Hats off to Megan in Griffins' Win
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - From 2013-18, the Grand Rapids Griffins won 103 regular season and playoff games with Jared Coreau between their pipes. On Friday, they earned their first victory with him in the opposing net, a 5-1 decision over the San Antonio Rampage at Van Andel Arena.
Wade Megan notched the Griffins' first hat trick of the season while Coreau did nearly all he could against the team he backstopped to the 2017 Calder Cup championship, finishing the night with 42 saves on 46 shots and keeping San Antonio's deficit within a goal until the final five minutes when Grand Rapids pulled away.
Meanwhile, Harri Sateri continued his recent dominance for the first-place Griffins (29-16-3-4), making 20 saves to improve his record since Jan. 12 to 7-2-0 with a 1.78 goals against average and a 0.938 save percentage.
These Central Division rivals will stage a rematch during Star Wars Night at Van Andel Arena on Saturday. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.
Carter Camper couldn't convert a partial breakaway off the opening faceoff, but the fast-firing Griffins put a shot past Coreau just 1:07 into the game. After battling to keep possession of the puck behind the San Antonio net, Dominic Turgeon slid a pass across to Matt Puempel, who sent a feed out front to Colin Campbell near the right post for a quick shot that found a seam between the goalie and the iron.
Coreau denied a slap shot by Turgeon with just over nine minutes left in the first to keep it a 1-0 game, despite Grand Rapids' 13-4 shot advantage to that point, but the Griffins again broke through with 4:14 remaining during a power play. Megan won a faceoff in the right circle and made a beeline to the slot to tip home Dennis Cholowski's wrist shot from the point.
Coreau, who faced only 29 shots while shutting out the Griffins in San Antonio on Feb. 1, was bombarded with 22 during the opening 20 minutes, while his teammates returned only six on Sateri.
San Antonio (24-22-4-0) tallied its lone goal 6:52 into the second period on a near carbon-copy of Megan's marker, as Nolan Stevens planted himself just outside the crease to redirect Jordan Schmaltz's shot past Sateri. Coreau then held the margin to one by turning away a Puempel breakaway with 6:40 left in the frame.
Despite being outshot 44-19 deep into the third period, the Rampage only trailed 2-1 until Megan all but sealed matters with his second goal at the 15:44 mark. Martin Frk made a great play to speed around a Rampage player along the left boards, steal a loose puck and center it back to Megan, who snapped a shot over Coreau's blocker from the high slot.
Filip Zadina scored into an empty net from long range at 16:35, before Megan completed the hat trick by finishing off a 2-on-1 with Frk with just two ticks left on the clock. It marked Megan's first three-goal performance since Dec. 28, 2016 for Chicago at Rockford.
The Griffins' 47 shots were a season high, eclipsing the 43 they totaled on Dec. 7 in Rockford.
Notes: Frk played his first game at Van Andel Arena since June 13, 2017, when he scored the Calder Cup-clinching goal in Game 6 of the Finals...A tribute to Coreau and his Griffins tenure was played on the arena's videoboard during the game's first timeout...The Griffins snapped the Rampage' six-game point streak (3-0-3-0) that had moved them to within two points of a playoff spot...Grand Rapids went 1-for-4 on the power play while San Antonio failed on its only opportunity.
Three Stars: 1. GR Megan (hat trick); 2. GR Sateri (W, 20 saves); 3. SA Coreau (L, 42 saves)
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