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) -- St. Louis Blues highly-touted goaltending prospect, Ville Husso, stopped all 28 Grand Rapids shots as the Rampage opened their 18th season with a 4-0 win over the Griffins at the AT&T Center.
Husso was tested early and often as the Rampage’s Joey LaLeggia went off for hooking just 3:18 into the game, and the San Antonio masked man stopped two point blank Grand Rapids attempts to keep the Griffins off the board.
“I just reacted for those shots,” said the former AHL goaltender of the week last season here in San Antonio. “I just need to be ready and make the saves.”
Husso, a fan favorite in San Antonio after posting four shutouts last season, seemed to accept his chance to play in the Alamo City again this season. “It’s nice to be back. It was easy to come this year. I know some guys from the team (last year) and management. It’s a good opportunity to come and play some games and have fun here. I know I can play some in the NHL, but I need to play a lot of games and learn the game and how the game is played.”
Former Rampage center as well as Blues farmhand Wade Megan was victimized five times by Husso’s play, including two point blank first period shots. But ironically, it was Megan who scored at the other end of the ice, when a clearing pass from the corner accidentally went in the net off his skate.
“It was a little bit of a lucky bounce” said Rampage coach Drew Bannister on the first San Antonio marker of the season as the puck eluded a surprised Griffins goaltender, Harri Sateri at 16:12 of the first period. The last Rampage player to touch the puck was Trevor Smith, who was credited with the goal.
The Rampage added a power play goal in the second period via LaLeggia’s blast from the left point, while Adam Musil and Ryan Olsen added two more in the third.
Just moments before LaLeggia bent the twine, veteran Brian Flynn, who skated for the Texas Stars last season and has six seasons in the NHL with Buffalo and Montreal under his belt, hit the right post on the power play. Moments later, Jake Walman and Flynn were credited with assists on LaLeggia’s goal.
Just 1:40 into the third period, Connor Bleakley made a sudden gutsy cut into the crease from right to left only to be denied by a sprawling Sateri but Adam Musil was there to dig the puck out of Sateri’s skate to bang in the loose puck.
After Husso once again stopped Megan on a point-blank attempt 12 minutes into the period, Olsen converted on a Grand Rapids turnover in their own end, cut in from the left boards and went backhand over Sateri’s stick for a 4-0 edge at 12:29, the second unassisted Rampage goal of the game.
“It was a strong performance from us,” added Bannister. “I like how we limited their chances.”
Bannister also enjoyed the home cooking from the fans. “We want to make sure we compete every night and put a good product on the ice for the fans, which is what they deserve. Tonight was an exciting game for the fans, who were a big part of it – good atmosphere out there so overall we’re happy with the win.”
The Rampage will next skate Tuesday night against the visiting Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.