Down in Texas: AHL Preview


It’s a match-up of two of the AHL’s Texas teams this evening, as the San Antonio Rampage visit the Houston Aeros in a 7:05 p.m. CST matchup in the lone game of the night.

A LOOK AT: SAN ANTONIO (19-22-0-4, 42 points)

The Rampage have gone back and forth for the past ten games, losing one before winning one, then losing the next, winning, etc. The team is 5-5-0-0 in those ten games and is coming off a 1-0 win over Rockford on February 1. John McFarland had the lone goal, and Jacob Markstrom stopped all 30 shots faced for the shutout victory.

Leading the way for the Rampage is right winger Jon Rheault, who has scored 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 44 games. Rheault leads the team in goals, assists, and points, and a third of his goals have come on special teams.

Center Greg Rallo has 22 points in 45 games this season, and left winger Eric Selleck leads the Rampage with 149 penalty minutes in 45 games.

Markstrom has been San Antonio’s main netminder this season; the Swede has appeared in 30 games, going 14-14-2 and allowing 76 goals on 977 shots faced. He has a 2.56 GAA and a .922 save percentage and has three shutouts this season.

Dov Grumet-Morris has been the backup for Markstrom this season, appearing in 17 games himself. He has earned two shutouts, has a 2.47 GAA and .918 save percentage, and has stopped 427 of 465 shots faced.

Tonight’s game kicks off a nine-game roadstand for the Rampage – a road trip that will last the duration of the month of February. They’ll visit Charlotte, Milwaukee, Peoria, Chicago and Grand Rapids before returning home on March 2 to host the Wolves.

Will San Antonio’s back-and-forth ways continue, or will they be able to start a winning streak (something they haven’t done since winning three consecutive games prior to January4)?

 

A LOOK AT: HOUSTON (22-16-4-3, 51 points)

The Aeros have won four of their last five games and are coming off a 3-2 victory over Rockford on February 3. That victory saw Kyle Medvec, Brett Bulmer and David McIntyre score, while goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 34 of 36 shots faced.

Rookie Justin Zucker currently leads the Aeros in goals, assists, and points with 17, 20, and 37 respectively. Nine of Zucker’s goals have come on the power play (tying him for second in the AHL), while he also added one shorthanded tally.

Also near the top for Houston are right winger Justin Fontaine, who has 26 points (9-17) in 33 games, and forward Charlie Coyle, who was recently called up to the Minnesota Wild and may make his NHL debut this evening.

Goaltender Matt Hackett has won 13 of 32 games played this season, with a 2.68 GAA and .905 save percentage, allowing 85 goals on 893 shots faced. Rookie Darcy Kuemper, meanwhile, has a 1.97 GAA and .930 save percentage in 14 games played. This would put him fourth in the league in GAA – except he hasn’t played the minimum 840 minutes to be put into the leaders listings.

After tonight’s home game, the Aeros will set off on an eight-game roadstand; they’ll play 13 of their next 15 games on the road. The road trip with see them visit Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Rockford, Texas, Rochester, Hamilton, Toronto and Oklahoma City before returning home on February 23. Following that, they’ll set out for four more road games.

 

THE MATCHUP

Tonight’s game is the seventh of 12 meetings between the Rampage and the Aeros. Houston has won four of the meetings so far this year and has overall outscored and outshot San Antonio.

The Rampage took the first game, a 3-2 victory on October 14, before Houston rallied back to come out on top in the next three match-ups, winning by scores of 7-5, 2-1 and 5-1. San Antonio was victorious on December 29 in a 2-1 win before Houston shut out the Rampage 1-0 on January 5.

Overall, Houston has outscored San Antonio 18-12 and outshot them, 177-146.

Zucker leads the Aeros with eight points (4-4) in the season series against San Antonio, while Rheault leads the Rampage with five points against Houston this season. Drew Shore also has five points against the Aeros, but is currently playing with the Florida Panthers in the NHL.

After tonight, the teams meet five more times this season: March 15, April 4, April 11, April 13 and April 20.

Tags: AHL Houston Aeros San Antonio Rampage