March 28, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Antonio Rampage
SAN ANTONIO (March 28, 2013) - Goaltender Brian Foster made 39 saves in his first start of the season for the Rampage to backstop San Antonio (28-29-1-6) to a 4-1 victory over the Midwest division-leading Grand Rapids Griffins (37-22-3-3) on Thursday night in front of 5,290 fans at the AT&T Center.
The victory marked Rampage head coach Chuck Weber's 100th career American Hockey League win and snapped a four-game skid for the Silver and Black. San Antonio earned the series victory over the Griffins on the year (3-1-0-0) and own a perfect 7-0-0-0 record against Midwest Division foes at AT&T Center this season.
Rampage forward Jon Rheault tallied two goals in the game, while forward Wade Megan lit the lamp in his first professional game after signing an amateur tryout contract with the team this week. Jed Ortmeyer (one goal, one assist) and Zach Hamill (two assists) also registered a pair of points on the night.
Foster made his first start for the Rampage since Nov. 23, 2011, and held the Western Conference's top offense to only one goal and also turned aside a penalty shot in the third period. Entering the contest, Grand Rapids averaged 3.22 goals per game.
Megan opened the scoring on his first professional shot after signing an amateur tryout contract on Thursday. The former Boston University captain received a pass at full speed in the slot from Hamill and fired the shot into the back of the net at 9:13.
The Griffins had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:40 late in the first period. The Rampage were able to kill the penalties, though, much to the thanks of rookie defenseman John Lee, who made a great defensive play to get behind Foster and make a save in the crease while the Rampage were down two men.
Ortmeyer extended the Rampage lead to 2-0 with his sixth goal of the season at 1:50 of the middle frame. Lee got things started when he fired a shot from the top of the right circle. The rebound went all the way to defenseman Zach Miskovic, who followed suit with a blast from the point. The rebound again came to the Rampage and Ortmeyer ripped a one-timer from the left faceoff circle.
Grand Rapids made it a one-goal game when former Rampage captain Jeff Hoggan snipped a shot off the crossbar past Foster from the top of the right circle at 4:09 of the second period.
Forward Jon Rheault gave the Rampage their 11th power play goal in their last 16 games at 10:15 of the second period when he tipped in a shot from the point. Rookie defenseman George Hughes, who signed an ATO this week from St. Lawrence University where he led the nation in assists (38), collected his first professional helper on the goal. Hamill also picked up his second assist of the night on the tally.
Foster denied Mitch Callahan on a penalty shot at 9:24 of the third period. Callahan was issued the penalty shot after being hooked by a Rampage defenseman when he walked in on Foster.
Foster stoned Callahan once again with 7:35 remaining in the game after Callahan sprung a breakaway and tried to beat the Rampage netminder low. Foster held strong down the stretch of the game, turning aside all 17 shots he faced in the third period.
Rheault added an insurance goal with the empty net at 19:30 of the third period. Rheault and Hamill both had two-point nights and are tied atop the Rampage leaderboard with 40 points each.
San Antonio was outshot 40-16 in the game, but went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Grand Rapids was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Rampage hit the road for their final trip outside the state of Texas for a two-game set at Charlotte on Friday and Saturday. Puck drop for both games is 6 p.m. Tickets for all remaining Rampage home games start at $10 and can be purchased at the AT&T Center Southeast Box Office, by calling a Rampage representative at 210-444-5554 or online at sarampage.com.