Game Preview: Righting the Ship
The Rampage complete their three-game road trip on Tuesday night at Panther Arena against the Milwaukee Admirals hoping to avoid a winless week away from the AT&T Center. The Rampage lost consecutive games in Winnipeg to the Manitoba Moose over the weekend, dropping their record on the road this season to 4-14-1. The Admirals earned a 4-0 shutout win over Chicago on Sunday to snap what was an 0-4-1 winless skid.
The Admirals lead the Rampage by four points in the Central Division with both teams on the outside of the playoff picture.
The San Antonio roster has been thin lately with injuries to forwards Ryan Olsen, Nikita Soshnikov, and Chris Thorburn joined by a lower-body injury to Stephen Perfetto on Saturday afternoon. The team has employed forwards Mark Cooper and Ryan Tesink over the weekend on professional tryouts, but they still were forced to play with just 17 skaters on Sunday in Winnipeg.
Austin Poganski scored in each contest against the Moose over the weekend, his sixth and seventh goals of the season. He has scored in back-to-back games three times this season. Chris Butler had a two-assist game on Sunday, giving him four helpers in his last six outings. Tyler Wotherspoon has a goal and nine points in his last 11 contests on the back end.
Mitch Reinke ranks second among all rookie AHL defensemen with 25 points after picking up an assist on Sunday.
Rampage goaltender Jared Coreau has made seven consecutive starts for the Rampage, but was relieved by goaltender Devin Williams for Sunday’s third period after surrendering four goals on 12 shots to the Moose. Coreau has a 2.89 goals-against average with the Rampage.
The Admirals can relate to the Rampage struggles in Manitoba, they themselves having lost both of their games at Bell MTS Place last week. The Admirals are 3-6-1 over their last ten, and they’ve lost four straight at home.
The absence of former Rampage forward Rocco Grimaldi has certainly been felt by the Admirals, with Grimaldi playing with the NHL’s Nashville Predators since late November. Eeli Tolvanen returned to Milwaukee from Nashville over the weekend after a month with the Predators.
The Predators swung a trade with the New York Rangers on January 14th, sending Admirals forward and former Rampage scorer Connor Brickley to the Hartford Wolf Pack for Cole Schneider. Schneider has 13 goals and 27 points in 39 games this season, and two assists in three games with the Admirals.
Milwaukee had four goals on Sunday against the Wolves after combining to score seven goals in their prior five contests. With goals hard to come by, Nicholas Baptiste has had some success with three goals in his last three contests. Emil Pettersson has two goals and seven points in his last eight contests.
The Admirals have won two of the three meetings between the two teams this season, including the only game at Panther Arena. The Admirals topped the Rampage on home ice on Oct. 23, a 3-0 final that is still San Antonio’s only shutout loss this season.
Rampage to Watch
With the Rampage missing a slew of bodies due to injuries and call-ups, defenseman Joey LaLeggia has been asked to make adjustments. LaLeggia played forward often during the last two seasons with the Bakersfield Condors, and he’s been a top-line left wing for Drew Bannister during the last three games. LaLeggia has been one of San Antonio’s most productive players of late, scoring his fifth goal of the season on Sunday and earning and assist on Saturday. LaLeggia has two goals and five points in his last six games. He is responsible for San Antonio’s lone win over Milwaukee this season, scoring the first overtime penalty shot goal in Rampage history to cap a 2-1 win over the Admirals at the AT&T Center on Dec. 8.
Admiral to Watch
Matt Donovan has been among the AHL’s top offensive defensemen for years, and the start of the 2018-19 season was no different. Donovan, in his first season with the Admirals, had seven goals and 14 points during his first 14 games of the campaign. In his last 20 contests, Donovan has been limited to one goal and four assists with a minus-4 rating. Milwaukee is 6-3-0 this year when Donovan scores a goal.
- The Rampage are 1-6-1 in their last eight road games.
- San Antonio gave up two power-play goals to Manitoba on Sunday. They had given up two in their prior 12 games combined.
- Milwaukee is 9-7-2 at home this season
- Admirals goaltender Tom McCollum is 1-4-2 in his last seven starts. He’s 2-0-0 against the Rampage this year.
- Milwaukee has gone to overtime 15 times this season, tied for the league lead.
- The Admirals are 13-14-7 against the Central Division, compared to San Antonio’s 19-14-1 record against the Central.
- The Milwaukee penalty kill ranks second in the league at 85.9 percent. They are also the only team in the league this season who has not surrendered a shorthanded goal.
- The Admirals are a minus-20 in third periods, and their 25 goals scored are the least of any team in the third period this season.