Preview: Barracuda at Rampage
GAME PREVIEW: The San Jose Barracuda (18-14-5-3) return to the AT&T Center to finish their back-to-back with the San Antonio Rampage (19-19-7-0). The San Jose Barracuda enter tonight’s game on a 4-2-0-0 streak as they fell to the Silver and Black 2-1 last night. San Antonio is also holding their first of three Rampage Blockhead Nights at the AT&T Center, where the first 2,000 fans will receive a signature Rampage Blockhead.
RAMPAGE LEADERS: Colin Smith leads the team with 33 points, collecting 13 goals and a team-high 20 assists. Mikko Rantanen sits two points behind Smith with 13 goals and 19 assists, despite playing 19 less games. Maxim Noreau has registered 26 points and is leading the team in power-play goals.
AGAINST THE BARRACUDA: The San Jose Barracuda visited the Alamo City tonight for the first time in franchise history last night, as they fell 2-1 thanks to Dennis Everberg’s two-goal game. San Antonio has posted a 2-1 overall record against the Barracuda, with both teams collecting seven goals. Concluding tonight’s game, the Silver and Black won’t see San Jose in the AT&T Center until their final showdown on Apr. 6.
A LOOK AT THE PACIFIC DIVISION: The Rampage remain last in the Pacific Division after defeating the Barracuda 2-1 last night. As the Pacific Division stands, they will forfeit their fourth playoff seed to the Lake Erie Monsters (22-15-4-3, .580%) of the Central Division due to the AHL’s “Crossover” rule. Ultimately, the Silver and Black are aiming for the third seed or better come playoff time, and trail the San Jose Barracuda by .050 win-percentage points. Tonight’s game with San Jose should make for meaningful hockey as the All-Star Break approaches.
STREAKING FORWARD: Forward Mikko Rantanen recorded an assist in last night’s contest against the San Jose Barracuda, marking his ninth consecutive game with a point. His current point-streak has set a season-high for the Rampage, as he surpassed Colin Smith’s eight-game streak which ran from Nov. 20 to Dec. 9. Rantanen has tallied five goals, three of which came from his hat-trick against the Bakersfield Condors, and six assists through his nine games. His streak dates back to Dec. 13, before he took leave of the Rampage to captain the Finland national team to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Rodeo Road Trip is right around the corner for the San Antonio Rampage. The Silver and Black leave the Alamo City on Feb. 6 and won’t return to the AT&T Center until their next home game on Mar. 4. February has 11 road contests in-store for the Rampage, who boast one of the best road records in the AHL at 12-6-4-0. Their 28 points earned away from the AT&T Center is tied for third in the league for the most points earned on the road.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Rampage began a nine-game homestand on Jan. 15 against the Milwaukee Admirals and it will run until Feb. 5 when the Silver and Black take on the Texas Stars in their annual Pink in the Rink game. The nine-game homestand is the third longest in franchise history next to a 10-game homestand in the 2005-06 season and 11-game homestand in the 2007-08 season.
WEEKEND STATS: The Rampage hosted their first 3-in-3 last weekend, providing a handful of new statistics for career firsts and season-highs. One night after Reid Petryk replaced Mikko Rantanen for the fastest two goals scored by one player (2:54), Rantanen shattered Petryk’s time by 54 seconds when he landed his first North American professional hat trick late in the third period. This is the first Rampage hat trick since Joey Crabb netted three goals against the Utica Comets on Feb. 26, 2014. Saturday’s contest was the second consecutive game where the Rampage have recorded two unassisted goals. San Antonio also registered two power play goals for the first time since Dec. 29 when the Rampage fell to the Stars 5-4 in the Cedar Park Center.