SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — The San Antonio Rampage (1-1-0-0) snagged their first win of the 2013-14 season with a 3-1 decision over the Rockford IceHogs (0-1-0-0) before 5,455 at the AT&T Center.
The Rampage outshot the IceHogs 56-25, breaking a franchise record of 55 shots that had stood dormant since April 11, 2010. The record-breaking shot was off the stick of Quinton Howden, with 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation. The Rampage went 1-for-4 on the power play, and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The first meeting of the year between the Rampage and the IceHogs got its first real action at 14:24 of the opening period, when Rockford goaltender Antti Raanta stayed down after making a save. Leaving the game shortly after, he was replaced by Kent Simpson.
San Antonio stayed busy for the second half of the period, putting up yet another strong penalty kill. With Jared Gomes off for tripping, Howden broke free and let the puck go with a great shorthanded chance, gathered his own rebound, and ripped one off again, but was denied by Simpson.
Less than a minute later, Vincent Trocheck followed his teammate’s lead, trying to break into the zone, but had his stick checked by a Rockford defender. In the waning seconds of the Gomes infraction, Jed Ortmeyer sacrificed the body and blocked a Rockford shot, effectively killing off the tripping minor.
In the final three minutes of the first, noted Rampage fighter Eric Selleck engaged Jared Nightingale behind the net, and the two fought it out in the corner, with Selleck landing two hard punches to bring Nightingale to the ice.
The Rampage spent the remainder of the period on the power play, courtesy of a Brad Mills slash, but both teams went into the room in a 0-0 deadlock.
Just 47 seconds into the second, and in the final seconds of the carried over power play, Jon Matsumoto sent the Rampage crowd into a frenzy. Captain Greg Rallo brought the puck in, handed it off to Colby Robak, who then sent it through the circles where Matsumoto was waiting. With a wide open net and stationed right outside the crease, Matsumoto ripped it top shelf to put the Silver and Black up 1-0.
Though both teams had multiple chances to showcase their special teams in the remaining minutes of the frame, neither were able to convert, and the clock timed out with a Rampage advantage still standing.
The IceHogs got one back immediately in the third, when Alex Broadhurst tied up the game with a wraparound goal in the first minute of play. San Antonio gave their opponents a quality chance to break the tie a minute later, when a defensive zone turnover led to a Rockford chance. Rampage goalie Scott Clemmensen came through with a huge save in the crease to keep the score even at one.
Just past the midway point of the third, Matsumoto found the magic again, this time tapping it in from behind the post. His second tally of the night, assisted by Howden and Philippe Cornet, put the Rampage back on top.
That assist gave Cornet 12 points in 12 career games against Rockford.
Rockford pulled their goalie with just under a minute to go in regulation, but their late push for extra offense came up short, as Alex Petrovic knocked one in from the blue line, his empty netter sealing the IceHogs’ fate.
The Rampage kick off a two-game road trip next Saturday when they travel to the Allstate Arena to face the Chicago Wolves. They will return to the AT&T Center on Oct. 18 for the first game in a home-and-home series with the Texas Stars.