The San Antonio Rampage did not have success against the Utica Comets in 2014. Now the calendar has turned to 2015 and it is time for a fresh start. The Silver and Black started early and did not let up in a rout of the Vancover Canucks affiliate to ring in the new year.
San Antonio opened the new year with an 8-4 win over Utica (21-6-5-0, 47 points) in front of 3,835 fans inside the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Thursday afternoon. The victory would snap a two-game losing streak on the road and the Rampage tied a franchise record for most goals in a game.
The Rampage got things started early as Shane O’Brien fired a slap shot past Comets goaltender Jacob Markstrom at 17:35 of the opening period. Brett Olson and Bobby Butler assisted on O’Brien’s sixth goal of the season that put San Antonio ahead 1-0 going into the second period.
The second period saw a total of nine goal scored, including six from the Silver and Black. San Antonio took a two goal lead when Connor Brickley netted a power play goal at 4:07 of the second stanza, but just over a minute later Cal O’Reilly put the puck past Rampage goaltender Dan Ellis to make it a one goal game again.
Garrett Wilson gave San Antonio a two goal lead again, but the Comets got a short-handed goal from Alex Biega to cut the score to one once again. Jesse Blacker’s power play tally at 10:45 gave the Rampage a 4-2 lead, but Utica answered back with a goal from Brandon DeFazio to cut the lead to one.
San Antonio got goals from Bobby Butler, Drew Shore and Andrew Yogan to put the Silver and Black ahead 7-3 going into the third and final period of play. Markstrom’s day would end after giving up five goals on 17 shots as backup Joacim Eriksson would enter the game.
In the third period, Utica got a goal from Nicklas Jensen at 7:15 of the final frame, but Alex Petrovic answered back seven minutes later to put the Rampage in front 8-4 to complete the scoring and seal the win. The eighth goal set a new franchise record for goals scored on the road.
Ellis made 28 saves on 32 Comets shots. Markstrom stopped 12 of 17 shots he faced in 32 minutes of work and Eriksson made 10 saves on 13 shots he faced in 27 minutes of action.
San Antonio finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play, while Utica was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Rampage are now 18-10-3-0 (39 points) on the season and will return to the ice tomorrow night (Friday) when they travel north of the border to face the Toronto Marlies at 6 p.m. inside the Ricoh Coliseum.