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LARSSON BACKSTOPS SHUTOUT OF HOUSTON


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The AHL’s highest scoring team found a different way to win on Tuesday, riding a dominant defensive effort and a 16-save performance by Daniel Larsson to a 1-0 victory over the Houston Aeros at Van Andel Arena.

A matinee crowd of 7,352 saw the Griffins improve to 6-2-2-1 on the season, 4-1-0-1 on home ice and 6-2 all time in their annual noon game, thanks to Larsson’s first shutout in North America.

Grand Rapids will take aim at its third straight home win this Friday when it hosts its first-ever meeting with the Hartford Wolf Pack at 7 p.m.

After controlling play in the opening period with a 11-3 shot advantage but having nothing to show for it, Grand Rapids broke through Nolan Schaefer just 2:55 into the second. Jonathan Ericsson kept a Houston clearing attempt in the zone and a nifty play by Landon Wilson quickly put the puck on the stick of Darren Helm, who snapped a shot past Schaefer’s blocker from the high slot for the game’s lone goal.

The Griffins, who out-shot the Aeros 25-10 through two periods, allowed just six shots during a stingy third stanza and  denied a pair of Houston power plays in the final eight minutes to secure the win. Grand Rapids has now killed off 29 of its last 30 shorthanded situations.

Schaefer finished with 30 saves but could not prevent Houston (7-7-0-0) from dropping its third game in a row.


Three Stars: 1. GR Larsson (W, 16 saves); 2. GR Helm (Game-winning goal); 3. HOU Schaefer (L, 30 saves)

 

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