CLEVELAND, OH — The San Antonio Rampage (18-21-3-5) claimed two crucial points in the Western Conference tonight as they downed the Lake Erie Monsters (20-22-0-4) 4-1 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Ryan Whitney got it going for the Rampage with under five remaining in the first, netting his fourth of the year on the power play. Vince Trocheck and Quinton Howden each tallied in the second, and Joey Crabb’s empty netter with 59 seconds to go gave him a two-point night (1g-1a). Trocheck recorded his team-leading ninth multi-point game of the year with a goal and an assist on the night, as well.
Michael Houser stopped 19-of-20 to earn the Second Star, while Trocheck’s performance earned him the First Star of the night.
After a fast-paced and hard-fought first period, it was the Rampage who came out on top where it counted. Given a 5-on-3 opportunity, the Rampage cycled, opening a shooting gallery on Lake Erie net-minder Sami Aittokallio. Just as the first penalty expired, Vince Trocheck fed Whitney from down low, and the defenseman quickly fired it home to give the Rampage a 1-0 lead.
The Monsters were given a late power play chance, but failed to convert, leaving Whitney’s tally at the 15:01 mark to stand alone in the first frame.
Lake Erie began the second with the extra man, but could not convert, setting the tone for the period.
Just 3:18 into the middle frame, Crabb was sandwiched by two Monsters players and hit the ice, but was able to get a pass off to Trocheck before losing his footing. The rookie picked up the puck and broke in, beating Aittokallio and making it 2-0.
Matt Gilroy collected the second assist on Trocheck’s 14th of the year, giving him points in his last two games as well as four points (2g-2a) in his last four games.
Howden started to open the floodgates 1:44 later, finding himself alone in front of the Lake Erie net and batting one in for the 3-0 lead at the 5:02 mark of the second.
The goal gives Howden nine points (3g-6a) in his last 10 games.
Greg Rallo and Ryan Martindale earned the assists on Howden’s seventh of the year. Martindale now has six points (2g-4a) in his last eight games, and has points in his last four games.
The Monsters again could not capitalize on the late power play chance, and the Rampage took their commanding 3-0 lead into the third.
Just past the halfway point of the third, Houser’s burgeoning shutout was cut short as Stefan Elliott snapped a shot past the Rampage goalie with 9:12 remaining.
Though it was John McFarland with the initial attempt, he was tripped up by a Lake Erie skater, and it was Crabb who buried the empty netter with 59 seconds to go to ice it for the Rampage 4-1.
McFarland’s assist gives him seven points (4g-3a) in his last seven games.
The Rampage went 1-for-3 on the power play, and denied all four Lake Erie chances, as the Monsters went 0-for-4. The Rampage outshot the Monsters 34-20.