Howdy! I took a week hiatus to make the trip to San Antonio for the first Los Chimuelos de San Antonio game this year! The game was a ton of fun, and the following weekend, the Rampage took the ice celebrating 25 years of pro hockey in San Antonio.
With 489 points, say hello to the Iguanas all-time leading scorer, Brian Shantz. 🦎 pic.twitter.com/FLWiUJbnhg
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) November 8, 2019
That said, the Rampage have played under four different pseudonyms in 6 periods of hockey. Making it a bit difficult to keep straight which team I’m reporting on. But good looking sweaters and not so good looking writers are only a small part of the story. Here’s everything that took place in the Alamo City over the past two weeks!
Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, vs. Texas Stars
The Rampage were coming back from their Wednesday night matchup in Chicago and made a stop in Cedar Park, TX. There they took on the Calder Cup finalist, Texas Stars.
After a scoreless first period, both teams found the back of the net in the second. Mike Vecchione scored for the Rampage. The game was back and forth with neither side giving an inch.
Finally, in the third period, the Rampage took the reins a bit. Jake Walman scored to make it 2-1, and Austin Poganski pushed the score to 3-1. Texas would respond once, but Alexei Toropchenko sealed the deal with an empty netter for the 4-2 win.
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, vs. Texas Stars
Though the real Dia de Los Muertos was the day before, the Rampage were celebrating Day of the Dead on Saturday night. For the second season, they took the mantle of Los Chimuelos de San Antonio and hit the ice. Los Chimuelos means “men without teeth.”
The sweaters were slick, and Jordan Kyrou made his season debut. Doug Armstrong was in the building, and somebody must have told the boys.
Texas would score first, but Los Chimuelos would respond quickly. Austin Poganski got on the board first on a one-time chance. Then, Nathan Walker had the second goal contested but would eventually have the tally counted. And with only 47 seconds left in the first Klim Kostin would extend the Rampage lead to 3-1.
In the second, the Stars had a five on three but could only cash in with 12 seconds remaining in the second penalty making the score 3-2. And from there, the Chimuelos laid it on.
Cam Darcy scored his first of the season almost immediately. Mike Vecchione would pile it on, scoring two back to back. The goals were split between the second and third periods, but the score was now 6-2, and the crowd was losing it! Jake Dotchkin pumped one in to make it 7-2.
Toropchenko was initially credited with the eighth goal, but after about 5 minutes, it was shifted to the stick of Tanner Kaspick. And the game would finish 8-2.
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) November 3, 2019
Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, vs. Milwaukee Admirals
It was Iguana-Dragon-Rampage night at AT&T Center! Celebrating 25 years of professional hockey in San Antonio, the Rampage wore three different sweaters in the game. They had Iguana’s play-by-play guy, Tony Uminski, in the booth and leading scorer Brian Schantz in between periods.
The Milwaukee Admirals were in town, (which is, of course, Algonquin for, “The Good Land” Admirals; Party On!)
The Iguanas took the ice first, and Jordan Kyrou would crack the game open with his first of the season.
Jordan Kyrou scores the Iguanas’ first goal in 18 years.
The pictures are worth a thousand words. 📸 pic.twitter.com/vnaJEzXuCP
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) November 9, 2019
The Dragons began their middle period up 1-0. That, however, would not last. Milwaukee would score two in the middle frame, the second a short-handed breakaway.
The Rampage took the ice for the final period looking to even the score. For all the push they could muster, the Rampage couldn’t bury any of their chances. The Admirals would score an empty netter and take the game 3-1. The boys couldn’t finish, and Coach Bannister was not shy about it.
“We missed two wide-open nets…that could’ve changed the direction of the game.”
🎥: Coach Bannister talks on what went wrong in tonight’s 3-1 loss to the Admirals. pic.twitter.com/sqAoGwiS5b
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) November 9, 2019
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, vs. Milwaukee Admirals
Milwaukee made the switch to goaltender Troy Grosenick for the Sunday matinee game. The Rampage stuck with Ville Husso, who was sitting at 5-3-1 and a .911 SV% heading into the game. The Rampage, however, did juggle the forward lines and kept the defense stable. Kyrou found himself on the second line with Jordan Nolan and centered by Cam Darcy (side note: I like Kyrou and Nolan playing together). Nathan Walker, Mike Vecchione, and Austin Poganski made up the top line.
Klim Kostin busted the game open early and put one home from his knee.
And with the rebound, KLIM! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/vpC99nb1s1
— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) November 10, 2019
But the Admirals would answer back, and the first period ended 1-1. The second passed with lots of back and forth action, but no one able to tilt the play. It was still tied 1-1 to open the third period.
In the third, however, Jordan Kyrou scored his second of the season in 3 games. The Admirals would not be outdone and evened the score at 2-2. Mike Vecchione (San Antonio’s Mr. Clutch) put the Rampage in the lead midway through the third, but Milwaukee would answer back. The game went through the five minute overtime and into the shoot out.
Cam Darcy recorded his 100th professional point with an assist on the Kyrou goal. Poganski, Kyrou, and Walker were all stopped in the shoot out. Only Milwaukee’s Daniel Carr could solve the goaltender, and the Admirals took the weekend sweep.
The team has been playing well, and the fact that the AHL team has so much top tier talent speaks to the trajectory of the Blues’ NHL potential. Kyrou looks ready, although it is still early to make the jump to the NHL in Vladi’s absence. Kyrou has 4 points in 3 games and plenty to prove coming off knee surgery.
Nathan Walker remains hot, as well as the top defensive pairing of Nikko Mikkola and Andreas Borgman. Ville Husso continues to rack up wins with solid performances though they may not be perfect. I am, however, beginning to believe Mike Vecchione is the secret key to the Rampage’s success. He seems to be a Jaden Schwartz type player that comes up biggest when the pressure is the highest.
All told, the Blues’ farm looks fully loaded, and the hand is ripe for the picking. The way they’re playing, I would be comfortable with the Blues calling up almost anyone from this roster.