Hello San Antonio! It’s been awhile. The Admirals faced the Rampage on the road earlier this season in a game that ended with a 4-3 shootout defeat for the Ads. That was over a month ago and just as the Rampage were under new management.
So, what have they been up to since that game?
San Antonio sits in the basement of the AHL’s West Division of the Western Conference with a record of 11-16-0-2 (24 pts). The team has played five more games than the Ads but have less wins and points. That may go down to the fact that, through 29 games, San Antonio have allowed 89 goals against 76 goals scored. If it weren’t for the penalty-minute happy affair between the Ads and Griffins last weekend – the Rampage might well have more than 100+ penalty minutes than the Ads.
It’s been tough sledding all season long for the Rampage who just so happen to play in one of the highest scoring divisions of the AHL. Ever since their first encounter with the Ads they played in sixteen games sporting a 5-10-0-1 record. Of the entire season that they’ve played in – there has only been one shutout and it was the Rampage on the receiving end of a 6-0 thrashing by the Texas Stars.
The Rampage’s top scorer is Vincent Trocheck. The rookie center leads the team with 11 goals and 22 points. That total puts Trocheck fifth amongst AHL rookies this season in scoring. While his numbers to start the season were consistent – he has tailed off in the month of December. In October, he has 5 goals and 4 assists. In November, 4 goals and 5 assists. Through eight games in December he has 2 goals and 2 assists – only tallying an assist in his last six games.
Another note on the Rampage’s struggles could go down to the revolving door in goal for the team. In twenty-nine games this season they have three goalies who have played eight-or-more games in net. Compare that to the Ads who only have one. The top man in net for the Rampage, as far as minutes and the numbers back up, has been Jacob Markstrom: 4-5-0-1 record, 2.46 GAA, and a 0.924 SV%. The major problem, Markstrom has lost his last four decisions. This has contributed to the likes of Rob Madore and Michael Houser playing games since Markstrom’s last start – last Tuesday – a 2-1 loss in Charlotte. No clue who gets the net for this game. And it is that level of uncertainty that can lead to a run like the one San Antonio is battling through.
As for the Ads, they’ll be looking to get the foul taste of Grand Rapids out of their mouth with this home game that kicks off the first of a three-in-three this weekend. The team, which along with the Portland Pirates have played an AHL lowest twenty-four games so far, enters Friday with a 12-7-4-1 record good enough for 29 points and third place in the Midwest Division. While their counterpart in tonight’s match up makes this looks fine – in the Ads last ten games they have gone 4-4-2-0. It’s been almost a week since the Ads played a game. In that time, much has taken place. Perhaps best summed up by Magnus Hellberg’s quick two-days of traveling between Milwaukee, Chicago, Nashville, and Milwaukee.
How Hellberg found out about his latest NHL call up:
Hellberg on the back-and-forth travel and time in Nashville:
Hellberg on maintaining focus against all the travel:
I also caught up yesterday morning with Joonas Rask. Despite an ugly weekend in Grand Rapids, perhaps the brightest spot of the two-games played against the Griffins came when Rask netted his first goal of the season… and first career fight for good measure.
Joonas Rask on his eventful time against Grand Rapids:
Rask on fighting:
Rask feeling less pressure after his first goal of the season:
Another major news story that developed fast in the midweek was the addition of Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg. The nineteen-year old Swede is returning back to game action after missing a month worth of hockey due to a concussion.
Forsberg’s plan: Treat this weekend with serious purpose, get any and all rust off, and hope that his performance and fitness levels through the Ads three-in-three this weekend are enough to propel him back to his native Sweden for Chirstmas – and the 2014 IIHF World Juniors. It sounds like the opportunity is there for Forsberg to represent Team Sweden at home for the tournament provided he displays quality on the ice without any injury setback. In just four games with the Ads, Forsberg produced 1 goal and 4 assists in his first stint in the AHL. That included a game against these very same San Antonio Rampage where he scored an assist, fired four shots on goal, and failed to convert in the shootout.
Should Forsberg play on the same line as last time he would be on the ice with Simon Moser on the opposite wing and anchored by Colton Sissons down the middle. Moser has missed the team’s last three games due to an upper body injury but did return to full-contact practice with the team yesterday after not having made the trip with the Ads to Grand Rapids. I will provide an update on his condition closer to game time on Twitterland.
UPDATE: Pre-game skate, Moser is on the ice – while Budish, Cehlin, and Liambas are absent. Liambas was hurt in the midweek – not sure if it relates to some of the big hits he took in Grand Rapids.
UPDATE: Moser in. Budish, Cehlin, Liambas, and Roussel out.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? With yet another lengthy gap between games – will it hurt or help the team in game one of this three-in-three? How is your outlook on the weekend series between San Antonio, Rockford, and Chicago?