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BATTLE OF WILLS

San Antonio Rampage 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 SO

Feb. 14, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – An old fashioned goaltending duel went the way of the visitors on Friday, as the San Antonio Rampage grabbed a 2-1 shootout win over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena.
 
The Rampage, who rallied from three goals down during the third period to steal a 6-5 overtime victory over Grand Rapids on Jan. 26 in San Antonio, improved to 2-0 against the Midwest Division leaders thanks to a stellar effort by goaltender Michael Houser. The rookie turned aside 34 shots in regulation and three more during overtime before denying all four Griffins in the shootout, overshadowing Tom McCollum’s similarly strong 33-save effort. 
 
These teams will complete their weekend set with a 7 p.m. rematch on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
 
Following a scoreless opening period, the Griffins (30-15-2-3) applied pressure on Houser early in the second and broke through at the 4:30 mark, when Ryan Sproul found Teemu Pulkkinen for an easy backdoor goal. But Grand Rapids’ lead lasted only 54 seconds, as Bobby Butler picked off an Adam Almquist pass at the point, skated to the top of the right circle and whistled a rising shot on net that glanced off the chest of Drew Shore and snuck inside the right post.
 
Each squad continued to rack up shots – including 18 by Grand Rapids in the second and 13 by San Antonio in the third – only to be thwarted time and again by the opposing netminder.
 
When the game justly reached its shootout conclusion, Butler and Shore were each able to solve McCollum, while Houser turned back Almquist, Louis-Marc Aubry, Cory Emmerton and Calle Jarnkrok in succession to seize the extra point for the Rampage (20-21-3-5). 
 
Despite still being under 0.500 for the season, San Antonio has now earned points in nine consecutive games (5-0-2-2). By contrast, the Griffins remain 15 games above break-even overall but have dropped four straight at home (0-3-0-1).
 
Three Stars: 1. SA Butler (assist, shootout goal); 2. SA Houser (W, 37 saves); 3. SA Shore (goal, shootout goal)

 
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