Tuesday, January 17, 2012

San Antonio grinds past Abbotsford 2-1

The Rampage took advantage of a shorthanded Abbotsford Heat who has been battling with the Houston Aeros & Oklahoma City Barons for the Western Conference Lead. On a night where the Heat were forced to play a man down and had another injury to Desbeins Guillaume early on in the 3rd period. That shows that the Heat are a very deep team despite the injuries to stay within striking distance. Also the San Antonio Rampage are continuing to prove that they have few guys that can score as they continue to be dead last in scoring with just 89 goals in their 39 games this season (2.28 Goals Per Game).

The Heat their Southwest Road trip 2-3 with 3 of their 5 games finishing in a 1 goal game where they went 1-2 in those 3 games (2-1 losses against San Antonio last night & Texas last Wednesday Night & a 2-1 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday). So despite the injury issues, they were able to keep those games close and show the quality of depth and character that this team is showing that they could be in the race for not only #1 Overall seed in the Western Conference. But possibly get in a deep playoff run when the AHL Playoffs begins in Mid April and take a shot of possibly winning the team's 1st ever AHL Calder Cup Championship. In addition to the 1 goal games, they also lost 3-1 to Oklahoma City and won 5-0 on Tuesday Night

Despite their problems scoring goals, they continue to be just 3 points back of the 8th Place Peoria Rivermen who currently hold down the 8th & Final Playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Rampage now have a couple of days to prepare for the dreaded 3 game in 3 night stretch with a pair of road games against Houston on Friday Night at 7:35 PM & Sunday Evening at 5:05 PM. Sandwiched in between those two games will be a very critical matchup between the Peoria Rivermen where they will have  a prime opportunity to climb in the Western Conference Playoff Race.

From San Antonio, Texas: Center Mark Cullen scored 7:12 into the third period to lift the San Antonio Rampage to a 2-1 triumph over the Abbotsford Heat on Martin Luther King Day at the AT&T Center.

The Rampage scored the game's first goal at 14:49 into the opening period. With San Antonio on a power play, center James Wright deflected an Evan Barlow shot from the top of the right circle and the puck found it's way past Abbotsford goalie Goaltender Danny Taylor to give the Rampage a 1-0 advantage. Forward Scott Timmins picked up the secondary assist on Wright's fourth goal of the season.

Right wing Akim Aliu answered back for the Heat with just over a minute remaining in the frame. A shot from the defensemen Jordan Henry hit Rampage backstop Dov Grument-Morris, caromed off the skate of Aliu, and glided into the net. Forward Quintin Laing also assisted on the Aliu marker, which tied the game at 1-1.

After a scoreless second period, San Antonio regained the the lead on Cullen's fifth goal of the 2011-2012 campaign. He redirected a point shot from defensemen Mike Vernace past Taylor to hand the Rampage a 2-1 edge. Center Bracken Kearns tallied his 15th assist of the year with the secondary helper on the play.

Grument-Morris made 25 saves on 26 Heat Attempts for his 8th win of the season while Taylor turned aside 29 of of 31 Rampage shots in the Abbotsford Loss.

The Rampage (19-18-2) travel to Houston on Friday at 7:35 PM (CST) contest with their in-state rivals, the Houston Aeros, at the Toyota Center

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