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The San Antonio Rampage battled back from a 4-3 deficit to tie the game late and beat the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-4 in overtime at Van Andel Arena on Friday night. Colby Robak scored the game-winning goal 30 seconds into the extra session to pick up his fourth goal of the season and give the Rampage their sixth victory on the year.
Rampage left wing Eric Selleck scored his first goal of the 2011-12 campaign to give San Antonio an early 1-0 lead just over three minutes after the initial faceoff. Forward Wacey Rabbit’s centering pass went off of Selleck’s leg in front of the net and Selleck swept the loose puck past Grand Rapids goaltender Jordan Pearce for the first score. Winger Joe Devin tallied his first helper of the year on the play with the secondary assist.
San Antonio struck again nearly seven minutes later when forward Greg Rallo finished off a two-on-one to give the Rampage a 2-0 edge. Rallo’s third goal of the season that beat Pearce low was assisted by center Scott Timmins and winger Evan Barlow, who was making his season debut with the Rampage.
A power-play goal from Griffins defenseman Gleason Fournier cut the Rampage advantage to 2-1 at 15:13 of the first. Fournier took a feed from left wing Tomas Tatar and snapped a shot under the pads of San Antonio goalie Jacob Markstrom for his first career American League goal in his AHL debut. Grand Rapids goalie Thomas McCollum, who came on in relief of Pearce halfway through the first period, picked up an assist for his first point of the year.
Jamie Johnson’s eighth goal of the season tied the score for Grand Rapids at 2-2 just over three minutes into the second stanza. Left wing Gustav Nyquist lost control of the puck in the slot before it deflected in front of the net to Johnson, who quickly fired the puck behind Markstrom for the tally. Right wing Chris Conner recorded his 14th assist of the season with the secondary helper on Johnson’s goal.
The Rampage answered back with a goal from right wing Bill Thomas 43 seconds later. Thomas’s second goal of the season came off the rebound of his own shot as he beat a sprawling McCollum to restore San Antonio’s one-goal lead. Forwards Bracken Kearns and Mark Cullen notched the assists on Thomas’s goal.
Grand Rapids tied the game for the second time when center Joakim Andersson backhanded the rebound of a Tatar shot attempt over Markstrom’s left leg pad at 1:48 of the final period to knot the score at 3-3. Right wing Francis Pare totaled his fifth point on the year with an assist on the tying goal.
Andersson struck again with a power-play goal at 7:25 of the third to give the Griffins their first lead of the game, 4-3. Nyquist set up Andersson’s second goal with a pass to defenseman Doug Janik at the blue line. Janik took a slap shot from the point that Andersson got a stick on and the puck caromed past Markstrom for the score.
The Rampage received a second goal from Thomas to even the score at 4-4 with 3:04 remaining in the game. Cullen sent a pass to Kearns behind the net and Kearns fed Thomas, who one-timed the feed from the top of the crease to beat McCollum above his right leg pad to send the game to overtime.
Robak won the game for the Rampage just 30 seconds into the extra session with a slap shot over McCollum’s right shoulder. He picked up the puck at the Grand Rapids blue line and wheeled to the top of the left circle before firing a blast into the back of the net. Defenseman Mike Kostka and Thomas received the assists on the goal, capping off a three-point night for the San Antonio forward.
Markstrom made 28 saves on 32 Griffins shots for his second win of the season while McCollum turned aside 27 of 30 Rampage shots in the Grand Rapids loss. Pearce stopped two of four Rampage shots before being relieved by McCollum.
The Rampage (6-9-0-0) head to Chicago tomorrow night for their second game of a seven-game road trip at 7:00 p.m. at Allstate Arena.