The San Antonio Rampage special teams gave up two power-play goals early, but they killed off penalties when it mattered most on opening night, sending the silver and black fans home happy.
The Rampage killed off a two minute 5-on-3 and a one minute 6-on-3 man advantage to defeat the Iowa Wild 3-2 in front of 6,696 fans at the AT&T Center on Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, San Antonio lit the lamp first. Garrett Wilson received the puck from Vincent Trocheck and buried it past Iowa goaltender Johan Gustafsson at 5:57 of the second period to put the Rampage up 1-0. Alex Petrovic picked up the other assist on the play.
Iowa answered back with two quick goals to quiet the San Antonio crowd. First, rookie Michael Keranen converted a power-play tally at 5:57 and Jonathan Blum answered over a minute later with another power-play goal to put the Wild up 2-1.
San Antonio responded when Bobby Butler buried the puck past Gustafsson for a power-play goal with eight seconds remaining in the period to even the score at 2-2 going into the third and final period of play. Rocco Grimald and Mark Mancari both assisted on Butler’s first of the year.
The Rampage got the lead for good when Mancari netted his first goal in a silver and black sweater. He got the puck and shot it from the right wing wall past Gustafsson to put San Antonio up 3-2. John McFarland and Petrovic each assisted on the game-winning goal.
Iowa had one last chance with a five-on three power play and a six-on-three advantage in the last 2:23, but Ellis stood tall and sealed the win for the silver and black.
Ellis made 23 saves in the victory, while Gustafsson stopped 36 of 39 San Antonio shots.
The Rampage are now 1-0-0-0 (2 points) on the season and will return to the ice tomorrow (Saturday) night when they welcome the Oklahoma City Barons to the AT&T Center at 7 p.m.