AT&T Center – Teams generally improve their game play as the playoffs get closer. For the San Antonio Rampage, they put together their best effort of the season as they battled the Grand Rapids Griffins in possible playoff preview. The result would be the silver and black breaking more franchise records and clinching the division title.
The Rampage (45-21-5-1) clinched their first West Division title in franchise history as they earned a 2-0 win over the Griffins (43-21-6-2) in front of 8.734 fans at the AT&T Center on Friday evening.
“It obviously was one of the goals to win the division,” Rampage head coach Tom Rowe said. “We have the players to do it and they proved it tonight. I thought it was a real solid game for us against an excellent team, very well coached. It’s a big win, we can’t stop there. It’s a big win and the guys know if they play a certain way they will have success.”
Despite out-shooting Grand Rapids 13-5 in the opening period, we went into the first intermission scoreless. San Antonio finally got on the scoreboard in the middle frame when Quinton Howden put home a rebound off a Connor Brickley shot past Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum at 10:11. The Rampage took their 1-0 lead into the final period of play.
Garrett Wilson put the Rampage up 2-0 when he deflected Greg Zanon’s shot past McCollum at 9:55 of the final frame to seal the win for San Antonio. The win combined with the Texas Stars’ 4-3 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs clinched the West Division title for the Silver and Black.
Sam Brittain stopped all 22 shots he faced to earn his first AHL shutout of his young career. McCollum made 33 saves on 35 San Antonio shots in the loss.
“It was a great team effort, we came out and we played our game plan,” Brittain said. “We limited their scoring chances. It was a calm night for me, they had some good flurries there and we were able to shut them down.”
San Antonio finished the game 0-for-2 on the power play, while Grand Rapids were 0-for-3 on their man advantage chances for the game.
The Rampage will return to the ice tomorrow night when they host the Griffins for the final time this season at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center.