The Gulls trailed 4-1 when right wing Scott Sabourin and Rampage center Sam Henley both drew five-minute major penalties for their fight 12 minutes, three seconds into the second period.
The Gulls (13-12-2-1) scored the next goal as Jordan Samuels-Thomas put in a rebound of a shot by Andy Welinski with 1:12 left in the second period.
“It shows a lot of respect from the guys to answer (after the fight) and to step their game up,” Sabourin said. “We got a little momentum.”
San Antonio, the Colorado Avalanche’s American Hockey League affiliate, reclaimed a three-goal lead with 10:20 to play in the third period on Joe Whitney’s goal.
The Gulls cut the lead to 5-4 on Antoine Laganiere’s goal with 8:29 remaining and Shea Theodore’s power-play goal with 2:40 left, but were unable to score the equalizer.
I thought we deserved a better fate,” Gulls coach Dallas Eakins said. “We were a victim of bad luck tonight, but I was proud of the fact that our guys didn’t quit at all.”
Theodore’s goal was his first in his 10 games with the Gulls this season. He also has one goal in 21 games this season with the Gulls NHL parent team, the Anaheim Ducks.
Rampage left wing A.J. Greer opened the scoring 3:21 into the first period when he banked in a rebound off Gulls rookie goaltender Kevin Boyle’s skate for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
San Antonio (16-16-0-2) increased its lead to 2-0 at 13:48 of the first period when Sam Henley backhanded in a centering pass from Julien Nantel for his second goal of the season.
Defenseman Nate Guenin put a shot past Rampage goaltender Spencer Martin15:56 into the first period. The goal was Guenin’s second goal of the season and ended his 23-game goal-less streak.
Jim O’Brien scored a power-play goal 43 seconds into the second period and Reid Petryk deflected in a shot by Troy Bourke at 9:58 to give San Antonio a 4-1 lead before a crowd announced at 9,044.
Martin made 35 saves, including 16 in the third period.
Boyle made 18 saves, playing in his fourth consecutive game.
The Gulls scored on one of three power-play opportunities and killed three of the Rampage’s four power-play opportunities.
Dustin Tokarski did not dress for the third consecutive game. The Gulls No. 1 goaltender is day-to-day with a lower body injury, according to Steve Brown, the Gulls communications manager.
The Gulls were 6-0-0 against San Antonio last season, outscoring the Rampage, 23-10.
The two teams will meet again Saturday at Valley View Casino Center.
— City News Service
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