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Rampage Report: San Antonio breaks losing streak

As the Blues do, so do the Rampage.

We have an on-site correspondent with the Rampage now, but he’s having issues logging in. When he’s able to log-in, these home recaps will switch over to being published by Tony, not me.

— by Tony Uminski

(San Antonio) – The only good thing about the Rampage’s eight-game losing streak is its now past tense.

The Rampage power play found its legs, scoring all three San Antonio goals as they stunned the high-flying Chicago Wolves, 3-2 in front of 3,913 at the AT&T Center Sunday afternoon.

Mackenzie MacEachern, Trevor Smith and Klim Kostin found the back of the net, while Jordan Binnington stopped the high scoring Wolves with 25 saves.

“It came down to compete (level) and we started playing desperate,” said Binnington, who played for the Wolves for three seasons. “Hopefully we keep going in the right direction.”

At first, things looked like the same-ole-same-ole for the Rampage, when Chicago’s Reid Duke was sent off for a double slashing call. But the Rampage power play, dead last coming into the contest with three for 35 (and two of those came in one game last week), couldn’t muster any cohesion, going 3:50 without a shot.

After a scoreless first period, the Rampage have only four goals in 10 first periods all season, the power play clicked when MacEachern scored from a scramble in front. The former third-rounder snagged the loose puck with his back to the goal, whirled around while floating to his left, and beat Wolves goalie Max Legace at 6:34. Joey LaLeggia and Robbie Fabbri assisted.

The Rampage upped their lead to 2-0 when Smith scored from the slot during a major penalty on Chicago madman Alex Gallant, who doubled his PIM account with 17 minutes, including a game misconduct on a bevy of sucker punches on Carl Gunnarsson.

Smith was stationed between the circles when Brian Flynn zipped him a pass from the left goal line extended, and Smith ripped a wrister past Legace at 11:03. Chris Butler also assisted.

“We drew penalties, which we haven’t done a great job of that this year. I just wanted to see if I could free someone. Got it to Flynner, who’s a very good passer (five assists), sure enough he finds Tervor in the slot.”

Chicago (LVK) coach Rocky Thompson pulled off an unusual ploy to try and get his club going, pulling Legace while on a power-play early in the third period and it worked! Chris McKenzie, an old Rampage foe when skating for the Texas Stars, tipped in a shot from the point to halve the Rampage edge.

But less than four minutes later, Kostin stationed himself in front and re-directed a shot from the left circle down low from Mitch Reinke as the puck went between Kostin’s legs, hit the shaft of his stick and rolled through Legace’s pads and slowly crossed the goal line at 10:02 for the third Rampage goal with the extra skater.

“I made about a 10-foot pass which anyone in the room can do,” said the Rampage captain with a smile on the Kostin tip.

“It was good for our power play to click, we’ve had some chances the last couple of games, haven’t been able to capitalize. It probably cost us a few games. We done a better job when we get in the zone, everybody is getting into their spots. We’re kinda learning where everyone is gonna be so we can make quicker plays.”

Chicago got back in the game with a shorthanded goal from Gage Quinney, but Binnington stood tall in goal, as the Wolves outshot San Antonio 14-2 in the final 20 minutes. With Legace on the bench, Binnington remained cool, stopping point blank shots with 50, 28 and 12 seconds left in the game.

“I don’t mind that. It keeps it interesting. We battled right to the end. The boys were tired. We lost a defenseman for the third period. We’re happy when the buzzer went. We got the win.”

Binnington, who won almost half of his 100 pro games from when Chicago was the Blues top farm team, made some exceptional stops to keep the Wolves at bay in the second period, especially on a 2-on-1 with 3:30 left in the middle session.

“Butler was playing D and he was playing it aggressively, which is good and made the guy make a decision. Which made it easier for me to read off of it. Luckily I got over there off the pad.”

The Rampage (2-8-0-0) now hit the road for four games in San Jose (SJ), Stockton (CAL), Bakersfield (EDM) and Texas (DAL) before their next home game on Sunday, Nov. 11 against the Stars.

The Page Page – Samuel Blais played a strong, aggressive game. Made a power move off a partial break under four minutes into the game from the right boards to top of crease, only to have the puck find Legace’s pads…Gunnarsson, here to rehab his knee, found himself in the middle of a disagreement between teammate Adam Musil and McKenzie when out of nowhere Gallant belted the big Swede right in the chops with one strong jab and followed it up with two more shots as Gunner fell to the ice.

There was no official report on Gunnarsson’s condition, but after the game, Butler said, “I’m not sure why he would up in the middle of that. I think he’s gonna be ok, I hope for his sake he comes out of this unscathed.”

Gallant got a major for fighting, and a game misconduct and the veteran rabble-rouser should be in line for a brief vacation compliments of commissioner David Andrews’ office.

Quote of the night from Chris Butler on Klim Kostin:

“Klim’s very young,” Butler hesitated at first. “A lot of people don’t realize it’s his second year of professional hockey. 19 years old. I look back at where I was at 19 years old and I wasn’t even close to playing professional hockey. People get excited, obviously, about him being a first round pick, but its gonna take some time for him. Even before last year, Klim played only a handful of games in his draft year, so he’s still getting through playing a lot of hockey. Last year was a frustrating year for him. He trended into the right direction at the end of the year. I think these last couple of games, it was nice kinda having some management here, gets some eyes on him, maybe give him a little kick in the pants, kinda let him know he needs to play more of a north-south game. He obviously has tremendous skill, some nights he tries to make something out of nothing. He needs to realize you’re not gonna score a goal every single shift. Sometimes it’s just setting up your linemate behind you in the right spot. Dumping the puck in so they (opponent) have to come 200 feet and your guy can set up for the forecheck.”