STEVENS’ BIG DAY LEADS RAMPAGE PAST GRIFFINSJan 5, 2020
SAN ANTONIO, TX (Jan. 5, 2020) – Nolan Stevens scored two goals, including the game-winner in the closing minutes, to guide the San Antonio Rampage (13-14-9) to a 5-4 win in a back-and-forth contest against the Grand Rapids Griffins (14-19-4) on Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Center.
Klim Kostin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games, and goaltender Ville Husso earned his ninth win of the season with 24 saves.
Matt Puempel recorded a hat trick for the Griffins in a losing effort.
With the game tied 4-4 late in the third period, Stevens won an offensive zone face-off and forced the puck into the right-wing corner. Kostin dug the puck free and it came back to Stevens, who snapped a shot from just below the face-off dot under the arm of Griffins goaltender Calvin Pickard. Stevens’ second of the afternoon at 16:05 of the third period gave San Antonio a 5-4 lead.
The Rampage held on to snap an 0-4-2 stretch against the Griffins that stretched back to last season.
Dakota Joshua opened the scoring for the Rampage at 6:12 of the first period, taking a stretch pass from Niko Mikkola and beating Pickard on a breakaway for his first AHL goal and a 1-0 Rampage lead. Puempel tied the score for the Griffins at 12:13 when Dominic Turgeon intercepted an errant Rampage breakout pass and fed Puempel in the slot for a wrist shot past Husso.
Just 51 seconds into the second period, the Griffins took their only lead of the game when Eric Tangradi redirected a Taro Hirose feed in front for a power play goal, his sixth tally of the season to make it 2-1. The goal snapped an 0-for-22 drought for the Griffins power play.
Grand Rapids’ lead was short-lived, as Stevens found the rebound of a Mikkola shot at 4:18 and finished the rebound for his first of the game and sixth of the season to tie the score.
Stevens has five goals in his last six outings.
Just 43 seconds after Stevens had tied the score, Andreas Borgman beat Pickard from the high slot for his second goal of the season, and second in three games, to make it 3-2 Rampage.
Puempel struck again to tie the game just one minute after the Borgman goal. Josh Wesley lost his stick in the Rampage zone and was unable to play the puck near him. Puempel took it away and broke in alone on Husso to make it 3-3.
At 12:39 of the third period, Kostin buried a one-timer in the right circle on a feed from Ryan Olsen to give the Rampage a 4-3 lead with his seventh goal of the season. The power play goal extended Kostin’s goal-scoring streak to four games. He has six points during his streak.
The Griffins again answered quickly after the Kostin goal. Only 18 seconds after Kostin gave San Antonio the lead, Turner Elson carried the puck into the Rampage zone on a 2-on-1 and set up Puempel at the left post for Puempel’s third of the game and 12th of the season, tying the game 4-4.
Puempel had gone seven games without a goal since rejoining the Griffins lineup following an injury. He’s the third player this season to record a hat trick against the Rampage.
The ensuing face-off after the goal yielded another 2-on-1 rush for Puempel and Chris Terry, but Husso made a right pad save to keep the game tied.
Joshua registered his first two-point game in the AHL. Mikkola has two assists and Mitch Reinke had three assists. Nathan Walker saw his four-game goal scoring streak come to an end.
Borgman left the game injured in the opening minute of the third period and did not return.
The Rampage welcome the Chicago Wolves to the AT&T Center on Friday night, with puck-drop scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The game is available on Ticket 760 and streamed on AHLTV.
The 2019-20 season is presented by H-E-B.
Goals: Joshua (1); Stevens (6,7); Borgman (2); Kostin (7)
Ville Husso: 24 saves on 28 shots
Power Play: 1-for-3
Penalty Kill: 1-for-2
1) Nolan Stevens – SA
2) Dakota Joshua – SA
3) Matt Puempel – GR