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LAW OF AVERAGES

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After seven games and 15 days the Houston Aeros finally have their first victory of the season, thanks to a 4-3 shootout decision over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

Following a back-and-forth affair that featured one goal by each team in every regulation period, the Aeros (1-5-0-1) and Griffins went seven shootout rounds, with Roman Voloshenko securing his team’s win with goals in the third and seventh stanzas. 

Grand Rapids (3-1-1-1) will continue its eight-game home stand with three games in four nights next week, starting with a 7 p.m. tilt Wednesday against the North Division leaders, the 6-0 Rochester Americans.

The teams traded goals before the contest was eight minutes old. The Griffins drew first blood on the power play at 3:27 when Matt Ellis took a feed from Kip Miller in the slot and beat Josh Harding. The Aeros’ Benoit Pouliot, who authored the visitors’ only goal in Friday’s 2-1 Griffins win, answered at the 7:11 mark, splitting two defenders and shoveling a backhand past Stefan Liv’s stick from the right hash marks.

The goal swapping continued in the middle frame, beginning with Josh Olsen’s conversion during a 2-on-2 rush at 9:03 of the period. Darryl Bootland got it back for the Griffins with 4:38 showing on the clock, popping his own rebound short-side over Harding’s shoulder from the left of the net.

Grand Rapids reasserted its lead at 3-2 just 43 seconds into the third period on Kyle Quincey’s power play rocket from the point, only to see Houston respond at 4:18 when Danny Irmen threw a rebound into Liv’s vacated cage from the right circle.

Harding left the game due to an injury with 6:20 left and was spelled by former Griffin Dieter Kochan, who earned the win by stopping one shot in the third period and one in overtime, along with four of Grand Rapids’ seven shootout attempts. Liv suffered the loss despite 30 saves.

Miller, Evan McGrath and Krys Kolanos scored for the Griffins during the shootout.

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