The San Antonio Rampage allowed four goals in the third period, and the Oklahoma City Barons took Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals with a 5-2 victory in front of 1,393 at Cox Convention Center Thursday night.
The third-seeded Rampage made their first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season and fourth in franchise history, while the sixth seeded Barons made their fifth straight postseason appearance.
Brad Hunt tallied the first goal of the game when he flipped the puck past Dan Ellis on the power play to give the Barons a 1-0 lead at 12:04 of the opening period. Vincent Trocheck scored the equalizer just 3:52 later when he shot the puck off the post past Laurent Brossoit’s left side. Shane O’Brien and Garrett Wilson picked up the helpers on the goal, and the Rampage and Barons headed into the first intermission tied at one.
Rocco Grimaldi took a pass from Jonathan Racine and slid it into the net to give the Silver and Black their first lead of the game and the only tally of the second period at 8:01.
Joshua Winquist picked up his first professional playoff goal with a shot from the circle to tie the game at two near the midway point of the third period. The Barons took a 3-2 lead when Ryan Hamilton converted off a Rampage turnover, and Connor Jones and Matthew Ford each scored empty-net goals to give the Barons a 5-2 victory over the Rampage.
Ellis, in his first postseason appearance since April 13, 2011 when he played for the Anaheim Ducks (NHL), made 33 saves on 36 shots stopping all 15 shots faced in the second period. Brossoit turned away 29-of-31 shots, and the Rampage were unable to capitalize on four power-play opportunities.
Grimaldi and Trocheck both recorded their first playoff goals in their professional playoff debut, and all but three Rampage players registered a shot, led by Wade Megan with four.
The Rampage collected 25 penalty minutes in the game and Oklahoma City scored two goals on five opportunities with the extra man.
“We have to be better. We definitely can be better, and we’ll regroup and come back on Saturday.” – Rampage coach Tom Rowe
Wilson, Trocheck and Dany Heatley skated as the Rampage’s first line and Connor Brickley, Brett Olson and Mark Mancari composed the second line. Grimaldi centered John McFarland and Quinton Howden on a third line, and Megan, Corban Knight and Logan Shaw made up a fourth line. Greg Zanon and Alex Petrovic, O'Brien and Jesse Blacker and Racine and Blake Parlett composed San Antonio’s defensive pairings.
The Rampage face the Barons in Game 2 of the conference quarterfinals Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Cox Convention Center before returning to San Antonio for Game Three Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the AT&T Center. Playoff tickets are available and can be purchased by calling a Rampage sales representative at (210) 444-5554 or online at sarampage.com.