WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania – The Rampage proved they can win on the road.
A week after a tough trip to Tucson, San Antonio split their games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and earned three points, keeping them in a tie for second in the Central Division standings.
Left winger Nathan Walker continued his torrid start to the season, scoring two goals and an assist in the Rampage's come-from-behind 5-3 victory Friday night. After falling behind 3-1, San Antonio scored four unanswered goals to win by the final margin. Defenseman Mitch Reinke scored the go-ahead goal in the second period.
The Rampage couldn't quite complete the weekend sweep on Saturday, falling in overtime 5-4. Once again, Walker dazzled, posting another three-point night, as San Antonio built a 2-1 lead after 1. Center Mike Vecchione gave the Rampage a 4-3 lead in the third period with his second goal of the night, but it would not last. After Jordy Bellerive tied the game late in the third period, Joseph Cramarossa scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Penguins the win.
If there's one positive to come from both games, it's the performance of the Rampage's power play, which has scored eight goals over the past four games.
"It's nice when your power play is scoring," said head coach Drew Bannister. "It takes a little bit of pressure off your team five-on-five, but we need to start creating a little bit more during our five-on-five. I think we're doing a good job generating shots, and we're spending a lot of time in the offensive zone wearing teams down."
"If you score once on the power play, you believe you can score all the time." said right winger Klim Kostin, who scored his first goal of the season on Friday. "We have a good power play here. Our coach has been very tactical."
"It's definitely getting there I think," Walker said. "Whenever you get to a new team, you try to find someone to work with and it seems to be working with Klim right now."
The Rampage have also shown that they're capable of rallying from large deficits and scoring late in games. San Antonio has scored nine goals in the third period, and has come from behind to score game-tying goals in two of their last three road games.
"It says a lot about the depth of our team I think," Bannister explained. "We're able to roll four lines for pretty much 60 minutes. It's not too often that I feel like I have to shorten the bench. Usually the only time we get in trouble is when we get in penalty trouble. I think we're a bigger, heavier team. We wear teams down and create more chances towards the end of the period."
The Rampage wrap up their road trip this Wednesday against the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The team will then play a two-game, home-and-home series with the Texas Stars on Friday and Saturday. The puck drops for both games at 7 p.m.