ABBOTSFORD, B.C. (December 6, 2013) – Despite erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period, the San Antonio Rampage (10-11-0-2) fell to the Western Conference-leading Abbotsford Heat (18-6-1-1), 4-2, tonight at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.
San Antonio’s offense was unable to overcome three power-play goals from the Heat (3-for-8), as well as a three-point outing from rookie Markus Granlund and two-point nights from forwards Ben Street and Ben Hanowski.
Rampage leading scorer Vincent Trocheck tallied a goal and an assist in the loss, marking his seventh multi-point game of the year. The rookie’s 11th goal of the season came as a shorthanded marker just past the midway point of the third period. Trocheck earned Third Star of the Game honors for his efforts.
Rampage forward Bobby Butler extended his point streak to four games in the defeat, recording two goals and two assists since Nov. 29. All but four Rampage skaters recorded at least one shot on goal, with Trocheck’s five shots leading the way. Netminder Jacob Markstrom made 34-of-37 saves in his seventh-straight start and third-straight game facing 30-or-more shots.
The Rampage were outshot for the first time in five games, 38-31, but managed to reach the 30-shot plateau for the 12th straight game. San Antonio only tallied a season-low five shots on goal in the first period, which was the fewest shots on goal for the club in a frame since Nov. 15 at Iowa.
Though Markstrom faced 12 Heat shots in the first period, neither team was able to light the lamp and the clubs went into the first intermission scoreless.
The Rampage and Heat combined for 22 penalty minutes during the middle frame. Denny Urban had the best chance for the Silver and Black, firing a blast from the point that rang off the post and ended behind Heat netminder Joni Ortio, who quickly covered it up.
Hanowski took advantage of the extra man at 14:08 of the second, picking up the puck on the far side and tucking it past Markstrom to put the Heat up, 1-0. His eighth of the season, assisted by Michael Ferland and Mark Cundari, triggered the home crowd to flood the ice with teddy bears on the club’s annual Teddy Bear Toss Night.
Abbotsford had a 5-on-3 chance with 24 seconds remaining in the middle frame, though it was quickly cut short as Corban Knight slashed a Rampage player behind the net. The third period opened with a 4-on-3 for the Heat and Street backhanded one past Markstrom just 1:02 into the final frame to widen the gap for the Heat, 2-0. Granlund and defenseman Chad Billins earned the assists.
The Rampage came roaring back, however, as Trocheck and Garrett Wilson orchestrated a seamless passing sequence to set up Butler for his seventh of the year at 2:23, only 1:21 after Street’s goal.
While the Heat were on their seventh power play of the night, the Rampage’s penalty kill took control and rushed up the ice. Trocheck capitalized on a Joey Crabb rebound, netting the club’s second shorthanded goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2 at 11:41 of the third period.
Just 38 seconds later, Max Reinhart scored the Heat’s third power play goal of the night, snapping the tie and giving Abbotsford a 3-2 lead. The Rampage iced an extra skater in place of Markstrom in the waning minutes, but Granlund finished off a three-point night with an empty net goal at 19:03 to put the game out of reach for the Silver and Black.
San Antonio has dropped the first three games of the eight-game set to the Heat this season.
The Rampage went 0-for-5 on the power play, giving up three power play goals (3-for-8) for the second-straight game.
The Silver and Black look to earn a weekend split with the Heat tomorrow night (Saturday) in Abbotsford at 9 p.m. CST in the second leg of the back-to-back. The Rampage will complete their four-game road trip with two tilts against the Charlotte Checkers next week (Dec. 10 and 12), before coming home to host their own Teddy Bear Toss Night against the Chicago Wolves on Dec. 14 at AT&T Center. Individual and season tickets can be purchased at the AT&T Center Southeast Box Office, by calling a Rampage representative at 210-444-5554, or online at sarampage.com.