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GRIFFINS FALL 4-3 TO RAMPAGE

Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins’ Halloween-themed jerseys weren’t quite enough to scare up a comeback on Saturday night, as the San Antonio Rampage held on for a 4-3 victory at Van Andel Arena.


Niklas Kronwall scored twice for the Griffins, including a power play tally with 39 seconds left that cut their two-goal deficit in half, but Grand Rapids was unable to net the equalizer despite a 6-on-4 flurry in the Rampage zone during the waning seconds.


The Griffins, who fell to 5-2-0-0 with their second straight loss, will look to rebound next Friday and Saturday when they continue their record nine-game homestand with a two-game set against the Houston Aeros.


A furious stretch of 2:34 during the opening period saw each team score twice, with the Griffins answering each Rampage goal. Nathan Horton scored from the doorstep at 6:59 to give the visitors the early lead, but Eric Manlow skated down the slot and backhanded a shot through Travis Scott’s five-hole at 8:47 to knot the score. Josh Olson finished off a tic-tac-toe play at 9:24 to re-assert San Antonio’s advantage, which lasted only nine seconds before Kronwall scored from 40 feet.


The Griffins had racked up a total of 24 shots by the six-minute mark of the second frame, but it was the Rampage who again would take the lead on just their eighth shot of the night. Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who played the last two seasons with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, was found wide open in the slot and fired the puck past Joey MacDonald at 6:22.


The score remained 3-2 until the latter half of the third period, when San Antonio (4-4-1-0) increased its cushion to two. From the left boards, Stephen Weiss sent a pass towards the crease that a charging Gregory Campbell got a stick on, deflecting the puck over MacDonald and into the back of the net at 11:28.


After a five-minute high-sticking penalty was called on San Antonio’s Filip Novak with 1:27 left in the game, the Griffins pulled to within one on Kronwall’s second of the night, a blast from the blueline with 39 ticks left. Despite pulling MacDonald for a 6-on-4 advantage in skaters, Grand Rapids’ rally fell short.


Scott denied 33 of the Griffins’ 36 shots to earn first star honors, while MacDonald made 16 saves in the losing effort.


The Griffins’ orange and black jerseys raised $7,805 for Big Brothers Big Sisters in a post-game auction, with Travis Richards’ sweater garnering a high bid of $600.


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