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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Erik Westrum’s two goals and Houston’s stingy penalty killing unit dealt the Grand Rapids Griffins their first loss of the season on Saturday, a 3-2 setback to the Aeros at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (3-1-0-0) were awarded a franchise-record 13 power plays on the night but could only capitalize once, on a Brett Lebda tally with 12:46 remaining that brought Grand Rapids within a goal. However, Grand Rapids could not net the equalizer, despite pulling Drew MacIntyre in favor of an extra attacker over the final minutes.

Grand Rapids, the last Western Conference team to fall from the unbeaten ranks, will try to improve its road record to 3-0 this Wednesday, in an 8 p.m. start against the San Antonio Rampage at the SBC Center.

The Aeros (3-1-0-0), who also handed Peoria its first loss on Friday, struck first after being awarded a 5-on-3 power play just four minutes into the contest. From the top of the left circle, Kurtis Foster fired a rocket that MacIntyre turned aside, but Westrum popped the rebound into a gaping net from the right doorstep at 4:39.

Grand Rapids pulled even on Jiri Hudler’s sixth of the season at the 3:47 mark of the second period, as he deflected a Greg Amadio shot from the point to extend his goal streak to four games. Hudler’s six goals and 10 points lead the AHL and stand as records for a Griffin through the first four games of a season.

Consecutive Aeros penalties midway through the period gave the Griffins a 5-on-3 for nearly two full minutes. Grand Rapids could not take advantage despite several shots and residence in the Houston zone, and it soon proved costly. In a near replay of their first goal, the Aeros set up during their own two-man advantage and cashed-in when Westrum pounded home a rebound of Foster’s blast at 16:03.

Houston pushed its lead to two 5:08 into the third period. Curtis Murphy earned his third assist of the night by dishing into the right circle to Patrick O’Sullivan, who wristed a shot past MacIntyre for a 3-1 cushion. Just 2:06 later, the Griffins’ power play finally connected on its 11th chance of the game, with Lebda taking a feed from Eric Manlow and roofing a shot over Harding from the left side. Hudler also earned an assist, giving him his fourth straight multi-point game.

Houston, whose penalty killing efforts were backstopped by Harding’s 38 saves, converted two of its six power plays. MacIntyre suffered his first loss against three wins, stopping 25 shots.

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