SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Rampage (24-24-3-6) took a 3-1 lead early in the second period, but fell 5-4 to the Charlotte Checkers (28-26-1-2) in a shootout on Friday night at the AT&T Center in front of a crowd of 8,473. San Antonio now sits in 11th place in the Western Conference, just seven points back from the eighth and final playoff spot.
Bobby Butler scored two goals and Drew Shore, in his first game back with the Rampage since being recalled to the Panthers on Feb. 24, recorded two assists.
The Checkers got on the board first as Chris Terry intercepted a pass in front of the net and got it to Justin Shugg to make it 1-0 at 8:28.
Wade Megan got the Rampage on the board when he scored his sixth goal of the season at 17:10. Mike Mottau sent a pass to John McFarland, and McFarland’s blast from the point was deflected in by Megan. With the assist, Mottau recorded his first point since being reassigned to the Rampage on February 23.
A Charlotte penalty for too many men on the ice late in the first gave the Silver and Black 1:09 of power play time to start the second period, and the Rampage took advantage. Joey Crabb intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and got it to Bobby Butler, who quickly ripped it to give the Rampage a 2-1 lead just 59 seconds into the frame. The assist marked the 300th pro point for Crabb.
Butler struck again just over two minutes later, recording his 18th goal and second two-goal game of the season. John Muse misplayed the puck behind the net and Drew Shore picked it up and got it to Butler, who was wide open in front. Shore’s assist was the 50th of his pro career.
Charlotte answered at 4:32 as Aaron Palushaj sent a shot from the point that was deflected by Sean Dolan and slipped over Houser’s left shoulder to make it 3-2.
The Checkers tied it up on an odd-man rush at 15:01 as Zach Boychuk backhanded a pass to a wide-open Palushaj on the doorstep.
The Rampage ended the scoring flurry in the second period. Alex Petrovic put a shot on net and Garrett Wilson cleaned up, putting the puck past Muse and giving the Silver and Black a 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission.
Charlotte tied it up at 10:31 when Dolan chipped in a rebound off a Michal Jordan shot from the point. Neither team would score for the remainder of the period, forcing overtime.
The Rampage had a couple good looks in the extra frame, including a Mark Mancari blast off a face-off that was stopped by Muse as time expired. That sent the Silver and Black to its 15th shootout of the season.
In the skills competition, Mark Mancari put the puck past Muse, but Shore, Butler, McFarland and Petrovic couldn’t put one past Muse, and the Checkers would take a 5-4 win.
San Antonio’s penalty kill continued to thrive, stopping the Checkers on all four of their opportunities. The Rampage power play was also clicking, scoring on two of three opportunities with the extra man.
Charlotte won the shot battle 41-39. The game marked the 100th AHL game for defenseman Alex Petrovic.
The Rampage will host the Checkers on Sunday at 4 p.m., which will also be Pucks and Paws Night at the AT&T Center. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the game. 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