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GRIFFINS BLITZ RAMPAGE 7-4

SAN ANTONIO – Five points by Kip Miller led the Grand Rapids Griffins to its largest scoring outburst in over two years as they won 7-4 over the San Antonio Rampage on Thursday night at the SBC Center. The last time Grand Rapids scored seven goals in a game was a 7-4 win over the Chicago Wolves on Feb. 26, 2003.

Miller tallied a hat trick and two assists to lead the scoring barrage. Grand Rapids, which was 1-25 over its last five games on the power play, converted a season-high three times on Thursday night.

The win pulls Grand Rapids within one point of Cincinnati for the final playoff spot with six games to play.

The teams traded goals in each of the first two periods. The Griffins twice battled from one-goal deficits to knot the score. Miller’s first goal evened the score at 2-2. He banged the rebound of his own shot past Patrick DesRochers at 3:34 of the second period.

With 8:15 remaining in the second period, Grand Rapids (39-31-2-2) earned its first lead of the night. Bryan Helmer blasted a shot from the blue line past DesRochers. The goal was hotly contested by San Antonio, which claimed the puck hit the crossbar, but referee Scott Hoberg maintained his ruling.

Miller tallied the team’s second power play marker when he capped a pretty passing play one minute into the third period. Eric Manlow fed a pass to Jiri Hudler on the left post. Hudler patiently drew DesRochers to that post before sliding a pass across the goalmouth to Miller who calmly tapped the disc into the open goal.

Petr Taticek notched his second goal of the game for San Antonio (25-42-3-5) at 6:01 of the third period.

Two minutes later, the Griffins recorded their third power play marker of the night. Eric Himelfarb found Miller with a pass deep in San Antonio’s territory. Miller promptly slid a pass across the crease to Manlow who quickly popped the puck into the open net for a 5-3 lead. Manlow leads the Griffins with 20 goals this season.

Joe Cullen pulled San Antonio within 5-4 with 5:42 left in the final frame.

Jeff Panzer stretched the Griffins’ lead to 6-4 when he took a pass from Darryl Bootland in stride through the San Antonio zone and beat DesRochers with 2:10 left in the game.

Miller provided the final margin when he scored into an empty net. The goal overtakes his brother Kevin for sole possession of ninth place on the Griffins’ all-time goals list with 48.

MacDonald made 21 saves for his 33rd win while DesRochers stopped 30 shots. The 33 wins for MacDonald is one shy of Mike Fountain’s franchise record.

The Griffins will travel to Utah to play two games against the Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m.

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