From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, March 25, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Griffins 3, Aeros 2 (SO)Official Box Score
Making his 15th straight start and 22nd consecutive appearance, Joey MacDonald made a career-high 47 saves and stopped five-of-six shootout attempts, and Matt Ellis forced overtime with 28 seconds left in regulation, as the Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit for a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Houston Aeros at Toyota Center. Eric Manlow also scored for the Griffins, who moved to 73 points, two behind Houston and Cincinnati, two teams tied for third place. Five of the seven meetings between the teams have been decided by one goal, with the other two games by two goals.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored a power play goal from 100 feet out and Ray Giroux tallied a penalty shot goal for Houston, which could have taken sole possession of third place with a victory thanks to Cincinnatis 4-3 loss to Milwaukee. Josh Harding made 20 saves for the Aeros, who outshot Grand Rapids 49-23.
Grand Rapids returns to Toyota Center for the rematch on Easter Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Center ice seats are half priced ($14) for a limited time by visiting www.aeros.com/themenights
. Username is easter, password is special. Join the Easter Bunny and friends for an Easter Egg Hunt on the concourse following the game.
MacDonald, who is 9-7-0 with a 2.01 gaa in his career against Houston, had twice previously made 46 saves, including once against the Aeros in a 4-3 shootout win on January 23. He has a total of 93 saves in his two appearances at Toyota Center this season.
The Griffins won despite going without a shot for 10 minutes in the first period, and for a span of 17 minutes late in the first and extending into the second. Grand Rapids was outshot 20-2 on a second period that saw the Aeros score twice. MacDonalds 15 straight starts tie Mike Fountains team record.
Grand Rapids improved to 12-3 in overtime and the shootout, while Houston is 7-11. The Aeros are 21-1-2-1 when leading after two periods, and 23-1-0-1 overall and 15-0-0-1 at home when taking a lead into the final five minutes.
An entertaining first period featured 15 shots, including 10 by Houston, but no goals.
Hardings best stop of the opening period came midway through, when he kicked out a Derek Meech rocket from the left point as a Grand Rapids power play expired.
Houston captain Kirby Law nearly got his team on the board with 6:34 left in the first, but his tip of a Bouchard pass hit the post.
The period saw two fights, including Houstons Jeremy Reich winning a clear decision against Greg Amadio with 4:43 remaining.
The Aeros got a five-minute power play with 3:26 remaining after Tomas Kopecky got a high-sticking major. Bouchard appeared ready to score the games first goal, with a shot at a near open net, but MacDonald, from his back, reached up his skate to make the acrobatic save.
Bouchard exacted his revenge with Houston still on the man advantage just 34 seconds into the second period, although he hardly meant to. Set up by Harding behind his own net, Bouchard skated through the defensive zone to center ice and sent a dump-in off the boards from the red line. The puck hit the glass along the blueline and took a crazy bounce on net. MacDonald, headed out to meet the puck, couldnt recover in time, as it bounced just inside the far post. The goal was Bouchards 12th, his second in as many games and his fourth in seven games against the Griffins.
Houston scored first for just the second time in the last 11 games.
Grand Rapids got a power play with 7:57 remaining after Chris Heid went off for hooking, and the Griffins were finally credited with their first shot on goal of the period, a deflection, with 6:05 left.
Giroux got a penalty shot with 3:44 remaining in the second when he was hooked down by Kip Miller on a breakaway, and the defenseman ripped a shot high over MacDonalds glove, with the crowd on its feet. The tally was Girouxs 11th of the season and second in as many games.
After a Houston power play was wiped out due to a tripping call on Kyle Wanvig early in the third, Grand Rapids scored with the man advantage to get on the board on its 12th shot. Manlow launched a shot through traffic from the left circle, and the puck banged off an Aeros defenseman and into the net for his team-best 19th goal, with 5:54 gone in the third.
Houstons Matt Foy nearly scored an insurance goal with 2:40 left, but he hit the post.
The Griffins got MacDonald out of the net with 1:40 left, and Houstons Zbynek Michalek almost added a 190-foot goal with a clear from beside Harding that rattled off the boards and then hit the post.
Off the ensuing face-off in front of Harding, Ellis forced overtime with 27.8 seconds. Harding stopped Millers attempt from the right circle, but the rebound sat on the deck just long enough for Ellis to slide it under the prone netminder for his 18th goal. Harding had allowed only two third-period goals in 12 home appearances heading into tonight.
MacDonald swallowed up Brent Burns blast from the left circle with eight seconds left, and after the next face-off he kicked a Burns attempt just wide.
The Aeros fell to 2-14-2-2 in their last 20 games when allowing a third-period goal. They have yielded six in the last four games, and had owned the third period against the Griffins, outscoring them 8-3 entering tonight's game.
Houston got seven shots in the five-minute overtime compared to three for Grand Rapids, but neither team scored.
Kopecky led off for Grand Rapids in the shootout, but Harding made the pad save. Giroux went for Houston and ripped a shot wide. In round two, Harding got a piece of Eric Himelfarbs attempt with his glove. Mikko Koivus shot went wide, keeping the shootout scoreless.
Manlow skated out for the Griffins in the third round and tried to go five hole, but Harding closed the pads. Law, the Aeros captain, ripped a slapshot that MacDonald gloved. Former Nashville Predator Mark Eaton went in round four for Grand Rapids and slid a shot under Harding. Bouchards attempt hit MacDonalds chest.
Harding kept his team alive with a glove save on Jiri Hudler, and Foy clanked a shot off the corner and into the net to send the dramatic shootout into sudden death.
Kopecky went under Hardings pads to again put the Aeros on the brink of elimination, and Foy couldnt get his shot past MacDonald.
Houston finished 1-for-8 on the power play, while Grand Rapids went 1-for-4. In their last six games, the Griffins have been shorthanded 43 times and have gone on only 23 power plays.
The Aeros scratched Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Marc Cavosie, Stephane Veilleux, Patrick Traverse, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard and John Erskine.
Houston is 1-0-0-1 in its red Third Jerseys.
The last successful Aeros penalty shot at home came March 14, 2000, when Brian Wiseman scored on Cincinnatis Jean-Marc Pelletier.
Houstons two shots allowed in the second period were one off its home record, set March 5, 2000, in a 5-1 win against Detroit.
The Aeros scored first for just the second time in six meetings against the Griffins.
Houston is 14-4-1-1 at home in March over the last three seasons.
Law also has a penalty shot goal this season, making this the first time since the 1995-96 season the Aeros have scored twice on a penalty shot in one season.
Every Aeros skater registered a shot except for Joey Tetarenko and David Bararuk. Burns led the team with nine.