Rampage end 13-game home loss streak

Patrick Martinez

The Rampage’s 13-game home losing streak came to an end this weekend with a pair of wins at the AT&T Center.
Following nine losses in the last 11 games, the San Antonio Rampage (18-18-7-0) may have gained some confidence by dispatching the Bakersfield Condors (16-16-2-2) in consecutive routs with scores of 6-1 and 5-2.
On Friday, the Rampage capitalized on many scoring opportunities in a 6-1 victory over the Condors. The six-goal night, a Rampage season high, ended a two-month, 13-game home losing streak.
Left wing Reid Petryk scored two goals to earn the First Star of the Game. Center Colin Smith and defensemen Maxim Noreau also had two assists each.
After a scoreless first period, San Antonio scored on a power play to take a 1-0 lead 7:23 into the second. Finnish rookie forward Mikko Rantanen’s wraparound shot was scooped up by Smith, who passed to winger Dennis Everberg for the goal.
Fellow winger Alex Belzile notched his second goal of the season late in the period, giving San Antonio a 2-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
The third period was flooded with scoring. Halfway through the final period, left wing Garrett Thompson pushed the lead to three with a shot from the left circle.
Tallies from wingers Reid Petryk and Michael Schumacher put the game out of reach for the Condors, whose lone goal was scored by defenseman Joey LaLeggia.
The Rampage’s four goals in the third period tied their season-high for the most in a single period.
On Saturday, Rantanen treated fans to his first hat trick on North American soil.
The first period started out lax and kept the same mood throughout until a brush with intensity glimmered as a hard foul turned violent. Rampage winger Patrick Bordeleau was given a five-minute major for a hit behind the Bakersfield net.
With 6:10 left in the first, Condors center Nick Drazenovic scored first by beating Rampage goalie Roman Will on a breakaway. The Rampage failed to capitalize on a power play and the Condors led by one at the end of the period.
A goal from Rampage defenseman Maxim Noreau tied the game at one apiece 14:09 into the second frame.
Just over two minutes later, Rantanen put the Rampage up 2-1, swinging the momentum San Antonio’s way to end the second.
“The first two periods were pretty tough,” said Rantanen. “But we played better and got the win.”
The last period ended with a fury of goals. With 7:41 left in the game, Rantanen stole the puck from Condors goaltender Laurent Brossoit and buried it as Brossoit struggled to get back to his crease.
Two minutes later, a Rantanen backhander went top-shelf to complete the natural hat trick and extend the Rampage lead to three.
Less than a minute later, the Condors struck back with their second goal of the night – scored by center Jujhar Khaira – to cut the Rampage lead to two.
An empty-net goal by Colin Smith with 2:25 left sealed the game for the Rampage. The goal gave Smith his fourth point in the two games against Bakersfield.
Rantanen’s three goals earned him the First Star honor on Saturday.
“(Rantanen) does everything so well,” said Chynoweth. “You get a guy like that in your lineup…he makes the people around him better. It’s good to see him get rewarded like that tonight.”
After recording an assist on Sunday, Rantanen boasts an eight-game points streak, dating back to Dec. 13, during which he has recorded five goals and five assists.
The Rampage lost the last game of their three-in-three to the rival Texas Stars on Sunday, Jan. 24. The team has three more home games before they hit the road again on Saturday, Feb. 6, when they travel to Cedar Park to play the Texas Stars.