The Rampage opened their 10th anniversary season with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Chicago Wolves in front of a record-breaking home opening crowd of 9,062 Saturday night at the AT&T Center.
The previous record was set on the night of the first home game in franchise history as 8,536 fans saw the Rampage take the ice for the first time in San Antonio on Nov. 3, 2002 against the Houston Aeros.
Forwards Bracken Kearns and Jonathan Hazen scored goals in regulation for the Rampage and goaltender Brian Foster did not allow a goal in the shootout as San Antonio edged Chicago.
Bracken Kearns opened the scoring with a goal just 27 seconds into the game making it the fastest Rampage goal to start the season. Center Tim Kennedy fed defenseman Nolan Yonkman with a pass at the top of the blueline, Yonkman then wristed a shot from the point that Kearns deflected past Wolves goalie Eddie Lack for a 1-0 San Antonio lead.
With 20 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Wolves center Kevin Doell evened the score at 1-1. Chicago forward Michael Davies started the play that led to the goal with a pass from the top of the right circle to Darren Haydar. Haydar’s shot from the left circle was stopped by Rampage goaltender Manny Legace but Doell was there to put home the rebound. His shot went through Legace’s legs and Doell had his first goal of the year.
Foster relieved Legace to start the second as Legace stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
Wolves left wing Darren Archibald broke the tie 11:12 into the second stanza. With Chicago on a power play, Haydar streaked into the Rampage zone and backhanded a pass to Archiblad in front of the net to Foster’s right. Archibald deflected the puck over Foster’s blocker and the Wolves gained a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Kevin Connauton was credited with the second assist on the play.
Forward Jonathan Hazen responded with his first professional goal in his AHL debut at the 16:36 mark of the second stanza. Hazen took a pass in the slot from Colby Robak and fired a snap shot that beat Lack high over the glove side to knot the game 2-2. Mark Cullen picked up a secondary assist on the play for his first point of the season.
After a scoreless third period and overtime, the teams headed to the shootout where A.J. Jenks and Hazen beat Lack and Foster denied all four Wolves’ shooters to give the Rampage their first two points of the season.
Lack made 31 saves on 33 Rampage shots while Foster stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced after coming in to start the second.
The Rampage will host the Oklahoma City Barons next Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center for the first KZEP $1 Drink Night of the season.