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San Antonio Rampage right wing Brett MacLean recorded his first professional hat trick as the Rampage beat the Syracuse Crunch 4-2 on Friday night at Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter. The Rampage improve to 33-20-2-0 good for 68 points.
MacLean becomes the 10th player in franchise history and second Rampage player this season to score three goals in one game as he skated in his 200th professional contest tonight.
San Antonio was the first to jump on the scoreboard as MacLean scored his ninth power-play goal of the season 8:51 after the initial puck drop. Viktor Tikhonov received the puck off a Syracuse turnover deep in their defensive zone and passed to MacLean at the left goal post where he snapped a shot over Crunch goaltender Ray Emery’s left shoulder for a 1-0 lead.
The Rampage claimed a 2-0 advantage when Emery deflected Matt Beaudoin’s shot toward center Bracken Kearns at the left face off circle, who in turn sent the puck to the high stick side of Emery and into the back of the net at the 13:38 mark of the second period. Alex Picard provided the additional helper.
Just 26 seconds later, the Rampage extended their lead to 3-0 with MacLean’s 21st goal of the season and second of the night. Matt Watkins’ backhanded attempt at the top of the crease was blocked by Emery but left open in the slot for MacLean to punch it home. Randy Robitaille supplied the second assist for his first point in a Rampage uniform.
The Crunch cut the San Antonio lead to 3-1 when Nicolas Deschamps passed the puck behind him to left wing Josh Green above the right faceoff dot who fired a shot to the low stick side of Rampage goaltender Matt Climie 18:07 into the second period on the power play.
Syracuse opened the third period scoring 4:41 into the final frame when Deschamps sent a centering feed to former Rampage player Matt Beleskey who was able to tap the puck past Climie’s blocker and into the back of the net for a 3-2 score.
With 5:48 remaining in the contest, MacLean was awarded a penalty shot for the Rampage’s second penalty shot opportunity of the season. MacLean backhanded the puck into the upper right corner of the goal past Emery to round out his hat trick and give San Antonio a 4-2 victory.
Climie turned aside 37 of 39 Crunch shot attempts and earned the third star. Emery, who has started in 163 NHL games in his career, made 27 saves on 31 Rampage shot attempts in his Crunch debut.
The Rampage return to the ice Saturday afternoon when they travel to Hamilton, Ontario to face the Bulldogs at 3 p.m. at Copps Coliseum.