Playing in their third consecutive shootout game, the Rampage claimed a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies in a mid-day matchup with more than 5,000 screaming school children in attendance at Ricoh Coliseum.
In their first game of a 14-game road trip, San Antonio found the scoreboard with 58 seconds remaining in the opening frame on a goal by Rampage points leader Brett MacLean. Neither team had taken a shot on goal in the previous five minutes before San Antonio center Joel Perrault fired a slap shot from the right point that was redirected by MacLean at the top right corner of the crease past Marlies goalie Joey MacDonald to give the Rampage a 1-0 lead.
Toronto evened the score at the 6:18 mark of the second period when Marlies defenseman Ryan Stokes took a shot from the top of the left circle that was blocked in front by a black jersey in which Toronto center Justin Hodgman was there to pick up the puck and skate from left to right at the top of the crease to beat a sprawled out Pogge over the Rampage netminder’s left leg pad.
The Marlies, who entered today’s game leading the league in second period goals allowed (72), not only kept San Antonio scoreless in the middle frame but also outshot the Rampage 14-8.
Toronto added to their momentum just 26 seconds into the final frame with a goal by right wing Kyle Rogers for the Marlies’ first lead. Carrying the puck along the right wing boards, Marlies forward Ben Simon sent a pass from the point to Hodgman in the slot in which Hodgman left the disc for Rogers at the mouth of the crease and Rogers was able to punch it in past Pogge for Rogers’ fourth goal of the season.
However, the Rampage rallied back to tie the game 2-2 with a short-handed goal by center Gavin Morgan at the 12:46 mark. Morgan scored his fourth goal of the season from the right post where he tapped in a loose puck while MacDonald was down attempting to cover the puck in the crease. San Antonio left wing Ryan Hollweg was credited with the helper on the Rampage’s fifth short-handed goal of the season.
Once again the Marlies took the lead with a short-handed goal of their own at the 17:09 mark in the third on a Rampage turnover in their own defensive zone. While San Antonio blueliner Shaun Heshka was looking down ice to clear the puck, Marlies center Tim Brent picked the puck off Heshka’s stick as the Rampage defenseman fell to the ice allowing Brent the open ice to beat Pogge top shelf for a 3-2 Toronto advantage.
A few minutes later Heshka redeemed himself helping the Rampage in a big way as the final seconds ran off the clock. The Rampage blueliner took a shot from the right point that made its way through traffic to MacDonald who made a kick save that punched the puck out to Rampage center Joel Perrault who was waiting uncontested at the top left corner of the crease to tap it in past a sliding MacDonald. Perrault, the Rampage’s all-time leading goal scorer, posted his 11th goal of the season to help San Antonio take the game to overtime and eventually a shootout.
In the shootout, Pogge stopped all four Marlies skaters he faced while San Antonio snipers Mikkel Boedker and Chad Kolarik each tallied a goal for the Rampage’s first shootout victory of the season.
Today’s game also marked Pogge’s first visit to Ricoh Coliseum wearing an opposing jersey after spending the previous three seasons with Toronto where he managed a 71-56-11 record with the Marlies.
The Rampage will travel back to the United States today and return to action on Friday as they face off against the Syracuse Crunch at 6:30 p.m. at War Memorial at Oncenter.