American Hockey League-leading scorer Jiri Hudler notched three more goals Wednesday night, helping the Grand Rapids Griffins earn a 6-3 victory over the San Antonio Rampage. Chris Osgood, making the first of two expected starts while on a rehabiliation assignment, made 22 saves on the 25 shots he faced.
Osgood made his first start of the season after going down to a groin injury early in training camp.
The Griffins opened the scoring on goals by Bryan Helmer and Matt Ellis at 3:41 and 5:29 of the first. Ellis’ goal, scored while shorthanded, came after Nate DiCasmirro skated around San Antonio goalie Steve Passmore and lured him out of the net. He sent a pass from behind the goal back through the crease to Ellis, who was wide open for the goal.
The Rampage answered quickly, scoring before their power play was up. At 6:19, Osgood couldn’t hold the puck after a long shot from Mike Bishai and it bounced out to the side of the crease, where Steve Gainey was open to knock in the rebound.
Just 2:24 later, Bishai added a goal of his own on a quick one-timer from the slot off a pass from Martin Sonnenberg.
The Griffins regained the lead on Hudler’s first goal at 11:17 of the second, the only goal of that period. While being knocked down by Brad Ference, Hudler wristed a shot past Passmore on the short side from the left circle.
Hudler scored again at 1:26 of the third, this time on a one-timer from the slot. Darryl Bootland added a goal at 6:17 before Hudler completed his hat trick at 8:22 with a big blast from the left circle.
Layne Ulmer scored San Antonio’s third goal to complete the game’s scoring with 8:01 remaining. With the Rampage on the power play, the puck pinballed from one side of the net to the other, leaving Osgood scrambling and spinning. He was left on his stomach, facing the goal, unable to see the puck as Ulmer picked it up and flipped it into the net.
Passmore made 22 saves on 28 shots for San Antonio. The Rampage went two-for-five on the power play while the Griffins converted one of their four chances.
Osgood, who last played in the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings during the 1994-95 season, is expected to be in net when the Griffins visit the Houston Aeros on Friday.