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The San Antonio Rampage set the tone for the 2010-11 season with a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in front of a full house with 8,043 fans in attendance Friday night at the AT&T Center.
Action commenced right from the gate for San Antonio, as Mikkel Boedker jumped in front of the pack with a breakaway for the Rampage’s first play of the season. He misfired the puck due to a holding penalty by Chicago defenseman Noah Welch.
A penalty shot was awarded but Boedker was unable to take advantage of the one-on-one match up against Wolves goaltender Drew MacIntyre. Boedker skated from the right wall and into the slot before firing a shot that was blocked by MacIntyre’s right leg just 23 seconds into the opening period.
This did not stop San Antonio from getting on the scoreboard during the first period as defenseman Garrett Stafford gave the Rampage their first goal of the year at the 4:54 mark. Rampage right winger Matt Beaudoin set up Stafford perfectly in front of the net as the shot went in over MacIntyre’s right shoulder. Stafford and Beaudoin were both members of the Texas Stars Calder Cup Finals team last season and teamed up again tonight to help the Rampage set the tone.
Shortly after the first goal, Beaudoin was back in action scoring on a slim angle to bring the Rampage to a 2-0 lead at the 6:47 mark. With the Rampage winning the faceoff, Beaudoin fired a shot from the right corner along the goal line that deflected off the back of MacIntyre’s left leg and into the net. Ryan Hollweg and Bracken Kearns were credited with the assists.
After a quiet second period, Boedker shook things up with twelve seconds to go in the middle frame by scoring on the power play to give the Rampage a 3-0 edge. Stafford sent a cross-ice pass to the stick of Boedker where he then placed it directly underneath the cross bar in the right corner. Viktor Tikhonov was given the second assist.
The Rampage continued to demonstrate strong play as they scored a little over two minutes into the third period making it a 4-0 game. After Kearns lost the puck behind the net, Beaudoin was able to reach it and wrapped around the left goal post to slide the puck into the bottom corner. He was assisted by Kearns and Hollweg.
The Rampage continued to dominate the scoreboard as they took a commanding 5-0 lead over the Wolves 4:34 into the final stanza with a rebound goal by rookie Chris Summers. Center Andrew Ebbett fired a shot down the center where it was reflected off MacIntyre’s chest and landed at the top of the crease where Summers was able to pick it up and hit the top left corner of the net.
Chicago rallied with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation by scoring three goals in less than two minutes.
Wolves right wing Darren Haydar passed the puck from behind the net to set up Jamie Hunt at the left circle for a shot that escaped over the right shoulder of Rampage goalie Matt Climie and into the net for Chicago’s first tally of the season at the 10:47 mark.
Just 32 seconds later the duo repeated the same play and surprised Climie to double the Wolves score. Both of Hunt’s goals were on the power play.
At the 12:43 mark of the final frame, Chicago center Jared Ross came from behind the net on the right side and passed the puck to Wolves right wing Spencer Machacek who was camped in front of the net for a direct shot on goal and brought the Wolves within two, 5-3.
The Rampage sealed the victory with 2:03 left in the game when Rampage veteran Ryan Hollweg scored his first goal of the season. Hollweg skated down the left wing wall and fired a shot at MacIntyre that flew past his left shoulder and into the upper right corner of the net. Beaudoin and Stafford posted the assists.
Climie stopped 26 of 29 Wolves shots for his first Rampage win while Wolves’ netminder MacIntyre gave up six goals on 31 shots.
Beaudoin was awarded first star of the game with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) on the night. In 2008, Beaudoin tallied an assist in one game with San Antonio and now has five career points in two games with the Rampage.
Beaudoin, Stafford and Climie all joined the Rampage this offseason from the Texas Stars and proved to be key players in the game as Beaudoin and Stafford combined for seven points for the Rampage.
The Rampage won their home opener for the sixth time in franchise history.
The Rampage will take on the Texas Stars this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the AT&T Center.