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TIME RUNS OUT ON GRIFFINS COMEBACK

HOUSTON – The Grand Rapids Griffins capped their latest three-in-three series with a 3-2 loss to the Houston Aeros on Sunday at the Toyota Center. The loss drops the Griffins into fifth place in the West Division two points out of a playoff position. Houston springs into a tie with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks for third place. Grand Rapids has a game in hand on Houston.

The Aeros struck first when Kyle Wanvig found the back of the net less than two minutes into the game. Pierre-Marc Bouchard sent a centering pass across the crease allowing Wanvig to steer the puck into an open net 1:50 into the opening frame.

With 3:35 remaining in the opening period, enforcer Derek Boogaard recorded his first goal as an Aero. The Aeros fired several shots on the Griffins cage. Boogaard gathered a rebound and popped it over a sprawled Joey MacDonald.

Houston swelled its lead to 3-0 when Kirby Law notched the lone goal of the second period.

Spurred by a change from MacDonald to Drew MacIntyre, the Griffins opened the scoring in the third period. Niklas Kronwall fired a shot from the blue line which evaded Mike Smith 2:17 into the final frame. Greg Amadio earned his first point as a Griffin with an assist on Kronwall’s goal.

Tomas Kopecky cut the lead to one with a goal with 17.3 seconds remaining in regulation. For Kopecky, it is his fifth goal in his last eight outings. Kip Miller earned his 1000th professional point (364-636—1000) on the play.

MacDonald finished with 13 saves while suffering the loss. MacIntyre stopped all six shots in relief. Smith turned aside 30 shots for the Aeros.

Grand Rapids will return to Van Andel Arena to host the Cleveland Barons on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.


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