CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights.
The San Antonio Rampage suffered their first shootout loss of the season as they fell 5-4 to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday afternoon at the AT&T Center. The Rampage’s record stands at 36-25-3-1 good for 76 points in a tight West Division race.
The line of Matt Beaudoin, Alex Picard and Randy Robitaille was responsible for nine of San Antonio’s 11 points in the contest as each player recorded a three-point night. Beaudoin scored two goals and one assist giving him the third star honors while Picard collected one goal and two assists and Robitaille tallied three assists.
The Griffins were the first to light the lamp as center Brent Raedeke opened the scoring 2:28 after the initial puck drop. Travis Ehrhardt received the puck along the right wing boards and sent a cross-ice pass to Raedeke at the left goal post who then redirected the rubber to the low stick side of Rampage goaltender Matt Climie.
Just 59 seconds later, Rampage leading scorer Matt Beaudoin netted the equalizer for a 1-1 score. Center Randy Robitaille backhanded a pass from the crease to an open Beaudoin whose shot hit the right leg padding of Griffins netminder Jordan Pearce before bouncing into the back of the net. Alex Picard supplied the additional helper.
San Antonio took a 2-1 lead when Viktor Tikhonov picked the pocket of a Griffins defenseman and skated ahead of the pack to the crease where he backhanded a pass to Dane Byers across the crease after moving Pearce out of position giving Byers the opportunity to punch it home for his first goal in a Rampage sweater 11:42 into the first period.
The Rampage extended their lead to 3-1 on Beaudoin’s second goal of the night at the 2:55 mark of the second period. Skating through the right circle, Robitaille sent a cross-ice pass to Picard at the left circle who in turn dished the puck across the crease to Beaudoin who was positioned to tap it in just inside the left post.
Grand Rapids cut the Rampage lead to 3-2 when Ehrhardt, stationed behind the net, found right wing Francis Pare above the right goal post for a shot that went over Climie’s left shoulder and into the back of the net at the 10:08 mark of the middle stanza.
San Antonio claimed a 4-2 advantage as left wing Alex Picard scored his ninth power-play goal of the season. Beaudoin’s pass from the right goal line connected with Picard, who was camped out in the crease, and redirected the puck to the low stick side of Pearce at the 11:36 mark of the second period.
The Griffins scored 9:32 into the third period when Ilari Filppula sent a drop pass to defenseman Derek Meech at the right faceoff dot where he fired a bullet that went high glove side of Climie for a 4-3 score.
Grand Rapids evened the score at 4-4 when Tomas Tatar’s centering feed found the stick of Brendan Smith who snapped a shot to the stick side of Climie and into the back of the net with 4:22 remaining in the contest.
Neither team was able to light the lamp at the end of regulation sending the game into overtime and eventually a shootout.
Griffins center Jamie Johnson registered the lone shootout goal in the sixth round to give Grand Rapids a 5-4 edge over San Antonio.
The Rampage were outshot 20-3 in the final frame and 48-25 overall in the contest.
Climie turned aside 43 of 47 Griffins shot attempts while Pearce made 21 saves on 25 shot attempts.
The Rampage return to the ice on Wednesday night when they drop the puck against the Milwaukee Admirals at 4:30 p.m. at the AT&T Center.