Returning to action for the first time following the 2010 American Hockey League All-Star break, the San Antonio Rampage fell to the visiting Milwaukee Admirals by a 3-2 score, in a shootout, on Saturday night in front of 6,336 fans at the AT&T Center.
Hosting their 6th annual Salute to the Badges Night, the Rampage donned special uniforms to honor local firefighters and law enforcement officials that were auctioned off following the game, with proceeds benefitting the Alamo Area Fire and Police Memorial (AAFPM).
San Antonio defenseman Stu Bickel provided the Rampage with an early lead at the 2:01 mark of the first. After winning a faceoff in the left circle of Milwaukee’s zone, San Antonio center Gavin Morgan won the draw back to left wing Stefan Meyer. Meyer then deflected the puck back to Bickel on the right point, where the defenseman fired a low wrist shot under Milwaukee netminder Chet Pickard’s glove.
The Admirals tied the contest at the 9:08 mark of the second frame on a questionable power-play goal by defenseman Alex Sulzer, who was returned to Milwaukee earlier in the day by the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
After being struck in the helmet by a Milwaukee shot that disrupted the positioning of his protective head gear, Rampage netminder Josh Tordjman vacated the crease and attempted to draw a whistle by tossing his helmet to the ice. Simultaneously, Milwaukee right wing Hugh Jessiman nabbed the loose puck near the right faceoff dot and sent a pass back to defenseman Alexander Sulzer on the left point. Sulzer then fired a high slap shot into the upper right corner of the vacated net. Nonetheless the goal stood and the game was tied a 1-1.
Seeking to reclaim the lead early in the final frame, the Rampage received their wish at the 3:16 mark of the third when Meyer worked a give-and-go with San Antonio right wing Matt Watkins in the right corner of the Milwaukee zone before skating behind the net and connecting on a one-timer with Morgan in the slot to provide San Antonio with a 2-1 lead.
With 2:12 remaining in regulation, Milwaukee center Wacey Rabbit powered his way through two San Antonio defensemen inside the Rampage blueline before beating Tordjman with a slap shot off the inside of the right post to tie the contest at two goals apiece and force overtime.
In overtime, Rampage center Kyle Turris was robbed by Pickard on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle as San Antonio outshot Milwaukee by a 3-2 margin in a scoreless extra session that forced San Antonio’s third shootout of the season.
In the eight-round shootout, Milwaukee edged San Antonio, 4-3, with Admirals center Colin Wilson netting the shootout winner.
Tordjman turned away 38 of 40 Milwaukee shots in the loss, while Pickard stopped 28 of 30 San Antonio shots in the Admirals’ victory.
San Antonio and Milwaukee will reconvene for a 3 p.m. matchup on Sunday at the AT&T Center.