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San Antonio Rampage goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris stopped 21 shots in a 5-0 shutout victory over the Abbotsford Heat at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre on Friday night. Grumet-Morris became the second Rampage netminder to record a shutout in his season debut with the first being Alex Auld on Nov. 24, 2007 in a 7-0 San Antonio win over Milwaukee.
San Antonio defenseman Nolan Yonkman scored the game’s first goal and his first goal of the season at 5:21 of the opening period to give the Rampage a 1-0 lead. Yonkman took a pass from forward Bracken Kearns at the blue line and stepped into a shot that beat Abbotsford goalie Leland Irving over his blocker.
The Rampage advantage was extended to 2-0 on a power-play goal from Kearns nearly 10 minutes later. Defenseman Colby Robak began the play when he received a feed from center Mark Cullen and ripped a shot from the blue line that went wide. The puck caromed off the boards and to the front of the net where Kearns jumped on the rebound and backhanded it over Leland’s blocker for his seventh goal of the year.
Center Brian Sutherby made it 3-0 with a goal 4:49 into the second period. After defenseman Tyson Strachan’s shooting attempt was knocked down in front of the net, Sutherby fired a shot on goal that went off of Irving’s glove and in. Robak also assisted on Sutherby’s first score of the season.
One minute after Sutherby’s goal, right wing Bill Thomas picked up his seventh point in his last four games when he converted on a two-on-one chance with Cullen to give the Rampage a 4-0 lead. Cullen forced a turnover at the San Antonio blue line and sped into the Heat zone before dishing the puck to Thomas, who fired it into an open right side of the net for the goal. The secondary assist on the play went to Kearns, who recorded his third point of the night. The Heat’s Joni Ortio replaced Irving in the Abbotsford goal following the Thomas marker.
Left wing Evan Barlow added a goal at the 15:57 mark of the middle frame and boosted the San Antonio edge to 5-0. Barlow’s second tally of the year came off of a one-timer from defenseman Keith Seabrook at the bottom the right circle that beat Ortio glove-side. Strachan notched the secondary assist on the score for his second helper of the night.
Dov Grumet-Morris made 21 saves for the Rampage’s first shutout of the season while Irving made 19 saves on 23 Rampage shots and Ortio turned aside seven of the eight shots he faced in the Heat loss.
The Rampage (8-11-0-0) finish off a two-game set against the Heat on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (CST) at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.