Jordan Kyrou, drafted by the St. Louis Blues two summers ago as the 35th player overall to be taken in 2016, was coming off an amazing final 94-point junior season with the Sarnia Sting. What could he do for an encore?
Playing as an overage junior player, Kyrou showed the skills Rampage fans have come to expect from the 20-year old Toronto native with a 109-point season, including a career-high 39 goals. But not at first.
Kyrou made the Blues NHL roster out of training camp and played 11 games, before being assigned to San Antonio Oct. 29th when Robby Fabbri finished his rehab assignment. Kyrou scored his first AHL goal in his second game, but that was the only point he had after seven games, suffering perhaps from “this isn’t the NHL Toto Syndrome.”
Then, those shots he fired started going in instead of hitting posts, and his linemates meshed and the rookie’s game began to jell as well. He got another chance to play in St. Louis, scoring his first major league goal in the process against the Vancouver Canucks on former Rampage goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, only to return as a man on a mission with 12 points in the seven games since his return.
Now, Kyrou has a chance to etch his name into the Rampage record book this week, as he can tie Yanick Lehoux’s 12-game point streak, the longest in franchise history. Since just after Thanksgiving, Kyrou has scored at least one point in 11-straight contests, which is the current longest active point streak in the league. Should he pick up a goal or an assist Wednesday night against Manitoba, Kyrou will not only tie Lehoux for the team record, but he’ll also match the longest scoring run in the AHL this season. Both Cory Conacher and Alex Barre-Boulet of Syracuse have been alone at the top of scoring streaks this season with a dozen.
Overall, Kyrou has 19 points scored in the streak, including two, three-point games and six multi-point games and now leads the club in scoring with 22 points in just 21 games. Kyrou, who reminds many veteran Rampage fans as another Vinnie Trocheck, who is starring for the Florida Panthers when he’s not injured, enjoyed his only two-goal game last Thursday in Cedar Park in the Rampage 5-2 setback.
MOOSE BETTER IN TIME FOR RAMPAGE: The Manitoba Moose have been playing much better since they’ve dipped into the Central Division cellar with a 13-16-2 record. Although they’ve won the last two games against last year’s Rampage team now in Colorado as the Eagles, the Moose are just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.
Why are the Moose hurting after setting the standard last year in the Western Conference? Two words — power play. The Moose rank 29th out of 31 in power-play efficiency, scoring an AHL low 16 goals with the extra man. Besides the low total in that vital category, the Moose have scored only an average of 2.42 goals per game, just a smidge above the Rockford IceHogs, who take up the bottom rung. On the other end of the scoreboard, the Moose have allowed 100 goals this season, which is middle of the pack league-wise, but 3.23 goals against are very generous on defense.
San Antonio hasn’t lit the league on fire on the scoring front either, nabbing only 2.61 per game, just ahead of the Moose, but they are 11th overall in goals against, with a 2.97 average. Power play — Rampage have improved to 22nd in the AHL, while the penalty kill is right there as well coming in at 23rd in the circuit.
Manitoba players to watch: former Rampage center Logan Shaw leads the Moose with 21 points with 10 goals since joining the team from San Diego earlier this season. Shaw scored 14-19-33 in 115 games in San Antonio from 2013-15. Another Rampage alum, Felix Girard, is still looking for his first goal in Manitoba to go along with his seven assists in 26 games…Denis Everberg played 11 games earlier this season with the Moose, but he returned to Europe after scoring only one assist. He’s playing in Switzerland…Eric Comrie is the Moose starting goalie with a 10-9 record and 2.87 GAA…the Rampage clobbered Manitoba, 5-0 on Nov. 13 in the early morning game, but the Moose took two in October at home against San Antonio. The two teams meet in Canada, Jan 19-20, while the Moose will return in March for two games here on the 29-30th.
NICE LINE: Rampage coach Drew Bannister had the pleasure of putting Zach Sanford, Samuel Blais and Kyrou on a line Sunday against the Stars. Combined, those three players have suited up for 50 NHL games alone with the Blues this season.
“Bringing Zach in helps our lineup, obviously. It’s nice to slip Zach in that position. Certainly, they played well as a unit today and moving forward hopefully keep them together and see what happens.”