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Former Rampage forward of three seasons, David Spina experienced a successful homecoming as his new team, the Peoria Rivermen, defeated the Rampage 6-2 at the AT&T Center Friday night.
Right winger Mathieu Beaudoin excited the crowd out of their seats a little more than five minutes into the first period, as he caught Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop out of position and scored an easy opportunity down the center of the ice. However, the goal was immediately retracted by a delayed offside call against the Rampage.
The Rivermen used their new found energy after discovering they were once again tied to go on the offensive and light up the scoreboard for the first goal of the game. After seven minutes of play, center Nicholas Drazenovic shot on a sharp angle as he was standing on the goal line to the right of the net. The puck bounced off the padding of Rampage goaltender Al Montoya and slid just over the goal line. Graham Mink provided the assist.
The momentum continued to roll for Peoria when just 38 seconds after their last goal, former Rampage forward David Spina benefited from a San Antonio defensive mis-match to set himself up for a one-on-one against Montoya bringing their lead to two. He cut across the ice from right to left and on a backhand shot chipped the puck over the stick of Montoya and into the back of the net.
With 1:47 remaining in the first period, Drazenovic scored his second goal of the evening bringing the score to 3-0. Center Phil McRae received the puck from right winger Graham Mink as he was left open to the right of the goal and Drazenovic finished it off with a tip in front of the net that went to the underside of the cross bar over Montoya’s right shoulder.
The second period brought more opportunities for the Rampage as they went on four power-plays and were able to convert a two man disadvantage into their first score of the night making it a 3-1 game. Brett MacLean earned his first goal of the season on assists from Bracken Kearns and Montoya. Montoya cleared the puck to Kearns who was standing at the right wing wall at center ice. He sent a cross-ice pass to MacLean who placed the puck in the upper right corner out of reach for Peoria netminder Ben Bishop.
The Rivermen took the Rampage’s idea and converted on their next power play almost nine minutes into the second frame stretching the lead back to three as the score stood 4-1. After the Rivermen gained possession of the puck behind the net, Nathan Oystrick received a pass from Mink as he was positioned at the right corner of the goal. Oystrick then redirected the puck toward the lower left side of the net watching it slide underneath Montoya.
Another strong start at the beginning of the period for the Rampage occurred as they kicked off the final stanza with a breakaway goal by right wing Mathieu Beaudoin. Not even five minutes into the final frame, right winger Eric Neilson slid into Peoria’s Oystrick to cause a turnover. Beaudoin gained control of the puck and sped down for a breakway through center ice as he beat Bishop in a one-on-one. The shot cleared Bishop’s blocker and escaped underneath the cross bar cutting the deficit in half, 4-2.
Before both teams even had time to face off after the goal the score was altered to 5-2. After the Beaudoin goal, the officials were able to review a previous play and declared that Rivermen’s right winger Mink had scored on an earlier drive racking up his third point of the night at the 5:48 mark of the third period. During a Peoria powerplay, the net was tilted forward exposing the bottom of the goal to the boards. Mink successfully shot the puck through the goal posts, however, it was not ruled a goal since it was never trapped in the back of the net. The replay booth confirmed that it was an accurate goal and changed the score. The assists were rewarded to defenseman Oystrick and T.J. Hensick on the Rivermen’s third power-play goal of the night.
Peoria sealed their victory as they jumped to a 6-2 lead on right winger Adam Cracknell’s goal with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Cracknell beat rookie Maxim Goncharov and glided towards the right side of net where he saw an exposed lower right corner and took full advantage of that space sliding the puck through it.
San Antonio outshot Peoria 44-20 as Bishop made 42 of 44 saves on the night and Montoya turned away only 14 of 20 attempts.
The Rampage travel to Austin tomorrow for a matchup with the Texas Stars at 7 p.m. at Cedar Park Center.