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San Antonio Rampage center Bracken Kearns scored two goals to lead the Rampage to a 4-3 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday night at the AT&T Center. The Rampage improve to a 36-24-3-0 record good for 75 points in a tight West Division race.
San Antonio right wing Matt Beaudoin tallied three assists in the game while center Randy Robitaille notched one goal and one assist. Left wing Dane Byers recorded two assists and Kearns’ two goals earned each player their first multiple-point night with the Rampage.
The Rampage were the first on the board as they took a 1-0 lead 2:11 after the initial puck drop when right wing Viktor Tikhonov scored on San Antonio’s first power-play opportunity of the night. Alex Picard centered a pass to Randy Robitaille who then sent the puck to an open Tikhonov in the slot where he fired a shot low stick side of Barons goaltender Martin Gerber.
The Barons netted the equalizer at the 12:12 mark of the first period when Colin McDonald picked up his own rebound below the right faceoff circle and backhanded a pass to left wing Matt Marquardt in the slot who shot the puck wide of Rampage netminder Matt Climie’s glove for a 1-1 score.
Oklahoma City claimed a 2-1 advantage 15:01 into the opening frame when right wing Mark Arcobello picked up the puck after Teemu Hartikainen’s shot was deflected to the left side of the crease and flipped it over Climie’s left shoulder.
Just 38 seconds later, San Antonio evened the score at 2-2 on Kearns’ 15th goal of the season. Byers sent a cross-ice pass to Kearns at the right faceoff dot where he skated toward the net and fired a shot high stick side of Gerber. Beaudoin supplied the additional helper.
The Rampage took a 3-2 lead during a 5-on-3 power play when Robitaille shot a one-timer from the right faceoff circle off a cross-ice pass from Beaudoin that went into the upper right corner of the net behind Gerber 6:07 into the second period. Ned Lukacevic provided the second assist.
Barons right wing Ben Ondrus was awarded a penalty shot at the 10:50 mark of the second period, however, he was unable to score on the one-on-one situation as the puck hit the right goal post.
San Antonio extended their lead to 4-2 as Byers and Beaudoin linked up with Kearns’ for the second time in the contest. Byers sent a centering feed from the right wing boards to a streaking Kearns who snapped a shot that rung the inside of the right post and bounced into the back of the net 11:40 into the second period.
Oklahoma City cut the Rampage lead to 4-3 after Greg Stewart passed to center Chris Vandevelde at the right wing boards where he proceeded to skate to the crease and backhanded a shot to the high glove side of Climie with a little less than two minutes remaining in the middle stanza.
After a scoreless third period, Oklahoma City head coach Todd Nelson pulled Gerber in favor of a sixth skater with 1:25 remaining in the contest, however, the Barons were unable to take advantage of the open net sealing the Rampage victory at 4-3.
Climie made 24 saves on 27 Barons shot attempts while Gerber turned aside 17 of 21 Rampage shot attempts.
The Rampage return to the ice with back-to-back home games this weekend. They will skate against the Manitoba Moose on Saturday night at 7 p.m. and then host the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday afternoon with a 4:30 p.m. puck drop at the AT&T Center.