In their final home game before embarking on a 14-game Rodeo road trip, the San Antonio Rampage fell to the Milwaukee Admirals, 4-3, in a shootout for the second time in as many days.
The Rampage (18-19-3-4) entered Sunday’s matinee matchup seeking retribution for a 3-2 shootout loss to the same Milwaukee club on Saturday evening.
On Sunday, the Admirals struck first in the contest as center Mike Santorelli was the beneficiary of an errant shot by Milwaukee blueliner Mark Matheson from the left point that caromed off the end boards behind the net and out to the front of the right post, where the Admirals center beat Rampage goalie Justin Pogge high to the glove side at the 14:16 mark of the first to provide Milwaukee with a 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee then added to their lead on Santorelli’s second goal of the game at the 3:37 mark of the second stanza. After receiving a pass on the left point from fellow Admirals defenseman Robert Dietrich, Milwaukee blueliner Alex Sulzer fired a slap shot off the right post that deflected to Santorelli at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, where the Milwaukee center quickly beat Pogge inside the right post to increase the Admirals lead to 2-0.
Refusing to give in, San Antonio responded two minutes and one second later with a shorthanded goal by All-Star defenseman Sean Sullivan. Entering the left side of the Milwaukee zone with speed, Rampage center Kevin Porter dropped a pass from the left faceoff dot back to a trailing Sullivan in the high slot, where the Rampage blueliner beat Admirals netminder Chet Pickard with a wrist shot high to the glove side to close the deficit to 2-1.
The Rampage struck again, on the power play, with a goal by right wing Matt Watkins at the 18:56 mark in the second. Working on the man-advantage, Porter sent a pass from the left half wall to right wing Chad Kolarik in the high slot. Kolarik then fired a wrist shot that deflected off Watkins’ hip and inside the left post to tie the game at two goals apiece.
The tie game did not last for long as Milwaukee right wing Andreas Thuresson scored a minute and thirty-nine seconds into the third after Admirals center Cal O’Reilly charged into the San Antonio zone and threaded a pass from the right side of the slot through the stick of a Rampage defenseman to Thuresson on the left post to give Milwaukee a 3-2 lead.
Near the midway point of the third, the Rampage tied the game yet again, at the 6:32 mark of the final frame, on a power-play goal by defenseman David Schlemko. After receiving a saucer pass at the top of the slot from left wing Chad Kolarik on the left half wall, San Antonio defenseman Shaun Heshka fired a slap shot that deflected off Pickard to left wing Brett MacLean. MacLean then attempted to capitalize on the rebound before the puck bounced over his stick to Schlemko, who beat Pickard low to the blocker side to knot the game at 3-3.
Neither team scored in the time remaining in regulation, thus sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, for the second evening in a row San Antonio outshot the Admirals, but were unable to manage a goal, sending the game to the second shootout in as many nights.
Unfortunately for the Rampage, the showdown dealt them a similar fate as Milwaukee outscored San Antonio, 2-1, and Admirals center Wacey Rabbit notched the winner in the seventh round of the shootout to capture a 4-3 victory.
Pickard made 33 saves on 36 Rampage shots for the victory, while Pogge turned away 44 of 47 Milwaukee shots in the loss.
The Rampage begin their annual Rodeo road trip on Wednesday morning as they travel north of the border to Toronto, Ontario for a 10 a.m. (CST) contest against the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The contest marks the beginning of a 29-day road trip through Toronto, Syracuse, Lake Erie, Hamilton, Manitoba, Peoria, Milwaukee, Chicago, Rockford and Grand Rapids.