Returning home to the AT&T Center on Friday evening following a 14-game, 29-day Rodeo road trip, the San Antonio Rampage shut out the visiting Manitoba Moose by a score of 4-0.
Scoring goals in all three periods and receiving stellar goaltending from netminder Justin Pogge, who was presented with the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Award (period ending Feb. 14) prior to the puck drop tonight, the Rampage provided the 6,725 fans in attendance with plenty to cheer about.
San Antonio (26-24-3-6) entered Wednesday’s game 1-0-0-1 this season against a Manitoba club that entered the contest 11-8-3-0 against West Division teams.
The Rampage jumped to an early lead on a goal by center Kevin Porter at the 3:49 mark of the first. Gaining possession of the puck on the left half wall, Rampage defenseman Shaun Heshka sent a pass to right wing David Spina on the right faceoff dot. Holding the puck for a second to draw the attention of Moose netminder Cory Schneider, Spina then left a pass for Porter between the hash marks, where the center one-timed the puck into the upper right corner of the Manitoba net to provide San Antonio with a 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes and 42 seconds later San Antonio right wing Mikkel Boedker added to the Rampage lead with his ninth goal of the season. After intercepting a pass by a Moose defenseman at the Manitoba blueline, Spina sent a saucer pass to Boedker near center ice. Boedker then raced into the Manitoba zone with two Moose backcheckers on his heels before deking Schneider to the left and finishing on a backhand low to the right side.
Boedker’s goal represented his 12th point (4g, 8a) in his last 10 games.
Near the midway point of the second frame, San Antonio, which entered the contest with the top-ranked home power play in the American Hockey League, received a man-advantage goal from center Kyle Turris. During a Manitoba line change, Pogge controlled the puck in his crease before firing a pass high off the right side boards near center ice to Turris at the Moose blueline. The Rampage center then skated down to the bottom of the right faceoff circle in the Manitoba zone before beating Schneider high to the glove side from an extremely tight angle.
Turris’ tally marked his fourth goal in his last five games.
Entering the final frame with a 3-0 lead, San Antonio was 8-0-1-0 this season when leading after two periods at home.
Perpetuating their aggressive play, the Rampage added to their lead at the 2:51 mark of the third on a goal by veteran center Gavin Morgan. Breaking up a Moose clearing attempt in the high slot of the Manitoba zone, San Antonio rookie forward Andrew Orpik found Morgan cutting from right to left across the slot before the centerman beat Schneider through the five hole to increase the Rampage lead to 4-0.
Pogge turned away all 24 of the Manitoba shots he faced in the contest for his 11th victory and first shutout of the 2009-10 campaign, while Schneider allowed four goals on 31 San Antonio shots in the loss.
San Antonio was 1-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in the game.
After tonight’s game, the Rampage will play 14 of their final 21 games at home.
The Rampage and Moose will reconvene on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center when San Antonio hosts its 7th annual Military Appreciation Night in which all military members will receive 25 percent off tickets with a valid military ID.