Playing the first of three games in three nights in the state of Texas, rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard won his fourth straight start in net for the Lake Erie Monsters (19-15-2-1), as they skated to a 5-1 victory in San Antonio over the Rampage (15-19-0-4). Lake Erie's Bill Thomas, who spent parts of three seasons with the Rampage in his career, notched two goals and an assist to help the Monsters prevail. Rookies Andrew Agozzino and Paul Carey each picked up a goal and an assist as well.
Dean Strong opened the scoring for the Monsters on the power play after a feed from Markus Lauridsen at the point. Strong one-timed the Lauridsen pass into the San Antonio goal for his second goal of the season at 14:45 of the first period. Lauridsen and Mike Connolly assisted on the goal.
Carey scored another power play goal for the Monsters after receiving a pass in front of the net from Agozzino at 6:43 of the second period. The goal was Carey's fifth of the season, and Geoff Walker also notched an assist on the play.
Thomas scored just 10 seconds later for the Monsters, stretching the lead to 3-0 on a blast from beyond the top of the right circle that beat Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom to the upper portion of the net. Carey and Gabriel Beaupre assisted on Thomas' 12th goal of the season.
Jon Sim scored on a rebound in the third period for San Antonio, cutting the Monsters lead to 3-1 at 2:36 of the third period.
Agozzino regained the three-goal lead for the Monsters when he cruised up the right side and snapped a shot from the right circle that beat Markstrom upstairs at 8:17 of the final period; his 12th of the season. Thomas and Cameron Gaunce assisted on the goal.
Thomas added one more- a shorthanded goal that gave the Monsters a 5-1 lead- at 14:05 of the third period. Thomas streaked up the right wing and beat Markstrom with a high shot; his 13th goal of the year.
Pickard has now won four straight starts in net and is 10-8-1 after stopping 28 of 29 shots. Markstrom is 11-12-2 after stopping 20 of 25 Monsters shots.
The Monsters face the Rampage again in San Antonio on Friday, followed by a game against the Aeros in Houston on Saturday.