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In their third game in three nights, the San Antonio Rampage defeated the Lake Erie Monsters, 3-2, in a shootout on Sunday evening at the AT&T Center to snap a three-game winless streak.
A competitive atmosphere, good puck handling, and textbook goaltending skills kept the puck out of the net during the first period. San Antonio was outshot 10-4 by Lake Erie as Rampage left wing Mikkel Boedker accounted for half of the team’s shots at two. Rampage netminder Matt Climie saw the most action turning away all 10 shots that came his way. Each team was awarded three power-plays and neither were able to convert the advantage into a score.
Lake Erie right winger Matthew Ford broke the ice in the second period by scoring not only the first goal of the game but the Monster’s first power-play goal of the season at the 5:41 marker making the score 1-0. Ben Walter began the play as he reversed the puck from the right wall to center ice for Cameron Gaunce, who in turn passed to Ford stationed at the left face-off circle. He fired a shot that escaped the breadbasket of Climie and traveled past his right arm into the net.
The Rampage responded almost nine minutes into the final frame as left winger Alex Picard fired a bullet tying the game, 1-1. Viktor Tikhonov battled the Monster’s defense down the end boards as he made his way behind the net. Picard was perfectly positioned to the right corner of the crease and was able to link up with Tikhonov redirecting the puck to the upper left corner behind Lake Erie goaltender Jason Bacashihua. Picard picked up his third goal in two nights.
Almost two and a half minutes later, the Rampage scored again claiming the lead for the first time at 2-1. Mathieu Beaudoin passed the puck to Garrett Stafford from behind the net, placing it at center ice in perfect range to score. Stafford shot within reach of goaltender Bacashihua who blocked it high as it fell behind him. Beaudoin skated forward and finished the play as he tapped the puck into the wide open net for a power-play goal. Beaudoin leads the Rampage in scoring with five goals in five games.
The Monsters did not buckle under pressure as they scored with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, once again tying the game, 2-2. Greg Mauldin gained position of the puck behind the net, passed it to his left to Julian Talbot who sent it up the ice outside of the face off circle. Colby Cohen received the pass and sent a rocket in Climie’s direction, as the puck navigated through traffic and was stopped by the goal netting. Neither team was able to light the lamp at the end of regulation, and the game headed in to overtime.
San Antonio saw overtime for the second night in a row, as they fell to the Texas Stars the previous evening, 5-4, in the extra session. Lake Erie played a strong five minutes as they outshot the Rampage 8-3. However, the home team held on to preserve the tie and produce the first shootout of the season.
Beaudoin got the action going with the first attempt in a five-round series. He missed a backhander aimed for the left post. Center Ryan Stoa was the first Monster’s shooter and was successful as his backhanded attempt bounced under the crossbar.
Evening up the score, Tim Stapleton scored on a dead-on bullet that Bacashihua did not have enough time to react to. Lake Erie center Walter was unable to light the lamp as his puck landed in the chest of Climie. The shootout total remained tied at one as both Rampage’s Andrew Ebbett and Monster’s David Van der Gulik missed their attempts.
The fourth round heated up as Mikkel Boedker provided breathing room for the Rampage on his score over the right shoulder of Bacashihua. Lake Erie defenseman did not improve the situation for his team as he missed high over the net with one shot each remaining for both clubs.
Right winger Viktor Tikhonov was up next and missed the opportunity to solidify the victory for the Rampage as Bacashihua swung his leg out in enough time to reject Tikhonov’s low aimed shot. All eyes were now focused on Lake Erie’s left winger Mauldin as he held the last shot to keep his team alive. He performed a low backhanded shot directed toward the left post, but Climie was able to slide to his right in enough time to save the shot and the day as the Rampage win, 3-2.
San Antonio hosts a rematch with Lake Erie at the AT&T Center on Wednesday evening. The puck drops at 7 p.m.