GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 AT SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE 5
Jan. 5, 2020
SAN ANTONIO – Matt Puempel’s second career AHL hat trick was not enough as the Grand Rapids Griffins fell to the San Antonio Rampage 5-4 on Sunday at the AT&T Center.
The Griffins (14-19-2-2) and Rampage scored goals in bunches with four goals in the opening six minutes of the second frame and three goals in the final 7:30 of the contest. Puempel, who was on a nine-game scoring drought, tallied a hat trick for the second time this season. Eric Tangradi, who now has eight points (6-2—8) in his first eight games since returning to Grand Rapids on Dec. 6, scored in his first game back since missing the last five due to injury.
The Griffins will conclude their four-game road trip when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the division-leading Admirals on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST.
The Rampage (13-14-5-4) lit the lamp 6:12 into the contest when Dakota Joshua tallied his first goal of the season. Niko Mikkola, from the neutral zone, found a streaking Joshua skating into the Griffins’ zone on a breakaway. Joshua fired a shot from between the circles that snuck through the five-hole of Calvin Pickard.
Puempel evened the scoreline at the 12:13 mark when he tallied his 10th goal of the year. Dominic Turgeon forced a turnover on the right-wing boards and dropped the puck to Puempel inside the right circle. Puempel sent a rocket of a shot that sped past the blocker of Ville Husso and into the left corner of the net.
Tangradi made it a 2-1 game with his power-play goal 51 seconds into the second period. Taro Hirose skated down the left wing and centered the puck to Tangradi in front of the net. Tangradi’s one-timer beat the left leg of Husso to snap a six-game power play scoring drought for the Griffins.
The Rampage responded well and tied the game 4:18 into the frame when Nolan Stevens netted his first of two in the contest. Mikkola hammered a shot from the left point that was saved, but the rebound slid to the right side of the net and Stevens’ shot slipped past the left skate of Pickard.
Just 43 seconds later, San Antonio struck again when Andreas Borgman sailed a shot over the glove of Pickard. Tanner Kaspick sent the puck from the top of the left circle back to Borgman near the center of the zone, and his shot flew into the right corner of the net.
The goals continued to flow when Puempel secured his second of three in the game at the 6:01 mark. Puempel forced a turnover in the middle of the Rampage’s zone and his wrist shot floated over the glove of Husso to tie the game 3-3 heading into the final period.
The game remained tied until 7:21 left in the contest when Klim Kostin scored on a power play for his seventh tally of the season. From the bottom of the left circle, Ryan Olsen smashed a puck through the Griffins’ zone toward Kostin at the right face-off circle. Kostin’s one-timer fired over the left shoulder of Pickard to regain the lead for San Antonio.
That lead only lasted 18 seconds when Puempel made the Rampage pay once again with his 12th goal of the year. Turner Elson and Puempel skated out on a 2-on-1 break and Elson, from the right wing, centered the puck to Puempel on the left side of the crease. Puempel’s one-timer snuck past the out-stretched leg of Husso to give him his second hat trick of the season.
The Rampage scored the final goal of the contest with 3:55 remaining when Stevens netted his seventh goal of the season. The Griffins turned the puck over deep in their own zone and Stevens’ wrist shot from inside the right-wing circle crept under the glove of Pickard to give San Antonio a 5-4 victory.
Notes: The Rampage outshot Grand Rapids 44-28, which was the most shots allowed by the Griffins this season…The Griffins power play went 1-for-2 while the penalty kill went 2-for-3…Pickard was credited with 39 saves…Grand Rapids is now 5-4-1-0 in its last ten outings on foreign ice.
Three Stars: 1. SA Stevens (two goals); 2. SA Joshua (goal, assist); 3. GR Puempel (hat trick)
Photo by San Antonio Rampage