Griffins Survive Rampage Rally in 4-3 Win|
Special teams the difference in victory...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 30th, 2018
The home team roared out to a 3-0 lead, but had to hold on as the Rampage made a game of it, scoring two goals in a three and a half minute span of the second. The real story was the dominant special teams play of the Griffins who notched three power play goals, while killing off all seven attempts for San Antonio, running their streak to 22 straight kills over the last six games. Filip Hronek kept up his hot hand scoring a goal and an assist, giving him 3 goals and 5 assists in his last five games. Matt Puempel (10) and Tuner Elson (8) each added their 3rd goal in the last two games and Wade Megan (3) tallied the eventual game winner. Netminder Patrik Rybar made 26 stops to pick up his fifth win of the season.
Great play by Libor Sulak stickhanding the puck up ice and through traffic for a nice shot on Husso. San Antonio got a player behind the defense and Hronek had to hold him up to prevent a good chance, leaving the Griffins short a man. LaLeggia with a blast that hit the post but stayed out. Lots of pressure by the Rampage as the Griffins penalty killer got stuck out for the whole two minutes. The penalty expired and Megan stole the puck, starting a 2-on-1 with Turner Elson. Sick pass by Megan to bounce the puck off the boards to Elson. Hronek joined the rush and Elson hit him in the circle for a one-timer into the open side of the net. Big hip check by Lashoff knocked a Rampage player into his own net, and the net off the pegs. Dominik Shine got smoked into the board form behind and Libor Sulak went right over to have a talk with the guy that did it. Big scrum of guys pushing and shoving was eventually broke-up. Less than a minute later, MacEachern went after Hronek and gave him a wicked two handed slash to the back of the legs sending him to the ice and giving the Griffins a two-man advantage. Matt Puempel at the bottom of the circle, took a feed from Chris Terry, and with a flick of the wrists, the puck was behind Husso for a 2-0 lead. Broken play and Campbell corralled the puck and went up the gut for a point blank chance he ripped into Husso's pads. Shots on goal: GR 7 - San 9.
Filip Zadina fired a rocket on net from the right wing and Elson in front banged home the rebound to up the lead to 3-0. The play was reviewed for a awhile, but the goal was allowed to stand. A few minutes later, MacEachern started the Rampage rally, picking a corner and lasering a shot in over Rybar from the circle to cut the lead to 2. San Antonio scored again midway through the period when LaLeggia found Kyrou all alone in front for a quick goal that Rybar had no chance on. Carter Camper got boarded and went down in a heap, leading to another Griffins powerplay. San Antonio caught a bad break when they cleared the puck over the glass, resulting in a delay of game penalty and another 5-on-3 powerplay for the Griffins. Zadina with a wrister from the circle that got through to Megan screening in front for a redirection and a two goal lead. The Rampage pulled back within one a minute later when Kostin got behind the defense and slipped the puck past a startled Rybar five-hole to again pull within one. Shots on goal: GR 7 - San 12.
Colin Campbell with a great chance shorthanded chased after a blocked shot into the Rampage zone in a footrace with Husso who came way out of the net to play. The San Antonio netminder just cleared it away. Two on-one with Turner Elson and Matt Ford, Elson across to Ford for a big drive. Campbell with another steal and centered for Turgeon in front, but he backhanded it just over the empty side of the net. Jake Chelios lost the puck in his skates and the Rampage came up with it, shoving the puck and Rybar into the net after the whistle. The official was emphatic it was no goal. Great work by Givani Smith on the forecheck, keeping the Rampage deep in their own end. Back to back penalties to Elson and Megan left the Griffins down two men for 24 seconds nursing a one goal lead. The penalty killers were up to the task, killing off both penalties. Steal by Elson in front and Megan couldn't convert. Husso to the bench for the extra skater. Puempel blacked a shot and dished to Campbell who fired it down the ice and just wide of the empty net. The clock ran down on a Griffins 4-3 win keeping their point streak alive at 6 games. Shots on goal: GR 9 - San 8. For the game: GR 23 - San 29.
#15 Elson - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#73 Puempel - #23 Turgeon - #45 Colin Campbell
#55 Ford - #22 Megan - #11 Zadina
#54 Smith - #10 Holmstrom - #65 Shine
#27 Chelios - #4 Sulak
#18 Lashoff - #13 Hronek
#2 Hicketts - #9 Saarijarvi
Starter: #42 Patrik Rybar
Backup: #29 Harri Sateri
#52 McIlrath (Injured)
#55 Ford - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#73 Puempel - #13 Hronek
#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon/#10 Holmstrom - #11 Zadina
#27 Chelios - #2 Hicketts
#22 Megan - #23 Turgeon - #25 Terry
#13 Hronek - #19 Camper
#15 Elson - #22 Megan
#18 Lashoff - #2 Hicketts
#45 Campbell - #23 Turgeon
#13 Hronek - #4 Sulak
Filip Hronek is enjoying a very strong stretch of games, and is working at forcing his way on to the Red Wings roster with his play. Not only is he piling up points, but he has improved his defensive game and is playing with an edge. If he can keep this up a bit longer it might be tough to not give him another NHL audition. He really looks to playing with confidence and is just so slick in his puck movement and positioning.
Turner Elson is also enjoying the most productive stretch of his Griffins career, and has been a force in all three zones. His offense touch has been on display, playing with Terry and Camper as well as seeing powerplay time. But that has not come at the expense of the rest of his game as he has been an ace on the penalty kill and buzzes around the ice creating havoc and hitting anything in an opposing jersey. He and Colin Campbell play a similar style of game, and it is no coincidence that the Griffins current win streak started when both of them were in the lineup contributing.
I also wanted to give a shout out to Wade Megan on a good game. Tonight was the first night I really noticed him with any regularity. He has rode under the radar a bit, both early in the season when the team was trying to find their way, and then while trying to regain his legs and game after riding the pine in Detroit. He was involved offensively, but more importantly was very good defensively and on the PK. I also noticed what a good job he did of supporting zone entries, being in the right place at the right time to take the pass and bring the play in onside and get the puck on to the stick of a Griffins player.