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RAMPAGE RUMBLE

SAN ANTONIO – The Grand Rapids Griffins suffered their first season opener loss since 2002 Friday night in San Antonio after falling 5-4 to the Rampage in overtime at the AT&T Center. Prior to the loss, the Griffins had won their last 13 overtime decisions on the road (10 regular season, three playoffs) since falling at Chicago on November 30th 2002.
 
Returning Coach Greg Ireland and his troops faced a 2-0 deficit at the conclusion of the first period after the Rampage scored back-to-back goals 46 seconds apart. Tyson Nash netted the first as he jammed a rebound past Jimmy Howard off a shot from Keith Yandle at the 14:27 mark. The second came off Yanick Lehoux’s stick when he received a cross-ice pass from Matthew Spiller and found the open net.

The first Griffins’ goal of the season went to Josh Langfeld less than a minute into the second frame. Matt Ellis fed Langfeld the puck in the high-slot allowing him to bury a shot under the cross bar during a power play. But the comeback was soon halted at the fault of Nash tallying his second goal of the game after Howard made the initial save during a 2-on-1 break at 6:52. The Rampage capitalized on another odd-man break nearly two minutes later when Jeff Taffe skated in and fired a shot past the goaltender.

Similar to last season, mounting comebacks is a Grand Rapids specialty as the Griffins erased San Antonio’s three-goal lead. Darryl Bootland and Krystofer Kolanos assisted Jason Beckett in notching his first goal as a Griffin at 9:25 of the second, soon to be followed by a lamp-lighter from Brendan Brooks during a power play as Kolanos notched his second helper.

The tying goal came at 2:27 of the final period courtesy of Kip Miller as he slid the puck through David LeNeveu’s pads off a pass from Langfeld, who earned his second point of the contest with the assist. Both teams remained scoreless through the final minutes of regulation forcing overtime.

Grand Rapids found themselves on the losing end of their season opener for the first time since 2002 (1998 road opener) at 3:18 into the extra session when Daniel Winnik bounced the puck off the far post and over the goal line. Howard finished with 26 saves on 31 shots.

The Griffins continue their two-game stint in Texas tomorrow night in Houston as they battle the Aeros at 8:35 p.m. EDT


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