Jordan Kyrou tied the Rampage record for longest team scoring streak and Mackenzie MacEachern scored the other two San Antonio markers as the Rampage stopped the Manitoba Moose, 3-1. The Rampage improved to 16-17-1 on the year with their franchise record-tying seventh straight home win. Their 13th win in friendly confines of the AT&T Center is the most in the AHL.
The Rampage dominated from the drop of the puck, outshooting Manitoba at one stretch 20-2, with the Moose getting its first shot over six minutes into the contest.
“I like the way we played in the first period,” said Rampage head coach Drew Bannister. “We set the tone early, we did a great job of limiting their attack.”
MacEachern opened the scoring on a beautiful bang-bang, give-and-go when the former Blues third-round pick traded passes on the rush with defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon, with MacEachern zipping the puck past Moose goaltender Eric Comrie at 9:34. It was Wotherspoon’s fifth assist in his last three games. Austin Poganski set the stage for the successful play by pushing the rush up ice and dropping the puck off to the trailer MacEachern, who entered the zone with Wotherspoon and crossed the puck back and forth in the zone.
“It’s awesome, getting the first multi-goal game of my career,” said the Michigan native. “But it’s also good to help the team get a win, that’s the most important thing.”
Big Mac scored his second of the night and sixth of the season from in close at the top of the crease, sneaking in a quick pass from the end board by Ryan Olsen at 4:21.
“Poges (Austin Poganski) used his speed, threw it to the middle, (I) kinda found the puck in the scrum and was lucky enough to put it in the net,” he said.
The helper was Olsen’s 100th pro point in his career, which, ironically, includes two seasons with the Moose after being drafted by Winnipeg in the sixth round.
With the score 2-0, San Antonio’s Bobby MacIntyre was hauled down by Manitoba’s Cameron Schilling on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot at 9:46 of the third period. Comrie made the save on MacIntyre’s attempt as the Rampage winger went from right to left and let the shot go in tight near the top of the crease.
Manitoba finally scored against Jordan Binnington with 2:06 left in regulation when Jansen Harkens scored on a loose puck in the crease. The Rampage netminder, second in the AHL in goals-against average, shutout the Moose on Nov. 13.
But Kyrou’s empty-netter took care of any concerns of a Moose comeback. The goal marked the 12th straight game Kyrou has scored a goal or an assist for a total of 20 points in the streak, which ties Yannick Lehoux for the franchise record.
“Anytime you get to have your name in a record anywhere it’s unbelievable, so it’s pretty cool,” said the AHL Rookie of the Month for December, who waited with 1:17 to spare to score on his fourth shot of the game.
On getting the league award on the same day as the franchise record, Kyrou was also very appreciative. “It’s a true honor. The team has been playing really well lately. With team, success comes individual success.”
The Rampage can break their franchise mark of seven straight home wins next Wednesday against Iowa. This club shares the mark with the 2003-04 team and also the 2015-16 season club.
San Antonio takes off for two games this weekend in Chicago to try and gain some ground on the Central Division’s second place club, who are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games after losing to Iowa Wednesday night at home. One of the three Rampage road wins came in Chicago in November (3-11-1).
RAMPAGERS DOMINATE MONTHLY AWARDS: Besides Kyrou grabbing the AHL top rookie award for December, former Rampage goaltender Jeremy Smith also shined for Bridgeport and was named the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month. Smith was 6-1-0 during December for the Sound Tigers, stopping 203 of 218 shots along the way. Smith played 17 games for the Rampage during the 2016-17 season, but was injured early in the campaign and then earned a call-up for his first and only NHL experience — a 10-game stint with the Avalanche.
RAMPAGE LEAD THE LEAGUE IN ANOTHER CATEGORY: With Jordan Nolan’s return to San Antonio from St. Louis, the Rampage now lead the league in Jordans! Goaltender Binnington and super rookie Kyrou round out the Rampage Jordan lineup.
THINGS TO DO WHILE WATCHING THE ZAMBONI–WHAT’S IN A NAME, PART 2: Speaking of Smith, he was one of six players with that surname to play with the Rampage over the years, including this year’s Trevor Smith, who played in his 758th pro game Wednesday night, 25 of those in the NHL with Tampa Bay, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Nashville. The four other Smiths you ask? Another great AHL veteran, Wyatt Smith, played 2008-09 here, where he tied Brett MacLean for fourth on the team with 40 points…the other Smithy’s include Mark and Matt, who laced up for two games each in the early years, while the most recognizable Smith to suit up for San Antonio — crowd favorite Colin Smith, who scored 53 points in 75 games from 2015-17 before his trade to the Toronto Marlies and then his return from Toronto the next season. Smith now skates in Berlin of the German League with two goals and 14 assists in 35 games. Btw — the next super Rampage surname??? Technically, it includes the guy who scored his 100th pro point tonight — Ryan Olsen, but only defenseman Dylan shares the spelling with an “e” instead of the “o” in Brett and Josh Olson’s names…Josh played for the Rampage in the Jurassic Era, scoring 31-24-55 in 149 games from 2002-2004.