Following the Silver and Black scrimmage on Wednesday, the Rampage trimmed their roster by six players and followed suit with another three cuts on Thursday morning.
The team took the ice in one group on Thursday afternoon for the first time in training camp with 26 players suited up.
“When you can get everyone out on the ice at the same time, that’s when things start getting better really quick,” said Rampage head coach Peter Horachek. “I want to start seeing the camaraderie, and the bonding as the guys start to get to know each other.”
Skating in one session, opposed to split squads, allowed Horachek to be start formulating line and defensive pairings leading into the team’s preseason games on Saturday and Sunday against Oklahoma City and Texas.
“For me, getting to know the defensive pairings and getting to know your defensive partner helps tremendously,” said defenseman Zach Miskovic. “It helps getting some touches in different situations and knowing who might be around you.”
Miskovic also said the team is coming together off the ice, as well.
“When you’re in a split squad, you don’t really get to meet or interact with that other team that often,” he said. “It’s been nice even in the room to get to know some of the new guys on the team.”
The team worked on special teams for the first time on Thursday. After spending the last nine seasons as an assistant and associate coach with the NHL’s Nashville Predators, it should come as no surprise that Horachek plans to implement a similar power play to what Nashville ran in the past.
The power-play practice didn’t feature any penalty killers, as Horachek said he wanted the team to get comfortable moving the puck around with each other.
“We saw a few clips of what worked for Peter’s team in Nashville and I think we’re going to try and emulate that a little bit,” said forward Jon Matsumoto. “Drills are starting to flow a little more freely and we’re starting to get used to each other on the ice. I think we’re only going to escalate the intensity and efficiency of practices from here on out.”
With only one more practice leading into this weekend’s preseason games at Cedar Park Center, there’s still plenty for the team to learn and Wednesday practice ran nearly two hours. Horachek said been pleased with the work ethic of the group
“We just want to keep moving in the right direction,” Horachek said. “Every time we take the ice, we have to take something out of it. There has to be a positive and so far every day there has been.”
Matsumoto said the team is excited to finally square off against opponents who won’t be wearing the Silver and Black this season.
“We’ve been beating ourselves up here the past few days,” Matsumoto said. “It’ll be nice to take our aggression out on another team.”
Training Camp Updates:
Day 3, Wednesday, Sept. 25
Day 2, Tuesday, Sept. 24
Day 1, Monday, Sept. 23