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MACDONALD SETS FRANCHISE SHUTOUT MARK IN 1-0 WIN

Grand Rapids, Mich. - In a second straight tightly contested game between West Division rivals, it was the Grand Rapids Griffins who came out on top with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Aeros on Friday, reversing the result from last Saturday’s meeting at Van Andel Arena.

Joey MacDonald finished with 23 saves to become the Griffins’ career leader with 11 shutouts, as Grand Rapids (6-3-1-0) snapped a four-game skid and ended the Aeros’ three-game winning streak. The victory was also MacDonald’s 42nd as a Griffin, moving him past Ian Gordon into sole possession of third place on the franchise’s all-time list.

Grand Rapids will stage the seventh installment of its record nine-game homestand on Saturday, when the San Antonio Rampage pay a visit at 7:30 p.m.

Darryl Bootland paid the price to score the game’s lone goal at 7:23 of the opening period, ending Houston’s shutout streak at 130:30. During on odd-man rush, Eric Himelfarb took a shot from the left circle that bounced off and landed behind goalie Josh Harding. Bootland crashed the net for the tap-in, before getting leveled from behind in the start of a melee that put two Aeros in the box and gave the Griffins two full minutes of 5-on-3 power play time.

Houston (7-5-1-1) weathered the storm, however, including another minor incurred with 36 seconds remaining on the initial penalties. The Aeros then enjoyed 1:02 of their own two-man advantage later in the frame, but MacDonald and Grand Rapids’ penalty killers were up to the task to keep it a 1-0 game at the break.

After witnessing seven first-period power plays, including five for the Griffins, the contest settled down during the second frame. Through 40 minutes of play, the Aeros showed just 10 shots on goal, while the Griffins had managed only 15.

Houston made life substantially more difficult for MacDonald in the third, outshooting the Griffins by a 13-4 count, but couldn’t prevent him from notching his second shutout in his last five outings. In the process, MacDonald improved his goals against average to 1.54 and his save percentage to 0.944. Harding, meanwhile, finished with 18 stops.

Prior to Saturday’s game with San Antonio, former Detroit Red Wing and future Hall-of-Famer Igor Larionov will sign autographs in the arena banquet room from 6:30-7:20 p.m., courtesy of Jeep Chrysler.


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