GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Houston Aeros 3
Oct. 23, 2011
HOUSTON – The Grand Rapids Griffins were denied time and again by Houston Aeros goaltender Dennis Endras at the Toyota Center on Sunday evening as they fell by a 3-1 margin.
Andrej Nestrasil capped another impressive performance for the Griffins with his second professional goal and Jordan Pearce stopped 31 of 34 shots for a Grand Rapids squad that now stands at 3-4-0-0 this season. Endras swept aside 31 of 32 shots to help the Aeros improve to 4-1-0-2.
After a thrilling but lengthy 3-2 shootout win over Oklahoma City on Saturday night, coupled with an all-night bus ride it took the Griffins a moment to find their legs in the opening minutes of the game. Two consecutive penalty kills early in the frame woke the Griffins up, and they dominated play throughout the rest of the period, doubling up the Aeros in shots 16-8. However, Endras was up for the challenge, and it was his stellar play that saw the game remain scoreless at the arrival of the first intermission.
Endras continued his acrobatics well into the second period which allowed Aeros rookie Justin Fontaine to give Houston the initial lead. Casey Wellman slipped a pass into the slot where an unmarked Fontaine snapped a shot over Pearce’s right shoulder to put Houston in front at 11:23.
The setback hardly seemed to register with Grand Rapids as they continued to dictate the play. Their reward was a fine goal crafted by Tomas Tatar, who slithered a cross-ice pass beneath one defender and just in front of another to an awaiting Nestrasil. The Griffins rookie buried his one-timer in a wide open net at 13:31 for his second tally in as many games.
The Aeros took the lead for good only 59 seconds into the final frame. Jed Ortmeyer threw a soft shot on Pearce who left a rebound out in front that Kris Foucault swept home to give Houston the lead again at 2-1. The Aeros closed out the scoring at 12:11 when Joel Broda centered the puck for a wide open David McIntyre who beat Pearce high to his glove side.
The Griffins will look to remain unbeaten at Van Andel Arena on Friday night at 7 p.m. when the Abbotsford Heat roll into town. It will be a short homecoming for the Griffins, as the team turns right around for another road match-up Saturday night in Milwaukee with the Admirals at 8 p.m. EDT.
Notes: Jordan Pearce moved to within three games of the century mark as a pro with his appearance in goal for Grand Rapids…Andrej Nestrasil has scored a goal in consecutive games for the Griffins as a rookie, recording two goals and one assist in three games this weekend.
Three Stars: 1. HOU Foucault (game winning goal); 2. HOU Fontaine (goal and assist); 3. HOU Endras (W, 31 saves)