A strong opening weekend in the Alamo City has the Rampage off to a promising start.
The San Antonio Rampage began their season on Friday, facing the Manitoba Moose. And without the all fanfare the big club enjoyed in St. Louis two nights prior, the Rampage put together a solid performance top to bottom. A little puck luck, an aggressive forecheck, and a shut-down third period, was good enough to secure the third consecutive Opening Night victory for San Antonio.
Mike Vecchione unleashed a shot from the point and getting a lucky deflection off a Manitoba defenseman, slipped the puck past Mikhail Berdin. The Rampage took the 1-0 almost 5 minutes into the second period.
Winger Nathan Walker, caught a stretch pass coming through the neutral zone and rifled one up high on Berdin, extending the lead 2-0. Manitoba rallied late and cut the lead in half on a wrist shot from the high slot. Ville Husso was the star of the closing period. The Finnish goaltender stopped all nine shots he faced and ended the night with a .956 SV% and third star honors for the night. Walker and Vecchione were named first and second stars respectively.
Sunday brought in the Tuscon Road Runners, an affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. The early puck drop seemed to catch the Rampage off guard as the game got off to a bumpy start. Tuscon netted early goals in each of the first two periods for a 2-0 lead before San Antonio finally got it going.
A strong showing in the latter half of the second found the game tied 2-2 on goals, once again, from Vecchione and Walker.
In the third period, some new stars began to emerge as defenseman Niko Mikkola picked up a goal, an assist, and found himself in numerous scrums. Zach Nastasiuk would not be outdone and grabbed himself a couple of goals in the third. One of which he earned by going to the front of the net and catching a deflection off the chest. The Rampage scored five unanswered goals and Ville Husso made 31 saves to go undefeated on opening weekend.
Rampage play-by-play man and media director shared an interesting fact
Vecchione, Walker, and Nastasiuk all with two goals through two games. Last season the Rampage didn’t have three players with multiple goals until Oct. 26, nine games in https://t.co/DXDmZ6PhQE— Brian McCormack (@BrianJMcCormack) October 7, 2019
Even though the season is still in its infancy, the Rampage seems to be firing on all cylinders. This is pretty surprising due to the fact that the team on the ice has only had three full practices as many of the guys were playing late into the Blues’ Training Camp.
If the Power Play is great, clocking goals in both games and going 3 for 11 (27%); then the penalty kill is superb, going 7 for 7 this weekend (you do the math). Walker shows no signs of slowing down and seems to be dominating the play early on. There will be a dog fight for defensive call ups this year. I was very impressed by the play of Mikkola and Andreas Borgman. Borgman, for those who don’t remember, was a literal steal for the Blues. Toronto only received future considerations in the trade that brought him to the organization.
Heading into week two, the Chicago Wolves come to town for games on Friday and Saturday at 7 PM.