CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights.
Rampage forward Angelo Esposito tallies his first goal of the season in San Antonio’s 5-2 loss to the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night.
The Monsters got on the board first with a goal from left wing Justin Mercier at 1:40 of the opening frame. Mercier picked up a loose puck near the left circle and took a shot that bounced along the ice and up and over Rampage goaltender Jacob Markstrom to give Lake Erie an early 1-0 lead.
Center Mike Carman doubled the Lake Erie advantage to 2-0 when he intercepted a break out pass in the Rampage zone and wristed a shot that grazed Markstrom’s arm and into the goal for his first score of the season at 8:24 of the first.
Lake Erie made it 3-0 with a goal from center Ryan Stoa 57 seconds into the second period. Right wing Luke Walker started the play as he moved into the San Antonio zone with speed and fired a quick shot off Markstrom’s leg pads. The puck caromed off the Rampage goaltender and out to Stoa, who collected the rebound and deposited the puck into the net for a third Monsters goal.
Colby Robak cut the San Antonio deficit to two with a goal off a Rampage rush at 18:57 of the second. With San Antonio on a three-on-two, forward Tim Kennedy dropped a pass back to Robak in the high slot and Robak wristed a shot past Lake Erie goalie Cedric Desjardins for his third goal of the year to make the count 3-1.
The Monsters returned to the ice in the final stanza once again scoring within the first two minutes of the initial face off for the third time this evening. They regained their three-goal lead on a goal from David van der Gulik 26 seconds into the third session. With left wing Greg Mauldin controlling behind the San Antonio zone, Mauldin centered a pass to van der Gulik , who was stationed above the hash marks in front of Markstrom. The Lake Erie right wing one-timed the pass and beat Markstrom low to his left for a 4-1 Monsters edge.
Esposito brought the Rampage to within two with a score off a goalmouth scramble at 12:52 of the final period. With a mass of bodies in front of Desjardins, Esposito pushed the puck across the goal line to cut into the Lake Erie advantage with his first goal of the season. Defenseman Mike Kostka picked up his first assist of the year on the Esposito goal.
Monsters forward Brad Malone added an empty net goal at 19:03 of the third to cap the scoring at 5-2.
Desjardins made 22 saves on 24 Rampage shots in the Lake Erie victory while Markstrom stopped 24 of the 28 Monsters shots he faced in his first game with the Rampage.
The Rampage (4-7-0-0) and Monsters will return to action tomorrow night for the second game of a back-to-back set at 6:30 p.m. CST at Quicken Loans Arena.