SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The San Antonio Rampage saw their five-game home winning streak come to an end on Sunday afternoon, as they fell to the Toronto Marlies, 4-2, in front of 4,114 fans at AT&T Center.
Colby Robak and Greg Rallo had the goals for the Rampage, while Toronto’s T.J. Brennan scored the game-winner late in the third period for the Marlies and goaltender Christopher Gibson made 34-of-36 saves in his first AHL start to collect the win.
San Antonio went 1-for-4 on the power play, but surrendered two goals to Toronto’s power play, allowing the visitors to go 2-for-7 on the night. The Rampage outshot Toronto, 36-28, marking the ninth time in the last 12 games San Antonio has outshoot their opposition.
Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves in the defeat which snapped his personal three-game winning streak. The defeat also dropped the Rampage back to .500 and was the first loss for new head coach Tom Rowe at home since being named bench boss on Nov. 9.
The Rampage held Toronto to only three shots on goal through the first 17 minutes and ended the period with a 19-7 edge in shots.
Only one of the 19 shots found the back of the net, however, as Robak tallied his second goal of the year at 3:50 of the opening frame. Robak fired a wrister through traffic that pinballed in front and found the back of the net. Drew Shore collected an assist on the goal, marking his eighth helper of the year.
When scoring first, the Rampage owned a 7-1-0-0 record entering Sunday’s game and were a perfect 3-0-0-0 when leading after 20 minutes.
Toronto had 1:45 of a power play carry over into the second period and the Rampage took another penalty only 34 seconds into the second period and gave the Marlies a 5-on-3 for 1:09. Toronto made San Antonio pay with the two-man advantage as Spencer Abbott cashed in 49 seconds into the frame to tie the game at 1-1.
The two teams exchanged goals in the final two minutes of the second period. The Marlies took a 2-1 lead off a goal from former Rampage forward Troy Bodie at 18:43.
The Rampage tied the game only 59 seconds later off a great deflection in front by Rallo while on the power play. Defenseman Denny Urban fired a shot to the net that was tipped by Rallo and past Gibson. Defenseman Ryan Whitney also collected an assist on the goal to send the teams into the final period tied 2-2.
Toronto cashed in their second power-play goal of the night at 16:05 when Brennan rifled one past Markstrom off a bang-bang passing play in the slot. John-Michael Liles picked up his second assist of the game on the goal.
San Antonio had several chances in the waning moments of the game. Garrett Wilson had a golden opportunity with three minutes remaining when he walked right in on Gibson, but fired a shot off the post.
The Rampage continued to attack the crease with two minutes remaining and had a flurry of chances on the doorstep with just over two minutes remaining. However, Gibson was able to hold strong and Jerry D’Amigo tacked on an empty-net goal with 10 seconds remaining to secure the victory.
Despite the defeat, the “Matsumoto’s Rescues” collection drive saw Rampage fans bring nearly 200 pet supply items to AT&T Center to help the stray animal population in San Antonio. In addition, two dogs and two cats were adopted during the game.