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The Rampage scored three goals late in the final period to overcome Monsters and record their second consecutive win with a 4-2 victory at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night.
Each team brought high energy and a strong twenty minutes of hockey to the table as the Monsters and Rampage went scoreless for the first period in their second consecutive meeting. Lake Erie outshot San Antonio 12-8, giving Rampage goaltender Matt Climie the majority of the work. Both teams were awarded one power play and neither was able to convert the man advantage.
The second period continued in the same fashion, with many great shot opportunities missed, until Lake Erie center Mark Olver was able to break the monotony and score the game’s first goal after 17 minutes had passed in the middle frame. Greg Mauldin sent a cross-ice pass from left to right to teammate Ray Macias for an open shot. His shot nailed the cross bar and spun outward, re-entering the ice to the left side of the goal, where Olver was waiting with half the net open as Climie was unable to recover to the opposite side in enough time.
The Rampage refused to go down without a fight as left winger Mikkel Boedker punched back with 10 seconds left in the period making it a 1-1 game. Boedker received a pass from Brett MacLean as he skated down the right side of the glass. He then cut across toward center ice to better angle himself for a shot and completed a head-on attempt at the net as the puck flew over the left shoulder of Monsters netminder John Grahame.
Continuing the back and forth action, the Monsters scored a little over five minutes into the third period to reclaim the lead. Monsters center Mike Carman sent a pass behind him to right wing Matthew Ford in an attempt to clear from the Rampage’s defensive pressure. Ford saw an open slot and fired an unlikely shot as he was pressed against the right wall above the face off circle. Climie, not ready for the shot, allowed the puck to slip over his left shoulder and through the pipes increasing the score 2-1.
The Rampage rallied back on a tip-in from right winger MacLean with just over four minutes to go in the game. Boedker dove across the blue line to save the puck from being cleared down to the Rampage zone during the power play. He quickly rose to his feet and fired a long pass aimed toward the goal, as MacLean was posted outside of the crease. He tapped the puck behind Grahame giving the Rampage new life as they were once again tied at two goals apiece.
Bringing the building back on their feet just 26 seconds later, Bracken Kearns lit the lamp for the Rampage’s first lead of the evening. Left winger Alex Picard sped down the left side of the ice and made a pass to Kearns who was skating adjacent down the center. He was able to redirect the pass low, beneath the goaltenders padding making it a 3-2 game.
As a last resort with a minute and a half left in the contest, the Monsters waved off their goaltender and added a sixth skater in hopes of re-tying the game. However, the plan backfired as the puck escaped the possession of Lake Erie and was sent soaring towards the empty net. Rampage left wing Ryan Hollweg scrambled towards the puck and capitalized on the easy opportunity by tapping the puck in to seal the victory 4-2.
In his 100th professional game, Matt Climie stopped 31 pucks on 33 Monsters’ shots to earn his third win of the season while Grahame stopped 30 of 33 Rampage shots.
The Rampage will commence on a three-in-three series this weekend. Their first stop is the Cox Center in Oklahoma City as they play the Barons for the first time in franchise history. The action starts at 7:05 pm.