Rampage fall to Griffins in shootout, 5-4

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The San Antonio Rampage were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-4 in a shootout at the AT&T Center on Tuesday night. The Rampage received a multi-point effort from forwards Bill Thomas (two goals, one assist) and Mark Cullen (two assists) in the loss.

San Antonio forward Bracken Kearns scored a power-play goal 6:32 into the opening frame to put the Rampage ahead 1-0. He corralled the rebound of his own shot and deposited the puck behind Grand Rapids backstop Tom McCollum for his 16th marker of the year. Thomas and Cullen picked up the assists on the play.

The Rampage extended their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Thomas at 12:57 of the first. He registered his 21st goal of the year on a shot from the left circle that soared past McCollum’s left arm. Defenseman Colby Robak notched the lone helper on the Thomas marker.

Right wing Michal Repik potted his 13th goal of the year on a one-timer to give San Antonio a 3-0 edge at the 2:31 mark of the second period. He took a pass from center Jon Matsumoto and fired a shot past McCollum’s glove for the score. Left wing Ondrej Roman recorded the secondary assist on the third San Antonio goal.

Grand Rapids answered with a tally of their own nearly two minutes later when the Griffins cashed in on a two-on-one rush. Left wing Chris Minard received a pass in the crease from center Jamie Johnson and tucked the puck behind Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom for his 14th goal of the campaign. The secondary assist on the play went to right wing Chris Conner.

The Rampage restored their three-goal lead 11:03 into the second with Thomas’ second goal of the contest. His backhander from the slot found its way past McCollum and put San Antonio ahead 4-1. Cullen and Caruso were credited with the assists on Thomas’ 22nd goal of 2011-12.

Griffins left wing Tomas Tatar scored at the 4:44 mark of the third period to make the count 4-2 in favor of San Antonio. Tatar recorded his 16th goal of the year with a wrister from the top of the crease that snuck through Markstrom’s legs. Center Joakim Andersson and right wing Francis Pare picked up the helpers on the Tatar score.

Minard’s second goal of the evening at 5:59 of the final frame brought the Griffins to within one goal, at 4-3. He took a pass from Johnson and ripped a shot over Markstrom’s left shoulder for his 15th marker of the season. Defenseman Gleason Fournier tallied the secondary assist on the play.

The Griffins scored their third goal in a 2:07 span to knot the score at 4-4. Andersson found a cutting Tatar in the slot and Tatar buried a one-timer into the net to record his 17th goal of 2011-12. Pare notched his second assist of the game with the alternate helper on the Tatar score.

After a scoreless overtime, Griffins center Louis-Marc Aubry recorded the game-winning goal in the seventh round of the shootout to hand Grand Rapids the victory.

McCollum made 41 saves on 45 Rampage shots for his seventh win of the season. He also stopped six of the seven shots he faced in the shootout. Markstrom denied the Griffins on 30 of 34 attempts and made five stops on seven shots in the shootout.

San Antonio (33-26-3-2) and Grand Rapids face off again at the AT&T Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. (CST) to conclude their two-game set.

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