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Rampage Stopped As Griffins Hang On For 5-4 Win
Big night by the fourth line keys victory...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids was able to ride a scoring surge from some unlikely sources to top the San Antonio Rampage. The Griffins got big offensive contributions from the fourth line of Mike Walsh (1 goal 1 assist), Aaron Gagnon (1 goal 1 assist) and Aaron Downey (2 assists). Jan Mursak (2), Logan Pyett (3) and Darren Haydar also scored for Grand Rapids. Jimmy Howard, returned from Detroit earlier in the day made the start stopping 32 of 36 shots for the win.

Midway through the first, Aaron Gagnon got the Griffins on the board when he chipped the puck over Tordjman from the edge of the paint. The lead was short-lived however as Peterson eased up on his man next to the net, allowing Kolarik to get off a point blank shot that he stuffed between Howard's pad and the post. Haydar restored the lead a minute and a half later on a 5-on-3 powerplay, letting a point blast go that clinked in off the post past Tordjman. The Rampage tied things up late in the period, taking advantage of some sloppy Griffins play to score a shorthanded goal. Perreault hit Spina with a pass, and he chipped it past a down and Howard. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - San 6.

Walsh scored the only goal of the second when he let a rising shot go that just found its way into the top corner under the crossbar. Grand Rapids carried the play most of the period with very little in the way of scoring chances by San Antonio. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - San 8.

Pyett hit McGrath with a lead pass for a breakaway, but he couldn't get the shot off quick enough as he went by the net, and it rolled wide. San Antonio picked up the pace and was carrying play for most of the third period. Incredible behind the back pass by Ritola to the late man Mursak who backhanded a shot past Tordjman stick side. Off the next faceoff, Pyett ripped a point shot that found its way in through traffic. San Antonio cut the lead to two when Sullivan got a nice pass in the circle for a backdoor goal. Play is getting chippy with several big scrums after the whistle. Hoggan one on one with Pyett and let a shot go that beat Howard stick side. It was a soft goal, and it looked like this team was about to give away the game. Tordjman to the bench for an extra skater. Haydar had a couple of tries at the empty net but couldn't get it in. A flurry of Rampage chances at the end but Haydar clears the puck and the horn goes. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - San 22. For the Game: GR 30 - San 36.

Oulahen - Emmerton - Haydar
Ritola - Abdelkader - Mursak
Tardif - Pare - McGrath
Walsh - Gagnon - Downey

Stafford - Jozsa
Kolosov - Pyett
Peterson - Galvin

Starter: Howard
Backup: Larsson

Lemieux - Knee Ericsson - Wrist Kindl

Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif/Pare
Haydar - Stafford

Emmerton - Pare - McGrath
Kolosov - Pyett

Oulahen - Gagnon
Stafford - Jozsa

Haydar - Abdelkader
Kolosov - Galvin

Ritola - Emmerton


Howard did not look real sharp, and it looked like the team may just give this one away at the end. Luckily they were able to hang on, but the third period was almost their undoing.

Credit where credit is due, Haydar has really picked up his game the last week or so and is finally playing like the player that always used to kill us. Hopefully he keeps it up through the playoffs.

Official Game Sheet