CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights.
A strong third period gives the San Antonio Rampage a 5-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat in the first contest of a back-to-back series at Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre Friday night. Rampage netminder Matt Climie stopped 31 of 32 Heat shots to earn his fifth straight win.
Abbotsford took a 1-0 lead 6:28 into the first period off rookie center Lance Bouma’s third goal of the season. Bouma received the puck in the slot and backhanded a shot over Rampage goaltender Matt Climie’s right shoulder to give the Heat an early edge. Heat forwards Gaelan Patterson and Greg Nemisez provided the assists.
San Antonio responded with a power-play goal at the 12:40 mark of the opening frame to tie the game at 1-1. Rampage leading scorer Matt Beaudoin posted his seventh goal of the season as he shot from a sharp angle at the right goal line. The puck deflected off a Heat defenseman and found its way to the back of the net through the low glove side of Abbotsford goaltender Matt Keetley. Mikkel Boedker supplied the assist.
Just under a minute and a half after the power-play tally, the Rampage claimed a 2-1 lead on Peter MacArthur’s first goal of the season. Viktor Tikhonov’s shot from the slot was deflected by MacArthur at the left post into the net past Keetley low glove side. Matt Pope was credited with the second assist.
The score remained 2-1 through the second period as neither club was able to light the lamp. San Antonio outshot Abbotsford 25-23 through the first two frames.
The Rampage came out strong in the third period scoring three goals in a 2:10 stretch for a 5-1 lead. Left wing Alex Picard initiated the scoring spree with a wrap around goal at the 2:04 mark. Picard skated behind the net toward the left post to beat Keetley in the lower left corner. Andrew Ebbett and Tikhonov added the helpers.
At the 3:51 mark of the final frame, right wing Brett MacLean extended his point streak to four games with his fifth goal of the season creating a 4-1 Rampage lead. MacLean skated down the slot and fired a shot high to the glove side of Keetley. Boedker chipped in with the lone assist.
Just 23 seconds later, San Antonio solidified their victory at 5-1 with a goal by Tim Stapleton. Boedker earned his third assist of the evening when his shot from the left faceoff circle was deflected into the crease and picked up by Stapleton who punched it in high glove side over Irving.
After giving up five goals, Heat head coach Jim Playfair pulled Keetley in favor of netminder Leland Irving with nearly 16 minutes remaining in regulation and was able to stop all six shots he faced.
The Rampage (8-3-1-0) return to the ice at 9 p.m. tomorrow night for the second game of a back-to-back series against the Heat in Abbotsford, British Columbia.