April 6, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Antonio Rampage
SAN ANTONIO - The Rampage erased a two-goal deficit in the second period but were unable to pull off the come-from-behind victory, as San Antonio (29-32-2-6) fell to the Hamilton Bulldogs (27-35-1-5), 4-2, on Friday night at AT&T Center in front of 8,515 fans.
Greg Rallo tallied a goal and an assist, while Jon Rheault recorded two helpers for the Rampage in the defeat. In goal, San Antonio netminder Brian Foster turned aside 33-of-37 shots.
Rampage forward Jack Combs also tallied an assist on the night to extend his point-scoring streak to three games (one goal, three assists). Combs has averaged a point per game (six goals, five assists) in his first 11 games for the Rampage since being acquired via trade from Bridgeport on March 14.
Hamilton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of action. Bulldogs center Louis Leblanc charged in the offensive zone on an odd-man rush and fired a low shot that was turned aside by Foster. However, the rebound went right to Petteri Nokelainen, who fired home the rebound for his first goal of the year, at 4:43 of the opening frame.
The Rampage had a golden opportunity to tie the game at 13:42 of the first period after a Bulldogs defenseman covered the puck with his glove in the crease. Rheault took the penalty shot and executed a forehand-to-backhand deke, but was unable to elevate the puck over the pad of Hamilton goaltender Robert Mayer.
Hamilton extended their lead to 2-0 at 14:54 of the opening frame off an offensive zone faceoff. Patrick Holland found himself open in the bottom of the slot and fired a quick wrist shot past Foster.
It only took San Antonio 3:52 of action in the second period to erase the two-goal deficit. Rallo struck first with his team-leading 23rd goal of the year only 49 seconds into the frame. Rheault and Combs collected assists on the tally.
Defenseman Colby Robak followed suit with a power-play goal at 3:52 of the second period when he fired a wrist shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past Mayer. Rallo and Rheault had assists on the game-tying goal.
Hamilton reclaimed the lead at 11:40 of the middle frame off a perfect deflection from Alex Belzile while charging the net. The Rampage outshot Hamilton, 14-10, in the second period but trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes.
The Rampage recorded 20 penalty minutes in the third period to hinder their comeback opportunities. San Antonio did have a power play with just under three minutes remaining in regulation after Rallo was held-up in the offensive zone.
However, it was Hamilton who was able to light the lamp in the waning moments of the game while shorthanded. Nathan Beaulieu wrapped up the win for the visitors when he took a shot from the point that pinballed in several directions before trickling by Foster at 18:45 of the third period.
San Antonio finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play and has now cashed in on the power play in 14 of their last 21 games, going 18-for-84 with the man advantage in that span. The Rampage won the shots battle, 38-37, and held Hamilton to 0-for-8 on the power play.
The Rampage return to action on Sunday against the Texas Stars at AT&T Center at 3:30 p.m. on an Express-News Sunday Funday. Tickets for all remaining Rampage home games start at $10 and can be purchased at the AT&T Center Southeast Box Office, by calling a Rampage representative at 210-444-5554 or online at sarampage.com.