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Rampage right wing Matt Watkins scored the game winner in overtime to give San Antonio a 3-2 edge over the Peoria Rivermen on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,346 fans at the AT&T Center. The Rampage have racked up 85 points on the year with a 39-30-4-3 record.
Watkins extended his point streak to three games while both Eric Neilson and Rylan Galiardi tallied assists giving them each a two-game point streak.
San Antonio was the first to jump on the scoreboard as Garrett Stafford netted a power-play goal 10:25 after the initial puck drop. Alex Picard and Matt Beaudoin assisted on Stafford’s shot from the left point that went through traffic and bounced over Rivermen goaltender Jake Allen’s left shoulder and trickled past the goal line.
The Rampage extended their lead to 2-0 after Allen deflected Galiardi’s shot into the slot where center David Brine picked up the loose puck and shot it low glove side of Allen 13:21 into the first period. Neilson supplied the additional helper.
After a scoreless second period, the Rivermen cut the deficit in half to 2-1 when former Rampage player David Spina passed to center Anthony Nigro in the right faceoff circle where he snapped a shot that went just underneath the crossbar behind San Antonio netminder Matt Climie at the 4:40 mark of the third period.
Peoria evened the score to 2-2 after Climie made a kick save on Graham Mink’s shot sending the puck into the slot where center Nicholas Drazenovic was streaking down and fired a shot to the high stick side of Climie 10:54 into the final frame.
Neither team was able to light the lamp before the end of regulation sending the game into overtime for the second consecutive night.
With 31 seconds remaining in the extra frame, Allen deflected Nolan Yonkman’s shot from the left goal line into the slot where Watkins was able to flip the puck over the sprawled out goaltender for the 3-2 victory. Randy Robitaille provided the second assist.
Climie finished the night with 27 saves on 29 Rivermen shot attempts while Allen stopped 33 of 36 Rampage shots on net.
The Rampage return to the ice on Tuesday night when they drop the puck at 7 p.m. against the Rockford IceHogs at the AT&T Center.