MacIntyre. The 5’11” center from High River, ALTA was drafted by St. Louis in the 5th round, 144th overall, in the 2016 Entry Draft.
Jordan Kyrou had a strong two-game showing in his return to San Antonio from his call-up with the Blues. The Rampage rookie who was selected as an AHL All-Star leads the team in points with 28 after he added 3 more to that total this past weekend. The Toronto, ONT native had an assist against the Gulls, and a goal and an assist against the Heat. Kyrou, who stands at 6’0″ was drafted by St. Louis in the 2nd round, 35th overall, in the 2016 Entry Draft.
The 2016 Entry Draft is turning out to be a great class for the Blues as it features Kyrou, Bleackley, Tanner Kaspick, Evan Fitzpatrick and Tage Thompson, who was involved in the trade that brought Ryan O’Reilly to St. Louis.