Griffins Rally But Can't Hold On in 5-4 OT Loss

Joakim Andersson - Photo by Jason Kasiorek www.griffinscentral.com

Griffins Rally But Can't Hold On in 5-4 OT Loss
Andersson breaks out with 2-goal night...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
November 9, 2011

The Griffins came out on the wrong side of a battle of basement dwellers in the Western Conference, falling 5-4 in overtime against the San Antonio Rampage. The Griffins rallied back twice and even led by a goal late in third before Thomas' goal with 3:06 left tied things up and forced the extra session. Robak scored just thirty seconds in to send the Grand Rapids fans home unhappy. Joakim Andersson scored his first two goals of the season for Grand Rapids while Gleason Fournier scored in his AHL debut and Jamie Johnson added his team leading 8th of the campaign. Jordan Pearce went to the bench after surrendering 2 goals on 4 shots in the first 10 minutes and was replace by McCollum who made 27 saves on 30 shots. 

The Rampage drew first blood when Selleck scored just 3:07 into the game. They extended the lead to two a few minutes later. Amadio went down to take away the pass, but the puck aquifers under him and right onto the stick of Esposito for a tap in. McCollum came in quietly for Pearce who remained on the bench with his mask on. Selleck and Amadio dropped the gloves in front of the net and squared off for a grappling match. Selleck for in a couple of shots early but it was pretty even. Fournier put Grand Rapids on the board when he rifled a shot from the circle past Markstrom for his first AHL goal. The Griffins dodged a bullet, escaping the period without giving up another goal while down by two men. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - San Antonio 9. 

Johnson knotted the score at two early in the period when a loose puck got through traffic and he pounced on it in the crease. The Rampage got it right back however as Thomas lasered a shot past McCollum into the to corner of the cage glove side. Fournier coughed up the puck at the point, allowing a dangerous shorthanded break. Ferraro beat Markstrom 4-on-4 but the puck just hit the post and went wide. Lashoff and Rabbit came to blows with Lashoff landing a couple of good ones but he couldn't stay on his feet and they both went to the ice. Exelby challenged Devin and stung the big winger with some hard blows before being separated by the officials. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - San Antonio 10. 

Andersson came late, picked up the rebound of a Tatar shot laying in front and banged it home to tie the score at three. The Griffins took their first lead of the game on a Janik point shot that was redirected in front by Andersson, high glove side. Ferraro stole the puck in the rampage zone and rang a shot off Markstrom's mask. San Antonio upped the pressure late in the period trying to get another goal to stay alive. Grand Rapids couldn't get the puck out of their own end for several minutes and it eventually ended up behind McCollum courtesy of Thomas to make it 4-4. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - San Antonio 5. 

The Rampage had the only two scoring chance in overtime and they both were beauties. The first saw the puck roll through the empty crease, but no one could get a stick on it to bury it. The second came when Robak stroked a shot from slot into the top corner of the net to end the game. Shots on goal: GR 0 - San Antonio 2. For the Game: GR 32 - San Antonio 34. 

Lines:
Nyquist - Johnson - Conner
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Parkes - Ferraro - Coetzee
Oslund - Aubry - Nestrasil 

Pairings:
Exelby - Pyett
Janik - #20 Fournier
Amadio - Lashoff

Starter: Pearce
Backup: McCollum

Scratches:
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (5 to 6 weeks)
Piche - Concussion
McDonald - Concussion
Callahan - Ankle
Raedeke

PP:
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Fournier - Janik

Conner - Johnson - Nyquist
Janik - Pyett


PK:
Andersson - Pare
Exelby - Pyett/Amadio

Ferraro - Nyquist
Janik - Fournier

Conner - Johnson

Observations:

Gleason Fournier had a pretty impressive debut. He had his head up all night and really can move the puck up ice. He had a couple of turnovers he will have to work on, but for what he brings on the other side of the ice he didn't look any worse than Pyett normally does.

Speaking of Pyett, he actually had a pretty decent game paired with Exelby. I didn't notice any glaring mistakes, but I did notice him bring the puck to the net a couple of times.

The fourth line did a great job the entire game, and really noticed some chemistry forming. At one point they cycled the puck deep in the San Antonio zone and gave the Rampage fits. They even generated a couple of scoring chances with Nestrasil making some nice moves on a give and go with Aubry.

Lashoff also deserves mention, despite his -2 on the night he had an effective game and played with more of a physical edge. He was noticeable for the right reasons and needs to keep it up.

Official Game Sheet

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