GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Neither threat of snow storm nor flurry of Rampage power plays could keep the Grand Rapids Griffins from their appointed rounds on Wednesday, as they avenged a pair of early season losses in San Antonio with a 4-2 victory at Van Andel Arena.
The Rampage received the game’s first seven power plays and finished with a 7-2 advantage in opportunities, but the Griffins never trailed while winning their second straight game and extending their home-ice winning streak over San Antonio to seven games, dating to April 16, 2005.
Grand Rapids (15-9-0-0) will continue its homestand on Friday when the Lake Erie Monsters visit at 6:30 p.m., a game that will be immediately followed by a college hockey tilt between Grand Valley State and Ferris State.
The Griffins, who allowed San Antonio to convert six of 10 power play chances en route to being outscored 14-6 in a two-game sweep in the Alamo City in mid-October, stifled all four of the Rampage’s power play chances over the game’s first 21 minutes, keeping things scoreless.
After killing off a fifth consecutive San Antonio advantage early in the second, Grand Rapids claimed a 1-0 lead on a penalty shot at 10:18. Francis Pare, who had been pulled down on a breakaway, beat Josh Tordjman to snap his season-long, 21-game goal drought and mark the Griffins’ first successful penalty shot since Ryan Oulahen solved Peoria’s Marek Schwartz on Nov. 8, 2008.
Jeremy Williams pushed the home team’s cushion to two goals just 3:25 later, breaking a modest six-game skid without a goal by hammering home a Patrick Rissmiller feed from the right circle.
Grand Rapids entered the game 8-0 when leading after two periods – tied for the second-best mark in the AHL – but that sparkling record was put in jeopardy by the continuing disparity in penalties, which soon increased to 7-0 in favor of the visitors. San Antonio made good on its second 5-on-3 chance of the night 3:25 into the third, with Kevin Porter roofing a sharp-angle shot over Daniel Larsson from below the right circle.
The Griffins finally received their first power play with 11:01 remaining, but despite a subsequent call that gave them 1:04 of 5-on-3 time, they were unable to rebuild their lead. They made up for it at the 13:39 mark, though, as Kris Newbury received a pass from Mattias Ritola at the top of the circles and blistered a shot into the cage to make it 3-1.
San Antonio (9-12-2-1) pulled back within one when Brett MacLean snapped a shot past Larsson from the slot with 3:07 left, but with Tordjman on the bench in favor of an extra Rampage attacker in the final minute, Jan Mursak tossed the puck into the empty net with 36.5 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Larsson led the Griffins’ strong penalty-killing effort with 31 saves, while Tordjman suffered the loss with 24 stops.
Three Stars: 1. GR Pare (goal, assist); 2. GR Newbury (goal); 3. SA Porter (power play goal)