Tony's Midweek Report
The Rampage have discovered that a team can, in fact, discover déjà vu all over again in four straight setbacks -- all with relatively the same script each night.
In back-to-back losses this past weekend to the Chicago Wolves, the Rampage grabbed an early first period lead, only to have the visitors tie the game and score the game winner in the third period each night.
“You can have my interview from yesterday and just pass it again,” said Veilleux with a smile after Sunday’s loss in yet another game that could have gone either way with a friendly bounce or two.
Opponents outscored San Antonio 10-5 on the four-game homestand even though the Rampage outshot the Milwaukee Admirals and Wolves in each contest.
Tuesday night’s first win of the season vs. Texas at the HEB Center in Cedar Park could be a sign of better days ahead for the team and their fans.
Champ Amongst Us
After four years in Springfield, Rampage right wing Trent Vogelhuber found himself in Cleveland last season playing for the Lake Erie Monsters, helping the team win the Calder Cup.
“We had a lot of similarities actually with this team. Bunch of young guys who were going to have to step in so we weren’t good right away,” he said. “We had growing pains along the way. It wasn’t until February where we really started to turn it on.”
And turn it on they did. The Monsters were on a serious roll as they swept the Western Conference titlist Ontario Reign in four games before doing the same in the Cup Finals against Hershey. It was an impressive 15-2 post-season, including nine straight wins.
“The process of getting there the first five months of the season – that’s what really got us where we needed to be,” said Vogelhuber, who was the Monsters alternate captain and scored the goal in the finals that set the tone for Lake Erie.
Vogulhuber’s third period goal snapped a 1-1 deadlock in Game 1 in Hershey, and led to a three-goal outburst on the way to a 4-1 win. The Monsters won Game 2 in Chocolate Town, 5-3, followed by two exciting sudden death wins back on the Lake.
What should give Rampage fans a ray of sunshine is the former Columbus Blue Jackets draftee sees a similarity between the champs and this year’s Rampage squad.
“We’re gonna have to be patient here,” said Vogelhuber of the slow start. Pointing to the Admirals, he said, “That team over there has maybe five new players and the same coaching staff, where we have maybe five of the same guys here and a new coach here. There are some young guys who are going to have to play big roles and that will come over the first couple of months and they’ll get more mature.”
Since Vogelhuber played in the Eastern Conference, it took him awhile to experience the Alamo City in person.
“My first time visiting here last year as the away team and it’s a great town, really cool downtown,” said the Dublin, Ohio native. “With the Rampage specifically, it’s a great fan base. It’s one of the best AHL atmosphere’s to play in so really excited about that. And the weather is great down here as well.”
Vogulhuber played collegiate hockey at Miami of Ohio, making the Frozen Four twice and the National Championship game once. “Had a real successful four years and I really loved it.”
Vogelhuber is coming off his best pro season, scoring 11 goals and 27 points with 65 penalty minutes last year. At 6-2 and 195 pounds, Rampage fans will quickly realize when the boards explode, “Voggie” is at work at the AT&T Center. “I like our group here. We have a lot of talent. We just need to put the details together.”
With the Rampage cracking the win column Tuesday against the Texas Stars, thoughts turned to former San Antonio captain and veteran of both the Stars and Rampage, Greg Rallo. Rallo has the distinction of being a top-five scorer for both Lone Star State clubs in a seven-year stretch playing for both teams.
Rampage fans became familiar with the Gurnee, Illinois native in 2007-08, the Stars’ first AHL season, as he tormented San Antonio teams, especially in the Cedar Park Center. Rallo would set up shop at the top of the left circle when a teammate would find him with a zipper pass. Quickly, a one-timer would be in the Rampage net, either tying the score late in the third period, or winning it outright in overtime.
Overall, Rallo is the Stars’ third highest scorer in franchise history with 191 points in 276 games, trailing only Travis Morin and Colton Seviour. In San Antonio, Rallo wore the “C” his final of three seasons, scoring 116 points in 207 contests. The Rampage-Florida Panthers connection also earned Rallo’s only taste of life in the NHL, where he scored his lone goal, deflecting in a TJ Brennan shot against Tampa Bay.
Currently, Rallo is playing in Germany with the Iserlohn Roosters.
Since 1994, Tony Uminski has covered professional hockey in the Alamo City, starting with the Central Hockey League’s San Antonio Iguanas. He had a brief stint with the IHL’s San Antonio Dragons (1996) and now the Boston native covers the Rampage as one of the team’s writers and fill-in radio announcers.