Playing their first game of the second half of the 2009-10 season, a late Chicago goal doomed the Rampage for the second consecutive night as the Wolves edged San Antonio 2-1 in front of a crowd of 8,278 at the AT&T Center on Friday night.
After completing their first 40 games of the season, San Antonio has 39 standings points and a record of 17-19-3-2, eight points better than last season when San Antonio was 15-24-0-1 at the midway point.
On Friday, for the second night in a row, San Antonio raced out to an early lead as left wing Stefan Meyer found the scoreboard at the 3:40 mark of the first.
After pinching and winning a race to a loose puck near the left faceoff dot in the Chicago zone, Rampage defenseman Sean Sullivan found Meyer at the top of the right faceoff circle, where the left wing one-timed the pass low to Wolves goalie Peter Mannino’s glove side to provide San Antonio with a 1-0 lead.
The Wolves knotted the game at one goal apiece on left wing Brett Sterling’s 22nd goal of the season at the 14:37 mark of the second. After a Rampage player was tripped while attempting a shot in the Chicago zone, referee Zac Wiebe let play continue and Sterling raced all the way down the left side of the ice before beating Tordjman high to the glove side.
The contest remained tied until Wolves right wing Tim Stapleton scored their go-ahead goal for Chicago at the 11:57 mark of the third. Driving into the left side of the Rampage zone with speed, Wolves forward Joey Crabb sent a pass across the mouth of the crease and connected on a one-timer with Stapleton on the right post to provide Chicago with a 2-1 lead with 8:03 remaining in regulation.
Stapleton’s goal proved to be the game-winner as Wolves netminder Mannino turned away all 10 of San Antonio’s chances in the final frame.
Tordjman made 38 saves on 40 Chicago shots for the loss, while Mannino turned away 32 of 33 San Antonio shots for the victory.
The Rampage, 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games, will continue their homestand on Sunday when they host the Toronto Marlies for a 3 p.m. matchup at the AT&T Center.