02/19/2008 9:39 PM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from three one-goal deficits to post a 5-4 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday at Van Andel Arena.
Trailing 3-2 midway through the second period, the Griffins (22-26-2-5) tallied three unanswered goals to defeat the Rampage (29-16-3-7), owners of the third-best record in the Western Conference. They’ll look for their third win on the current home stand this Friday when the Manitoba Moose pay their first visit of the season at 7 p.m.
The Rampage capitalized off a turnover deep in the Grand Rapids zone to grab the upper hand 4:34 into the contest, as Bill Thomas snapped a shot past Adam Berkhoel from the left circle. Grand Rapids answered during a power play at the 13:28 mark, when Carl Corazzini’s sharp-angle shot from the right side pinballed off David LeNeveu and fell across the line.
San Antonio used its own advantage to go back on top 2-1 with 46 ticks remaining in the frame. After the Griffins were unable to clear their zone, David Spina collected a carom off the end boards and lifted a shot inside the far post while standing below the left goal line.
The Griffins made it 2-for-3 on the power play by again knotting the score 7:28 into the second period. Taking a cross-ice pass from Mark Cullen out of the right corner, Garrett Stafford teed up a shot atop the left circle and fired a cannon past LeNeveu. But the Rampage soon took their third lead of the night on the game’s fourth consecutive power play tally, with Chris Durno scoring from point-blank range at 11:40.
Once again the Griffins would respond to tie the game at 3-3. Exactly 1:50 later, Mattias Ritola sped into the San Antonio zone, gobbled up a loose puck and unleashed a wrist shot the deflected off the netminder’s glove before settling into the back of the net. Grand Rapids finally took its first lead with two minutes remaining before intermission. Evan McGrath led a 2-on-1 break down the right side and fed a pass across to Francis Lemieux, who put a redirection past LeNeveu for his first goal as a Griffin. San Antonio coach Greg Ireland used the occasion to lift LeNeveu in favor of Josh Tordjman.
Darren McCarty netted his fourth goal of the season just 41 seconds into the third to make it a 5-3 contest. Ritola’s shot deflected off a Rampage stick right to McCarty, who roofed the puck over Tordjman’s glove from the bottom of the right circle. He also had an assist on the night, giving him seven points (4-3—7) in six games as a Griffin.
Matt Murley cut the visitors’ deficit to one with 5:05 remaining, depositing a rebound from the left side. But the Griffins’ defense held strong the rest of the way, with Berkhoel posting 32 saves for his third win in his last four decisions. Tordjman (six saves) suffered the loss in relief of LeNeveu, who finished with 13 stops.
The Griffins’ offense has exploded for 15 goals since Friday’s 6-3 win over Lake Erie, their highest three-game total since potting the same number from Oct. 28-Nov. 4, 2006.