Coming off a much needed win at the AT&T Center last night and catching a 7 a.m. flight this morning, the Rampage defeated the Rockford IceHogs by a 2-1 score at Rockford MetroCentre Saturday night. San Antonio netminder Justin Pogge stopped 34 of 35 IceHogs shots to improve the Rampage to an 11-14-3-1 record.
The Rampage, who play a total of eight three games in three nights series this season, entered tonight with a 1-1 record in the second game of a three-in-three set.
San Antonio jumped on the board first, at the 8:03 mark of the opening frame, with a Stefan Meyer goal, his first since Oct. 17. Meyer was able to score his second goal of the season when Stu Bickel fired a shot from the point that deflected off of Rockford netminder Joe Fallon’s blocker and landed in front of the crease where Meyer was there to scoop it up into the net and give San Antonio a 1-0 advantage. Rampage right wing Chad Kolarik was credited with the second assist on Meyer’s goal, his second in as many nights.
Entering tonight’s game, the Rampage owned a 7-2-1-0 record when posting the first tally of the game while the Rockford IceHogs had scored the first goal in 21 of their previous 33 games this season, a league-best.
Attempting to fire up the Rockford bench halfway through the first period, former Rampage enforcer Ryan Flinn battled it out against Rampage penalty minute leader Francis Lessard in which each player was assessed a five minute fighting penalty.
The Rampage added to their lead to open the second period at the 3:29 mark when Brett MacLean drove the net, in which IceHogs goaltender Fallon blocked the attempt, however, MacLean was able to pick up his own rebound and carry the puck around the back of the net and wrap it in around the left post for a 2-0 Rampage lead. San Antonio right wing Matt Watkins picked up an assist on MacLean’s 12th goal of the season, giving Watkins four points in his last three games while center Kevin Porter recorded his 13th assist of the season.
With Rockford going scoreless through the first 58 minutes and seven seconds of the game, it looked like Pogge was on his way to his eighth career shutout and the Rampage’s first shutout of the season. However, the IceHogs were lit up the lamp with 1:53 left in regulation when Rockford center Bracken Kearns carried the puck over to the left post but had the puck poked away by a Rampage player in front of the net out to IceHogs forward Kyle Greentree, who was stationed at the top of the right crease, in which Greentree was able to slide the puck in under Pogge’s left leg and prevent the shutout. Rockford center Mark Cullen, who leads the IceHogs offense against the Rampage, was credited with the second assist on Greentree’s eighth goal of the season.
Rampage netminder Justin Pogge made his fifth AHL start of the season and picked up his first career win against the IceHogs, holding a 0-2-0 record against Rockford heading into tonight’s game.
The Rampage travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin tomorrow to take on the Admirals at 4 p.m. at the Bradley Center to complete their third game in as many nights.