SAN ANTONIO – Despite a better performance, the San Antonio Rampage continued their sluggish ways with a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Wolves (17-13-4) before 6,480 fans at the AT&T Center on Saturday night.
The loss is the second straight and third in the last four games for San Antonio, who played their second game of a three-game weekend set.
“I thought we were the better team tonight from the first to the third,” Rampage Head Coach Drew Bannister said. “We had two penalties and an unfortunate goal in the third period but other than that, I thought we dominated the game.”
After an embarrassing performance just 24 hours prior, the Rampage came out aggressive and it paid off five minutes in. Derrick Pouliot’s wrist shot from the left circle beat Chicago netminder Garret Sparks, putting San Antonio up 1-0. Chicago answered back five minutes later with Curtis McKenzie’s 13th goal of the season off a Rampage turnover, knotting the score up at one goal apiece going into the second period.
Chicago had two power plays in the first period but the Rampage penalty kill did not allow the Wolves to get a shot set up.
San Antonio played a much better middle stanza, outshooting the Wolves 19-7 and staying out of the penalty box. Jordan Nolan gave the Rampage the lead with his fifth goal of the season, banging home a Nolan Stevens shot attempt. Despite that, Chicago managed to tie the game at 17:05 as Gage Quinney banged home the puck past Adam Wilcox. The goal would be Quinney’s eighth of the season and make it a 2-2 contest going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
“I like the effort better than the last game,” Nolan said. “Penalties were killing us and if we can’t do that against a good hockey team. If you are looking for a positive, we had a better performance than the other night. We just need to stay out of the box.”
Chicago took the 3-2 lead thanks to a Rampage miscue. Jake Walman accidentally tapped a bouncing back into his own net, giving the Wolves’ Valentin Zykov credit for the goal. As a result, San Antonio went down a goal. Wilcox was pulled for the extra attacker but Chicago added an empty-net tally to seal the 4-2 win.
The Rampage killed off all five of Chicago’s power plays, just 24 hours after giving up three goals on the man advantage. The Rampage outshot the Wolves 35-24 for the game, including 19-7 in the second period.
“We were disappointed by our lack of effort last night,” Bannister said. “We had a team meeting this morning and had some small adjustments. The biggest adjustment was our guys were ready to play.”
The Rampage are now 13-16-9 (35 points) on the season and will return to the ice tomorrow afternoon when they welcome the Toronto Marlies (20-14-3) to the AT&T Center at 3 p.m.