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GRIFFINS GROUNDED IN AEROS' SPACE


HOUSTON – A power play goal in sudden death tipped the balance of a seesaw battle in favor of the Houston Aeros, as the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 4-3 decision Saturday at the Toyota Center.

Grand Rapids (7-12-1-2) finishes up its weekend three-in-three Sunday in Milwaukee, where they face off against the Admirals at 5 p.m. EST.

Late in the first period, the Griffins grabbed a 1-0 lead on Jamie Tardif’s sixth goal of the season. Mark Cullen put a shot on goal, but Houston netminder Nolan Schaefer stopped the puck with his right pad. Schaefer, however, was unable to cover up, allowing Tardif to sneak in and push the puck past the goal line.

The Aeros (10-10-1-1) evened the score exactly five minutes into the middle frame when a centering pass from the corner by Morten Madsen deflected off Jakub Kindl’s skate and into the twine. Grand Rapids needed just 34 seconds to reclaim the lead as Mark Hartigan found Carl Corazzini, who relayed a beautiful feed to Ryan Oulahen for a wrist shot that snuck inside the right goal post and put the Griffins up 2-1.

Houston once again absorbed the blow and answered with a counterpunch. With the puck loose out in front of Adam Berkhoel, Joel Ward snuck a shot between Berkhoel’s legs at 15:30. In the final period, the Aeros’ point man made a diving effort to hold the puck in the Grand Rapids zone while on a power play, leading to a scrum along the boards. Houston’s Maxim Noreau came free and beat Berkhoel for a 3-2 edge at 4:57.

The Griffins refused to be deterred by this turn of events, netting a power play tally of their own at 14:02 as Evan McGrath cleaned up the rebound of a Brett Engelhardt shot, ultimately forcing overtime.

To the Griffins’ dismay, Hartigan was whistled for tripping just 27 seconds into the extra period, and Jon Awe notched the game-winner at 1:30.

In spite of the disappointing outcome, the Griffins have still earned points in four of their last six contests (2-2-1-1). Adam Berkhoel and Schaefer each recorded 25 saves, while Oulahen turned in his first multi-point performance (1-1—2) since opening night.

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
Official Game Report

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