From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Griffins 3, Aeros 1Official Box Score
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
Darryl Bootlands second goal of the game snapped a tie with 1:43 left in regulation and Joey MacDonald turned aside 37 shots, as the Grand Rapids Griffins outlasted the Houston Aeros 3-1 at Van Andel Arena. Kip Miller added an empty-net goal for the Griffins, who won for only the second time in nine home games and moved to 50 points, one better than the sixth-place Aeros.
Ray Giroux scored a power play goal and tough-luck loser Josh Harding made 22 saves for Houston, which had its two-game winning streak snapped. The Aeros have scored only 28 goals in his 15 starts against teams other than Utah. Harding has allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of his 17 starts but is 8-9-1.
This season, MacDonald is 3-1-0 with a 1.23 gaa versus Houston, and hes made 83 saves over the last two games. Harding, meanwhile, is 2-2-0 with a 1.49 gaa versus Grand Rapids. The duo previously hooked up for a pair of 1-0 games.
Houston plays game two of its three-game road trip Thursday at 7 p.m. in Milwaukee.
Through two periods, it looked like MacDonald would earn his record fourth shutout against the Aeros, as Grand Rapids clung to a 1-0 lead. But Houston came on strong, holding the Griffins to only one shot in the first 15 minutes of the third to draw even.
Houston enjoyed two full minutes of a 5-on-3 at 6:53 of the third when, with a delayed penalty upcoming on Bootland, Peter Vandermeer jumped John Erskine. Both picked up fighting majors, but Vandermeer was given an instigator and misconduct.
Giroux took a Patrick Traverse feed and ripped a high shot over MacDonalds shoulder and under the crossbar exactly one minute later to tie things up. The goal was Girouxs sixth third on the power play.
Grand Rapids went on the power play with 8:01 left, but it was the Aeros top-ranked penalty killing unit with the best chance, as MacDonald had to turn away Brent Burns. After the advantage was over, Kyle Wanvig stole the puck and broke in alone, but pushed a shot wide.
Harding stopped Tomas Kopecky on a 2-on-1 with two minutes left, and he then steered an Eric Himelfarb wraparound attempt wide.
But, seconds later with 1:43 remaining, Bootlands second of the game on a nice feed from Jiri Hudler put the Griffins back on top 2-1. Bootland hopped off the bench on a line change and skated down the middle, putting the puck by Harding.
With Harding out of the net, Aeros defenseman Brent Burns ripped a shot just over the net.
Millers empty-netter with 32 seconds remaining ended Houstons chances.
Houston entered the game allowing only 31 third-period goals second in the AHL.
The Aeros, who arrived in Grand Rapids near midnight last night, showed no signs of road legs, outshooting the Griffins 13-8 in the first period.
Bootlands goal, his 10th, at 11:23 of the first marked the lone scoring of the opening period. Former Aero Jeff Hutchins left a pass for All-Star defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who clocked a low laser beam. The puck deflected off Bootland and into the net. The goal was originally credited to Ryan Barnes.
MacDonald was perfect on 13 attempts in the first, helping kill off Houstons two power plays.
Harding helped keep it a one-goal game, denying Grand Rapids a rebound attempt in transition eight minutes into the second period.
A minute later, the Aeros went on a four-minute power play, as Kopecky was given a double minor for spearing Harding, who returned from a concussion less than two weeks ago. MacDonald made a sprawling glove save on Zbynek Michaleks point blast midway through the man advantage. The Aeros got three total shots on the power play.
With the teams 4-on-4 late in the period, Houstons Stephane Veilleux snapped his stick while swinging at a puck alone near the net.
Houston went 1-for-6 on the power play, while Grand Rapids finished 0-for-2. The Aeros took over the top penalty killing spot during the game, as Edmonton allowed three power-play goals tonight.
The Aeros scratched skaters Chris Heid, Mark Rooneem, Dan Cavanaugh, Marc Cavosie and Derek Boogaard.
With goalie Mike Smith ailing from the flu, the Aeros recalled rookie goalie Robert Gherson from UHL Quad Cities to back up Harding, who has made three straight starts for the first time.
Marius Holtet returned to the Houston lineup after missing two games due to injury.
Hutchins played two games with the Aeros last season.
Aeros centerman Pierre-Marc Bouchard saw his seven-game assist streak end.
Veilleux assisted in Girouxs goal, his third helper in the last two games.
Tonight marked the first game this season between the teams that wasnt decided by one goal, although it virtually was a one-goal game because of the empty-netter.
Houston fell to 12-17-2-2 when outshooting an opponent.