Erupting for three goals in the second period and receiving stellar goaltending from start to finish, the San Antonio Rampage defeated the host Peoria Rivermen by a 3-1 score at Carver Arena on Friday.
San Antonio, 22-20-3-6 overall and 4-1-0-2 through the first seven games of their 14-game Rodeo road trip, entered the contest winless against Peoria in 2009-10 and winless at Carver Arena since December 27, 2008.
However, the Rivermen entered Friday’s matchup with a 1-5-0-2 record following the All-Star break.
After being outscored by a combined margin of 7-2 in the opening periods of their first three games against the Rivermen this season, San Antonio held Peoria off the scoreboard in a scoreless first frame on Friday.
Early in the second, with Rivermen center Cam Paddock serving a delay of game penalty, Rampage left wing Brett MacLean broke the scoreless tie with his team-leading 11th power-play goal of the year. Gaining control of the puck in the high slot of the Peoria zone, San Antonio defenseman Shaun Heshka skated down to the bottom of the right faceoff circle before connecting on a one-timer with MacLean on the left post. MacLean’s goal placed him in a tie with center Joel Perrault for the Rampage franchise lead in power-play goals with 19 apiece.
Near the midway point of the second stanza, San Antonio rookie forward Andrew Orpik added to the Rampage lead, at 12:12, with the first goal of his AHL career. Picking up a cycled puck from center Kyle Turris behind the Rivermen net, MacLean curled around the right post before firing a spin-around shot that bounced off the pads of Peoria netminder Ben Bishop and into the crease. Muscling through a Rivermen blueliner, Orpik deposited the rebound into the lower left side of the goal to provide the Rampage with a 2-0 lead.
A minute and two seconds later, MacLean increased the San Antonio lead to 3-0 with his second goal of the game and team-leading 22nd goal of the season. Receiving a pass from defenseman David Schlemko on the right point of the Peoria zone, Heshka skated down to the top of the right faceoff circle before firing a slap shot that was tipped by MacLean under Bishop’s outstretched glove.
San Antonio netminder Justin Pogge carried a shutout to the 19:33 mark of the third before Peoria rookie center Lars Eller tallied a power-play goal to end the Rampage goalie’s bid for his first shutout of the season.
Pogge turned away 27 of 28 Peoria shots for his eighth victory of the season, while Bishop stopped 18 of 21 San Antonio shots in the loss.
San Antonio was 1-for-5 on the power play and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill in the game.
The Rampage and Rivermen will reconvene on Saturday night for a 7:30 p.m. CST matchup at Carver Arena.
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