The intensity level was high as the Rampage participated in their intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday morning. In the end, Team Black walked away with an 8-7 shootout victory in an extremely exciting contest.
Eleven combined players lit the lamp, with John McFarland and Quinton Howden tallying two goals for Team Black and Jonathan Hazen recording a pair of goals for Team Silver. The scrimmage featured three, 30-minute running clock periods.
“I thought the pace of the game, especially early, was fantastic,” said Rampage head coach Chuck Weber. “I thought the guys really worked. You could see some things fell off pace wise as the game went on, but I thought we saw some good instincts.”
Team Black recorded the first two goals of the game. McFarland opened the scoring at 1:16 when he capitalized on a rebound from Team Silver netminder Jacob Markstrom. Defenseman Nolan Yonkman made it 2-0 Team Black with a blast from the point that found its way through a crowd into the back of the net.
Team Silver got on the board with nine minutes remaining in the period when Jean-Francois Jacques banged home a rebound. Howden made it 3-1 Team Black as he made a move to split two defensemen and tucked the puck into the back of the net.
Hazen and Casey Wellman each lit the lamp for Team Silver and the two teams went into the first intermission tied, 3-3.
Goaltenders Brian Foster (Team Black) and Michael Houser (Team Silver) entered the game at the start of the second period and remained between the pipes for the game’s duration.
Team Silver rattled off four goals in the second period, while holding Team Black off the scoresheet. Hazen added his second goal of the game on a rebound generated from a low, hard shot from Jacques. Eric Selleck also banged home a rebound goal with 11:39 remaining in the second period.
Francois Bouchard and Josh McFadden each added goals less than a minute apart to give Team Silver a 7-3 lead heading into the third period.
The final frame saw Team Black respond with four unanswered goals of their own to tie the game and force a shootout. Jared Gomes got it started with the game’s lone power-play goal and McFarland beat Foster low while the teams were skating 4-on-4. P.K. O’Handley made it a one-goal game with five minutes remaining thanks to a sneaky wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic.
With 50 seconds remaining, Howden notched the game-tying goal as Team Black’s goalie was pulled for an extra attacker. Good perimeter puck movement led to Howden finding a soft-spot in the defense at the back door.
Each team sent five skaters out to solve the tie via shootout. Team Black defenseman Tyson Strachan was the only player to beat the strong goaltending of Houser and Foster.
“The young kids really worked hard,” said Weber of the scrimmage. “With some of the veteran guys, you could see that it was an intrasquad game and they were using it to get the bugs out. I thought a lot of guys showed well and it’s going to continue to make our decisions difficult.”
The Rampage will play their first of two preseason games against the Texas Stars on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Park Center. The two teams will then square off in San Antonio at Northwoods Ice Center on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.