Squandering two-goal leads on two separate occasions, the San Antonio Rampage fell to the Chicago Wolves, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Returning to Chicago for the second time in five days, the Rampage (24-24-3-6) entered Sunday’s game seeking revenge for the 3-2 loss they suffered to the Wolves on Wednesday.
The Rampage opened the scoring at the 5:54 mark of the first period on center Kyle Turris’ 13th goal of the season. Receiving a pass from right wing Chad Kolarik on the right boards just inside the Wolves blueline, the right-handed Turris skated down to the right faceoff dot before beating Chicago netminder Peter Mannino high to the glove side to provide San Antonio with a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes and 55 seconds later, defensemen Stu Bickel added to the Rampage lead when he intercepted a clearing attempt on the right point and beat Mannino on a low wrist shot. Bickel’s unassisted tally was his second goal of the 2009-10 campaign.
Chicago answered at 12:18 of the first on a goal by blueliner Mike Vernace. Controlling the puck at the top of the left faceoff circle, Wolves right wing Joey Crabb found a pinching Vernace on the back door, where the defenseman beat Rampage goalie Justin Pogge high to the glove side.
San Antonio regained their two-goal lead at the 14:43 mark of the third with a power-play goal by center Kevin Porter. Maintaining control of the puck in the left corner of the Chicago zone, Turris sent a pass behind the Wolves net to Porter in the right corner. Porter then skated to the bottom of the right faceoff circle before firing a shot off Mannino’s skate and into the Chicago goal to increase the Rampage lead to 3-1.
With five seconds remaining in the first and Chicago working on the power-play, Wolves defenseman Paul Postma received a pass on the right point and beat Pogge with a waist-high slap shot to the stick side to close the deficit to 3-2 heading to the first intermission.
Early in the second period, at the 2:01 mark of the period, San Antonio took a 4-2 lead on right wing Chad Kolarik’s 17th goal of the season. Holding the puck behind the Chicago net, Kolarik found left wing Brett MacLean on the left half wall before MacLean fired a shot off Mannino’s leg pads. Curling out in front of the crease, Kolarik gathered the rebound and beat the Wolves netminder low inside the left post.
Following the goal, Chicago head coach Don Lever pulled Mannino and replaced him with goaltender Drew MacIntyre.
For the second consecutive period, Chicago scored with less than a minute remaining in the frame as Chicago center Jason Krog found forward Johnny Pohl in the high slot, where Pohl one-timed a slap shot past Pogge at 19:40 to decrease the Rampage lead to 4-3 heading to the third.
Forty-three seconds into the final frame, Postma tied the game at 4-4 when the defenseman fired a shot from the right point that deflected off Pogge’s stick and into the San Antonio net.
Chicago took a 5-4 lead at the 4:54 mark of the third on a goal by center Kevin Doell. Following a faceoff in the right side of the Rampage zone, as a result of San Antonio being whistled for icing, Wolves right wing Anthony Stewart beat a Rampage blueliner to a loose puck in the right corner before curling above the right faceoff circle and firing a shot off Pogge, with Doell waiting in front to lift the rebound above Pogge’s glove.
One minute and 32 seconds later Chicago left wing Brett Sterling increased the Wolves lead to 6-4 with his 33rd goal of the season. Gaining control of the puck near the top of the right faceoff circle, Postma sent a pass to Krog at the top of the left faceoff circle, where the center fired a shot that was redirected in front by Sterling.
At the 14:53 mark of the third Postma earned a hat trick when he beat Pogge low to the stick side on a slap shot from the right point to seal a 7-4 victory.
Pogge made 30 saves on 37 Chicago shots in the loss, while Mannino and MacIntyre combined to stop 31 of 35 San Antonio shots for the victory.
San Antonio was 1-for-2 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill in the contest.
The Rampage will complete their Rodeo road trip on Wednesday when they travel to Grand Rapids to take on the Griffins in a 6 p.m. EST matchup at Van Andel Arena.