Scott charging through first season in S.A.

For the Rampage this season, goaltender Travis Scott was just what they needed to plug up the net and keep pucks out of it.

Scott jumped out to a quick start in his first year in San Antonio, pacing the young Rampage to an impressive first two months of the American Hockey League (AHL) season.

“I’m kind of surprised with how the year started because I usually start off a little slow,” Scott said. “We’ve been down a lot in the third period, but the guys have really come through and scored some big goals, so we’re finding ways to win, which is very important.”

Through 27 games, Scott holds a record of 13-10-4 with a goals against average of 2.20. Combined with his .933 save percentage, those statistics put Scott near the top of the heap in terms of AHL goaltenders. But being a league leader is far from Scott’s primary goal with the Rampage.

“Stats are nice to look at, but the bottom line is whether you’re winning hockey games,” Scott said. “We might win a game, 5-3, and that’s going to hurt my stats, but if I felt like I played well and helped the team win, then I’m okay with that.”

If AHL goalies were allowed to serve as team captain, there’s no doubt that Scott would be wearing the “C” on his jersey this year. According to general manager Bobby Jay, who brought Scott to San Antonio in the first place, the goaltender is a natural leader on the ice.

“Without question, he is one of the two or three major leaders on this team,” Jay said. “He’s not a loudmouth, he’s a very quiet kid who goes about his business, but when something needs to be said, he has the character to stand up and say it for the good of the team, not because he thinks he’s doing better than anyone else.”

After Jay made a promise to Florida Panthers GM Rick Dudley that Scott would be a worthwhile acquisition, Scott committed himself to proving Jay right. After losing some extra weight in the off-season, Scott came into training camp in excellent shape, ready to make a difference for the team. This year’s slimmed down version of Scott looks quicker in the crease, making a strong impact on his overall game.

“In past years I came into camp a little bit heavier, and I think that hurt me at the beginning of the season because I tended to play better towards the end of the season when I had lost the weight,” Scott said.

Jay points to the weight loss and Scott’s wealth of AHL experience as key factors in his success this season.

“This season’s been easily the most consistent I’ve seen him play and he’s been our MVP so far this season,” Jay said. “He’s just established himself and made it known that he’s one of the top goalies in this league and I think he’s put himself back on the radar screen for the NHL.”

While a future in the NHL is important to Scott, he is also committed to spending time with his family. After moving to San Antonio this year, Scott and his wife and two kids are beginning to settle into the city.

“I went golfing the other day, which is something I can’t say I’ve done in December too often,” Scott said. “My family seems to have adapted well, so if they’re happy, then I can adjust.”

Although hockey is Scott’s profession, he tries to keep it separate from his family life at home.

“I can have a bad day at the rink, but I go home and I can’t take that home with me,” Scott said. “When I’m at the rink I worry about playing hockey, and when I’m at home I worry about my family and taking care of them.”

Rampage Head Coach Scott Allen can be assured they won’t have to worry much about their star goaltender knowing what to do in front of the net. According to Jay, there is little goalie-specific instruction they can offer Scott. Although a goaltender coach from the Panthers comes down once in a while to help out the Rampage, Scott is normally left to coach himself on the ice.

“Usually when I talk to him, it’s just about a mental part of the game or how he’s feeling, and I let him just interact with me,” Jay said. “We don’t talk much technical at all, but we are there for him as far as the mental aspects of the game and his confidence and physical well-being. Overall, he knows when he made a mistake and what he did wrong because he’s that professional.”