Photo by Steven Christy
The San Antonio Rampage have won seven straight games. They’ve gone 7-3-0-0 in their last ten. They are currently sitting in the divisional lead with 24 points. As the Oklahoma City Barons travel to San Antonio for another game against the Rampage, we think back on the recent history these two have conjured up.
The Barons are currently on a four game winning streak, with their most recent loss being delved out by, you guessed it, the Rampage. They played four games prior to that time, and the Rampage won them all. All Rampage vs Barons games this season (save for one) have ended in a San Antonio victory by one goal with one settled in overtime, and two more in the shootout. Needless to say these two teams match up very well, they are familiar with one another, and by golly, they just don’t play nice. Tonight, in San Antonio, the ending is hopefully better for OKC, but the chances are high that things go the way of taut.
The Rampage haven’t played since November 23rd. The Barons, on the other hand, have played twice in that same span. They battled in both games, won both games, and somehow managed to move past the .600 mark, and in to second place in the West Division in front of Texas, Charlotte, and Iowa.
With both the Rampage and Barons surging prior to December, tonight’s game has the makings of a true barn burner. Televised on Fox Sports Southwest, with a bit of nastiness amongst the two, and both jockeying for the top spot in their division, the time to win is now. Enjoy it while you can, they won’t play again until two days after Christmas. Enjoy? I meant stomach.
Michael Houser likely gets the start for the Rampage tonight with Dan Ellis up with the big club. Rocco Grimaldi will ease in on a third line. And the top six for the Rampage likely stays in tact. And per usual, watch out for Ryan Martindale, who likes to play tough minutes against his former team. With Alex Petrovic playing very well on the defensive side, the team is continuing to round the edges of any imperfections. That’s scary.
Likely Rampage Lineup:
The Barons remain healthy, and full of options on offense. The rotation of healthy forwards continues for tonight’s game as well. Anton Lander, getting his first healthy scratch of the season, will be back in against the Rampage. Matt Ford likely comes back in as well, and perhaps Curtis Hamilton and Mitch Moroz are up next. This is a great problem to have – too many forwards – rolling in to December. And with rumors of Matt Hendricks banged up in Edmonton, perhaps they’ll have spare forward lying around to help ease the burden of missing one in the NHL.
Brossoit and Bachman are playing lights out, and I think Nelson goes back to Brossoit who played very very well a couple of nights ago in Cedar Park. Both become valuable options as we move in to the new year, and as the Oilers potentially move bodies (and personnel) around.
The game is available in Oklahoma via Fox Sports Oklahoma, so tune in around 7:30 for game coverage (in HD nonetheless).
Past tonight’s game, the Barons will play Utica on December 2nd, and then head out for a road trip through Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and back to Cedar Park (weird, I know). December is a good mix of road and home games, so there is a chance for you, me, and the world to catch some Barons games. Do that, and bring a friend.