GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids’ Harri Sateri and Manitoba’s Eric Comrie battled to an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better goaltending stalemate on Wednesday before Carter Camper decided matters with his second overtime goal against the Moose this season, as the Griffins regained sole possession of first place in the Central Division with a 2-1 victory at Van Andel Arena.
Taking a pass from Matt Puempel out of the right corner, Camper walked in from the point and launched a wrister that sailed over Comrie’s glove 3:37 into the extra session, snapping Manitoba’s four-game winning streak and giving Grand Rapids’ its third consecutive triumph.
Comrie finished with 34 saves for the Moose (19-18-3-1) while Sateri logged 29 stops to improve to 3-0 with a 1.31 goals against average and a 0.946 save percentage in his last three clashes with Manitoba. Moreover, while winning his last three games overall, Sateri has posted an identical 1.31 GAA with an even more impressive 0.961 save percentage.
The Griffins (24-13-3-4), now two points up on Iowa for the division lead, will complete a four-game homestand by hosting the San Jose Barracuda both Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Each team received two power play chances during a tightly played opening period, but only Manitoba capitalized to take a 1-0 lead to the locker room. Sami Niku made a nice play to keep a Griffins clearing attempt in at the left point then threw the puck across to Seth Griffith, who skated in before finding Logan Shaw in the left circle for a one-timer at 18:54.
Grand Rapids pulled even 10:47 into the second frame. After intercepting the puck at the left point, Tyler Spezia centered a pass to Wade Megan, who slammed it home from the top of the circles for his sixth point (4-2—6) in the last three games. Megan, who now has points in seven of nine games (6-5—11) since his reassignment from Detroit, had factored in six of the Griffins’ last seven goals to that point.
Niku received a double minor for high-sticking Spezia with just over five minutes remaining in the period but Grand Rapids once again could not take advantage, making them 0-for-6 on the night and preserving the 1-1 deadlock through 40 minutes. The Griffins finished 0-for-7 while Manitoba converted one of its four attempts.
A scoreless third period saw Comrie and Sateri turn aside 11 and seven shots, respectively, sending the game past regulation time. Puempel had a partial breakaway 1:40 into the overtime period, but his snap shot from the right circle was swallowed by Comrie’s pads. Sateri more than returned the favor by denying breaks by Griffith and Cameron Schilling, setting the stage for the heroics by Camper, who also provided the nightcap in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 overtime win against the Moose on Nov. 17 at Van Andel Arena.
Despite the setback, the Moose now own an eight-game point streak (6-0-1-1) that has bumped them into a tie with Rockford for seventh place in the Central.
Notes: The Griffins improved to 15-3-1-3 overall and 5-0-0-1 in their last six at Van Andel Arena, where they’ve lost just once in regulation since that Nov. 17 overtime win against Manitoba (11-1-1-2)…Chris Terry, whose 23 goals lead the AHL, missed his fourth straight game due to injury…Filip Hronek is expected to rejoin the Griffins on Thursday after being reassigned by the Red Wings.
Three Stars: 1. GR Sateri (OTW, 29 saves); 2. GR Camper (overtime goal); 3. MB Comrie (OTL, 34 saves)