Unable to preserve a third period lead, the San Antonio Rampage fell to the Manitoba Moose, in a shootout, by a 4-3 score on Saturday night at MTS Centre.
Saturday’s contest marked the second meeting between the two clubs in less than 24 hours as San Antonio (21-20-3-6) defeated Manitoba in overtime, 5-4, on Friday.
The Moose found the scoreboard first with a goal by left wing Nikita Kashirsky at the 10:56 mark of the opening period. Seconds after ringing a shot off the right post, Kashirsky stole a puck from a Rampage defenseman on the right boards in the neutral zone and skated all alone on San Antonio goaltender Justin Pogge before deking the Rampage netminder low to the blocker side.
San Antonio responded a minute and 17 seconds later on the power play with right wing Chad Kolarik’s 16th goal of the season. After Moose defenseman Brian Salcido blocked a shot from the high slot by Rampage left wing Jeff Hoggan, Kolarik stole the puck from Salcido between the hash marks and fired a spin-around shot into the upper left corner of the Manitoba net to tie the game a 1-1.
Manitoba reclaimed the lead 52 seconds into the middle frame on a goal by left wing Guillaume Desbiens. After Moose center Mario Bliznak won a draw in the right faceoff circle of the Rampage zone back to defenseman Lawrence Nycholat on the right point, Nycholat then found defenseman Travis Ramsey on the left point. The defenseman then one-timed a shot low to Pogge’s blocker side that was tipped in front by Desbiens to provide Manitoba with a 2-1 lead.
Four minutes and two seconds later in the second, center Kyle Turris tied the game with a highlight reel shorthanded goal. Entering the left side of the Moose zone with only a back-checking Manitoba left wing Michael Grabner to beat, the right-handed Turris faked to the inside before bringing the puck from behind his body through his legs and off the inside of his left skate. Leaving the Moose winger in the dust near the bottom of the left faceoff circle, Turris curled to the net before deking Schneider to the left and finishing inside the right post.
Continuing to maintain momentum, the Rampage earned their first lead of the contest with a power-play goal by right wing Matt Watkins with 35 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Speeding around three Moose players in the neutral zone, Rampage right wing Mikkel Boedker dished a pass to Watkins at the top of the left faceoff circle. Watkins then worked a give-and-go with left wing Brett MacLean in the slot, and received the return pass near the left post before beating Schneider low to the blocker side.
Entering the final period with a lead for the second consecutive night, San Antonio hoped to close out the Moose in regulation on Saturday.
However, the Moose had other plans as Desbiens received a backdoor pass on the left post from defenseman Mike Keane on the right point and beat Pogge low to tie the game at 3-3 with 6:07 remaining in the game.
Neither team scored in the time remaining in regulation, thus sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime session, Manitoba outshot San Antonio, 3-0, but Pogge and Schneider each stood tall to force a shootout.
In the shootout, Manitoba outscored San Antonio, 3-1, as center Marco Rosa, right wing Dan Sexton and left wing Michael Grabner lit the lamp for the Moose. Turris scored the Rampage’s lone goal in the shootout with four San Antonio attempts.
Pogge, who was reassigned to San Antonio earlier in the day following an emergency recall to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks last Sunday, made 25 saves on 28 Moose shots in the shootout loss, while Schneider turned away 23 of 26 Rampage shots for the victory.
San Antonio was 2-for-3 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill on the night.
The Rampage return to action on Friday, when the club travels to Peoria, Illinois for a 7 p.m. matchup against the Rivermen at Carver Arena.