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Houston Aeros 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1

Feb. 10, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –
The Grand Rapids Griffins were unable to fight back after the Houston Aeros jumped out to a three-goal first period lead and held on for a 5-1 victory at Van Andel Arena on Friday night.

The Griffins fell to 19-19-4-4 on the season, while the Aeros snapped a five-game winless streak and improved to 24-13-3-9. The two teams will battle again tomorrow in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m.

Houston controlled much of the first period and opened the scoring at 11:49. After Travis Ehrhardt lost his stick on a blocked shot, the Aeros’ Jeff Taffe was able to walk past the Griffins defense and tuck a quick shot under the blocker of goaltender Jordan Pearce.

The Aeros would add two more markers before the end of the first. With the Griffins down a man, a point shot was deflected and ended up on the stick of Taffe, who found rookie Justin Fontaine at the side of the net for an easy tap-in at 16:29. Kris Foucault made it 3-0 at 19:25, sliding a Cody Almond feed past Pearce.

Grand Rapids cut the Aeros’ lead to two on a power play early in the second. Gustav Nyquist gathered the puck on the right wing and made a spinning pass to Logan Pyett, who one-timed a shot through a screen and past Houston goaltender Matt Hackett at 6:20.

Any hopes of a third-period comeback were dashed early in the final frame. David McIntyre found himself with a step on the Griffins defenders and banked a shot off Pearce and the post to give the Aeros a 4-1 lead at 2:12. Almond padded the lead at 8:46 when he was left alone in front of the net and able to bang in a rebound of a Kris Fredheim shot.

Hackett earned first star honors with 38 saves on 39 shots, including 30 stops in the final 40 minutes of play. Pearce stopped 26 of 31 for Grand Rapids.

Notes: Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith had his career-best seven-game point streak snapped. His nine points (3-6—9) over the seven games served as the longest point streak of any Griffin this season.

Three Stars: 1. HOU Hackett (W, 38 saves); 2. HOU Fontaine (goal, assist); 3. HOU DiSalvatore (assist)

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