SAN ANTONIO (December 30, 2012) -- The San Antonio Rampage (13-17-0-4) put an exclamation point on the end of the calendar year, as they defeated the division leading Charlotte Checkers (18-11-1-3), 5-2, Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Center in front of 4,746 fans.
Jacob Markstrom made a career high 49 saves off of 51 shots in the win and was named the First Star of the Game. Meanwhile, rookie defenseman John Lee completed a Gordie Howe Hat Trick with his first career professional points and a fight in the third period. Lee earned Second Star of the Game honors for his efforts.
With the victory, San Antonio has taken seven of a possible eight points in their last four games (3-0-0-1). The win came against the best road team in the Western Conference and snapped a three-game winless streak against the Checkers this season.
It was a night to remember for several Rampage rookies as six combined for nine points, including two-point nights from Jared Gomes, Drew Shore, and Lee.
But the night belonged to Markstrom, who once again stood tall for San Antonio in a game in which the Rampage were outshot, 51-31. Of his 49 saves, 24 came in the third period when Charlotte kick started its offense. The win capped off a big weekend for the Swedish netminder, who made 91 saves in his two starts.
Gomes opened the scoring for San Antonio 17:12 of the first period when Lee moved the puck to Jonathan Hazen in the neutral zone. Hazen feathered a pass to Gomes across the ice and sent him in on a two-on-one. Gomes fired and the puck bounced under the pads of Charlotte goaltender Justin Peters for his seventh goal of the season.
Casey Wellman added a historic tally at 3:56 of the second period after Jon Sim broke into the Checkers zone looking for a breakaway. With a Charlotte defender on him, Sim moved the puck to Shore who found Wellman open on the right wing side. The goal was Wellman’s 100th career point in the AHL.
Later in the second period, with Charlotte on a power play, Gomes rushed in short handed with Quinton Howden. Gomes slid the puck to Howden, who buried it for his second short-handed tally of the year.
The Checkers began to fight back in the third period, trailing 3-0. Charlotte’s 26 shots in the frame was a franchise high for shots surrendered by the Rampage in a single period.
Bobby Sanguinetti got Charlotte on the board with a power-play goal 1:48 in the final frame. The Rampage had just killed a 5-on-3 penalty, but Sanguinetti scored with a blast from the point just as Nolan Yonkman exited the box.
Lee reopened a three-goal lead for the Rampage four minutes later with an accurate slap shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Peters top corner. The goal was Lee’s first as a professional, which came in his 14th game in the Silver and Black.
Justin Shugg would add another goal for Charlotte at 15:15 of the third period, but the Rampage again answered. Shore netted an insurance goal at 16:55 to make it 5-2 Rampage. Shore extended his point-scoring streak to four games and now has two goals and five assists in that span.
San Antonio held the league’s best road power-play unit to just 1-for-7 on the night, while the Rampage finished 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Rampage will kick off 2013 with a Friday night tilt against the Peoria Rivermen on a KZEP Dollar Drink Night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. at AT&T Center.
Individual, and season, tickets 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.