After Milwaukee played catch up through the first two periods, San Antonio enjoyed the lead for most of the game but were unable to answer the Admirals’ fourth goal early in the final frame falling 4-3 to the Milwaukee Admirals at the Bradley Center Sunday evening.
The Rampage, playing in their third game in as many nights, took an early lead in which the Rampage have proven to be successful when tallying the first goal, maintaining an 8-2-1-0 record when doing so heading into today’s game.
Rampage center Kyle Turris ended his 16-game scoreless drought with his sixth goal of the season just one minute and 20 seconds after the first faceoff. Rampage assist leader Sean Sullivan carried the puck into the Admirals defensive zone and took a shot from the point that was deflected off the pads of Milwaukee netminder Mark Dekanich and landed in front of the net in which Turris was there to punch it in past Dekanich from the top left crease.
The Admirals responded seven minutes and 40 seconds later with a goal by Milwaukee center Wacey Rabbit who beat Rampage netminder Josh Tordjman five-hole with a shot from the left circle. Admirals right wing Ryan Maki and defenseman Mark Matheson were credited with the assists on Rabbit’s sixth goal of the season at the 9:00 mark of the opening frame.
The Rampage regained the lead at the 14:07 mark when San Antonio defenseman Shaun Heshka made a pass from the point to Rampage center Brett MacLean in the left corner. MacLean backhanded the puck to defenseman Jeff May who was stationed at the top right corner of the crease and was able to hammer it home for a 2-1 lead. May’s second goal of the season also marked the Rampage’s 21st power-play goal of the season which came on a Jonathan Blum hooking penalty at the 13:03 mark.
Milwaukee responded once again with a goal by right wing Andreas Thuresson with 2:18 left in the first period to even the score at 2-2. Admirals points leader Cal O’Reilly picked up his 22nd assist of the season when he carried the puck around the back of the net into the right corner in which he punched the puck out to Thuresson in the slot just inside the right faceoff circle to beat Tordjman high glove side.
Just over halfway through the second period, the Rampage recaptured the lead on a Milwaukee turnover in the Admirals defensive zone that allowed Rampage captain Jeff Hoggan to gain control of the puck and connect on a pass to Kevin Porter at the blueline. Porter then fired a shot from the top of the point through traffic in which Chad Kolarik got a piece of it and redirected the puck into the net for a 3-2 Rampage advantage.
However, the Admirals evened the score for the third time in the game at the 17:34 mark of the middle frame with a goal from Mike Santorelli. On his first shift since leaving the ice at the beginning of the period for taking a puck to the mouth, Santorelli took a shot from the left circle that was blocked by Tordjman. Santorelli was able to pick up his own rebound and beat Tordjman high stick side into the upper left corner of the net for his seventh goal of the season, assisted by Robert Dietrich.
The Admirals opened the third period with another Santorelli goal to give Milwaukee the lead for the first time in the game. Santorelli put the Admirals up 4-3 at the 2:27 mark when the puck was poked out of the left corner by Maki into the left faceoff circle where Santorelli spun around and fired the puck into the net past Tordjman and assure Milwaukee the victory.
The Rampage finished the weekend with a 2-1-0-0 record knocking off two Western Conference opponents on Friday (Grand Rapids) and Saturday (Rockford) and head into the Christmas break with a 11-15-3-1 record. The Rampage return to action on Dec. 26 with a trip to Houston in search of adding to their points total in the “Lone Star Faceoff” standings with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at Toyota Center.