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Griffins Rally Past Rampage 7-4

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Lorito leads the way with a pair of powerplay tallies...

Thomas McCollum
Thomas McCollum
Jason “Stripe” Kasiorek

The Griffins overcame a slow start that caused starter Jared Coreau to be sent to the shower in the first period to score 5 unanswered goals and hand the visiting San Antonio Rampage a 7-4 loss. Trailing 3-1 and 4-2 the first half of the game, the home team scored three powerplay goals and a shorthanded goal to cap off an improbable comeback. Matt Lorito scored a pair of man-advantage markers (5,6), and the Griffins also got goals from Robbie Russo (2), Turner Elson (5), Colin Campbell (3), Corey Elkins (2) and Evgeny Svechnikov (2). Thomas McCollum was spectacular after coming in in relief, stopping 19 of 20 shots for his 2nd straight win.

Grand Rapids got off to a tough start in the first period, surrendering a goal to Nantel in the first two minutes. The Rampage forward came down the right side into the circle and spun around, lifting a slapper past Coreau to open the scoring. A little over three minutes later Turner Elson tied things up when he picked up the rebound of a Filip Hronek shot in front and found an opening stick side to bang in his 5th of the season. The tie was short-lived however as Coreau left room on the far side post and Agozzino cleanly beat him with a shot from the circle just 39 seconds later. Later in the period Thompson got behind the defense and took a pass from Siemens to go in alone on Coreau. Coreau went down and Thompson chipped the puck in over him for a 3-1. That spelled the end for Coreau who headed to the bench in favor of Tom McCollum after surrendering 3 goals on 6 shots. McCollum looked sharp stopping all six shots he faced in the period. Shots on goal: GR 12 - San 12.

With the Griffins enjoying a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the second, Matt Lorito took a back door pass at the edge of the circle and chipped the puck in to cut the lead to one. San Antonio's Nantel scored his second of the game just past the seven minute mark to restore the two goal margin. Grand Rapids lost a faceoff and the puck went right through Russo to Nantel wide open back door for an easy tap in. Matt Ford got sprung on a breakaway and was taken down from behind, but no penalty shot was called. Griffins with another man advantage, Ford won the faceoff back to Russo who drilled a shot in over Husso to pull back to within one. Two minutes later, Axel Holmstrom in traffic in the circle found Svechnikov back door and he stroked it in to knot the score at 4. Tyler Bertuzzi, playing very physical got involved in a big scrum along the end-boards and ended up at the bottom of the pile with Ranford. Hicketts taking hits along the boards to play the puck and gave it back and then some, eventually taking a roughing penalty. Shots on goal: GR 15 - San 7.

Colin Campbell crashed the net and in the ensuing scramble, Elson slid the puck to Hronek for a shot on goal from the slot and Campbell steered the rebound into a wide open cage to give the Griffins their first lead of the game. Midway through the period Lorito walked into the circle, picked up a rebound and sniped it in top shelf, popping the water bottle on the top of the net for a powerplay goal. Great play by Hronek battling in the corner against two rampage players and still came out with the puck. Dominic Turgeon was sprung on a breakaway and was hauled down from behind on the way to the net, this time a penalty shot was assessed. Turgeon burned in on net, made a little move and tried to go top shelf glove side, but Husso made the stop. Later in the period with Hronek in the box for boarding, Husso was summoned to the bench for an extra skater. Corey Elkins came out from behind the Griffins net with the puck and cleared it down the ice, right into the empty net for a shorthanded goal to push the lead to three. Ford hit Agozzino between the benches and Agozzino took exception to the hit. Elson came right in and started grappling with Agozzino, then eventually dropped the gloves. The Griffins forward landed several blows before the officials broke up the bout. Griffins win 7-4! Shots on goal: GR 10 - San 7. For the game: GR 37 - San 26.

Lines:

#26 Tangradi - #23 Turgeon - #39 Bertuzzi/#77 Svechnikov

#28 Lorito - #25 Holmstrom - #73 Puempel

#15 Elson - #39 Bertuzzi - #45 Campbell

# 55 Ford - #47 Elkins - #65 Shine

Pairings:

#18 Lashoff - #5 Russo

#2 Hicketts- #52 McIlrath

#20 Renouf - #13 Hronek

Starter: #31 Coreau

Backup: #30 McCollum

Scratches:

#9 Saarijarvi

#10 Street - Injured

#19 Esposito

#22 Carey

#29 Sadowy

PP:

Tangradi -Bertuzzi - Puempel

Hicketts - Lorito

Ford - Turgeon - Svechnikov

Hronek - Russo

PK:

Turgeon - Campbell

Lashoff - Hicketts

Elkins - Ford

Renouf - McIlrath

Observations:

What a difference having Colin Campbell back in the lineup makes! He was involved all night, both physically and offensively. He had several great scoring chances including a couple shorthanded. His play with Turgeon on special teams is a key to the shorthanded unit, and he has shown great chemistry with Elson at even strength, forcing turnovers and bringing energy.

Filip Hronek played a super game. He really showed off his skating and puck handling, moving the puck up ice and also being in great position to break up plays and pick off passes. He was solid in his own end, several times making the right play at the right time to move the puck out of danger. Despite only being credited with one shot on goal, he several great attempts, especially on the powerplay where he fired away at every opportunity. He really has improved leaps and bounds since even the beginning of this season, and has played well beyond his years.

Thomas McCollum came in cold and was solid, giving up just one goal on 20 shots and making a couple of glorious stops to keep his team in it long enough to mount the comeback. That is two strong appearances in a row for McCollum as he appears to be turning his rough start around.