The San Antonio Rampage knew Michael Houser was exhausted and after one period in net on Wednesday, he was pulled. Head coach Tom Rowe went with rookie goalie Sam Brittain and the young gun made the best outing possible as he helped the Silver and Black rally in dramatic fashion.
San Antonio (40-20-5-1) scored three unanswered goals to earn a 4-3 shootout victory over the Milwaukee Admirals (32-24-5-5) in front of 3,513 fans inside MO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday evening. The win moved the Rampage into first place in the Western Conference for the first time in four years.
Milwaukee scored early as Austin Watson lit the lamp with a shot that found its way past Michael Houser’s glove at 1:28. The Admirals built on their lead when Joe Pendenza shot the puck past Houser’s pads to put the home team up 2-0 after 20 minutes of action.
The Admirals struck again at 5:20 of the second period to take a 3-0 lead. That ended Michael Houser’s night as he was replaced in net by Sam Brittain, who made his AHL debut. The three goal lead for Milwaukee would stand as we went to the third period.
Rocco Grimaldi lit the lamp for the Rampage in the final frame as he beat Milwaukee netminder Marek Mazanec at 3:08. San Antonio scored again just over five minutes later when Dany Heatley put home his seventh of the season and Blake Parlett tied the game 3-3 at 11:40. Neither team would find the back of the net the remainder of regulation.
The Silver and Black had the 6-3 shots edge in overtime, but could not find the back of the net, so a shootout was needed. In the skills competition, the Rampage got goals from Grimaldi and Heatley as Brittain stopped both Milwaukee shooters to give San Antonio the 4-3 come from behind win.
Houser made 14-of-17 shots in 25 minutes, while Brittain earned the second star of the game by turning away all 13 shots in 40 minutes of work. Mazanec made 36 saves on 39 San Antonio shots.
San Antonio finished 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Admirals were 0-for-3. The win widened San Antonio’s lead to four points in the West Division over the Oklahoma City Barons (82 points).
The Rampage will return to the ice on Friday evening when they travel to Iowa to face the Wild on Friday at 7 p.m. inside the Wells Fargo Center.