The beloved Rampage have started out with a couple of wins and a loss. The three clubs they’ve played now sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division for what it’s worth but after 3 games there’s only so much the standings can tell you.
San Antonio has scored 9 goals, 3 on the power play and 6 at even strength. I would characterize 2 of them as score effect goals, 1 from each situation. The power play ranks 2nd in the AHL so far at 37.5% and shooting percentage in all situations is 9.5%
They’ve given up 8 goals, 6 at even strength, 1 on PK and 1 while on the PP. I would characterize 3 of them as score effect goals including the shortie. The PK is 4th in the AHL at 92.9% and opponent shooting percentage is 11.3% in all situations.
The shot production is good to see, 31.67 per game and 7th in the league, but the suppression is really impressive. They are allowing only 23.67 per game which is tied for 3rd in the AHL and gives them a 57.2% shots for percentage in all situations. They allowed less than 20 SOG against both Ontario (18) and San Jose (19).
Whether by design or necessity, the Rampage’s strategy has been refusing to allow the opponent scoring chances. Sounds like a good plan because the closing rate on their own is less than stellar. The Avs, along with the farm system, have had chronic scoring issues for years and I worry that trying to win every game 2-1 or 3-2 puts too much stress on the defense and especially the goalies.
After 3 games there are only 9 players on the roster that have scored a single point or more (Sam Blais had 4 before leaving for St Louis) and only 5 have scored goals. This is the most recent forward lineup with even strength goals scored:
Ranford – Agozzino(1) – Grimaldi(1)
Colborne – Belzile – Kostin
Bourque(1) – Girard – Vogelhuber
Nantel – Musil – Petryk
Like we saw last year there’s a noticeable lack of playmakers and the centers other than Girard are actually wings playing in the middle of the ice. The shot totals are great to see but when you don’t have skilled passers setting everyone up it’s more of a shooting gallery than anything else. Great for suppression but it’s troubling when the team really needs a goal like they did on Saturday. Sooner or later Coach Veilleux is going to have to find a way to mix some passers in with the shooters to seal the deal.
The defensive corps has been very productive when it comes to jumping into the play and creating SOGs. Here are the pairs and their shot totals:
Siemens(7) – Meloche(5)
Butler(3) – Schmaltz(7)
Geertsen(7) – Warsofsky(6)
Duncan & Mason haven’t seen much if any time on the PP so those are some stout totals from them. Warsofsky has been pretty invisible so far and left Saturday’s game for unknown reasons midway through but still has 6 on the board. Schmaltz has been the point-producer with a goal and 3 assists but Duncan and Wars both have assists too. Overall, the issues we had last year with puck-movement by the D seem to be solved, a good chunk of that thanks to forwards staying back for puck support on breakouts.
Spencer Martin is on his way to bouncing back from a disappointing Spring in the net. He’s got 2 wins and a .919 Sv% so far. Husso had the bad fortune to be in for Thursday’s poor team performance vs Bakersfield and I wouldn’t put much of that on him. Telling stat: Marty has faced 37 shots in 2 games and Husso saw 34 in just one.
The Rampage lineup should undergo some changes this week as they could add a pair of power forwards in AJ Greer and Tage Thompson. Size is something they could use but that won’t add anything to the playmaking ability down the middle. Dominic Toninato missed both games in California and could be back, which would give SA another true center. Hopefully all this lets EV spread the skill in the lineup out a little and give them more than one line that’s a credible threat.