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HOUSTON A PROBLEM FOR GRIFFINS

Nov. 19, 2010 – Houston Aeros 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 0

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Anton Khudobin stopped all 28 Grand Rapids Griffins shots on Friday to claim his first shutout of the season and lead the Houston Aeros to a 5-0 victory at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (8-6-0-3), who tonight began a stretch in which they’ll play 16 of 22 games on home ice, will try to avenge Wednesday’s 3-0 loss at Lake Erie when they host the Monsters on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Aeros (9-6-1-2) struck first for the lone goal of the opening period, as Jon DiSalvatore took a pass to the left of the net and sped unopposed through the top of the crease before putting the puck past Thomas McCollum at the 6:40 mark.

Houston added to its lead during a power play 3:52 into the second period, when Jarod Palmer blasted home a shot from above the left circle. Brendan Smith nearly put the Griffins on the board two minutes later on a shorthanded breakaway, but Khudobin got a piece of a puck that trickled harmlessly past his left post.

The Griffins subsequently lost two of their best players for the night due to separate game misconduct penalties. At 6:28, Jan Mursak was involved in a fight with Cody Almond and did not have his jersey properly tied down, while Derek Meech got the gate at 15:18 for a check from behind on Jared Spurgeon. In all, the Griffins were whistled off for 60 minutes in penalties on the night, their most since accumulating 67 just over four years ago, on Nov. 14, 2006 versus Milwaukee.

Grand Rapids killed off the majority of the Aeros’ ensuing five-minute power play before the visitors extended their advantage to 3-0 with 50 ticks left in the period, as Maxim Noreau connected on a cannon from the point.

Another Noreau power play goal, Houston’s third of the night, came during a 5-on-3 at 10:41 of the third period, before Kris Fredheim tallied at 18:49 for the final margin.

The Griffins, who scored at least four goals in seven consecutive games from Oct. 23-Nov. 7, have since encountered an unprecedented offensive drought. Grand Rapids has suffered consecutive shutouts at Van Andel Arena for the first time in its 15 seasons (including a 1-0 shootout loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 10) and back-to-back shutouts overall for just the second time ever (Jan. 14-16, 1998). With scoreless streaks that now extend to 125:24 at home and 132:49 overall, the Griffins have been blanked three times and have totaled only three goals over their last five games, each of which represents a franchise first.

McCollum saw his personal record fall to 5-5-2 following his 25-save effort.

Three Stars: 1. HOU Khudobin (W, shutout, 28 saves); 2. HOU Noreau (2 power play goals, assist); 3. HOU DiSalvatore (goal, 2 assists)
 

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