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Aeros 1, Griffins 3

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild
Griffins 3, Aeros 1

Official Box Score

HOUSTON, Texas – Krys Kolanos, Josh Langfield and Matt Ellis each scored a goal apiece and Stefan Liv made 33 saves, as the Grand Rapids Griffins spoiled the Houston Aeros’ home opener with a 3-1 win in front of 8,329 at Toyota Center. Ben Thomson scored his first pro goal, and Josh Harding made 32 stops for Houston.

The Aeros are home Sunday at 5:05 p.m. against Iowa as Mr. Hockey ® Gordie Howe returns to Houston to have his jersey retired. Buy tickets. It’s also magnetic schedule night and an Aeros’ Family Day. Get four tickets, four pucks, $20 in Toyota Bucks and free parking for just $67. Visit to order. Username is Family, password is Aeros.

Kolanos’ third point in two games, a power play goal 7:05 into the game, put Grand Rapids up 1-0. He stood at the left point and wound up, sending a shot off defenseman Erik Reitz’ stick up and over Harding.

Aeros rookie Benoit Pouliot rang a shot off the post, bidding for his first goal, from the left circle.

The Aeros evened things up with Thomson’s first pro goal, with the teams 4-on-4, with 7:19 left in the first. Peter Ratchuk went in on the left wing and attempted a wraparound, but a sprawling Liv made the save. Thomson, at 5-foot-7 tied for the shortest Aero in the 13-year history of the franchise, crashed the net and put the puck through a crowd for Houston’s first goal of the season.

The Aeros ended the first period with a 14-12 shot advantage in a stanza that featured nine power plays – five by Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids went on top 2-1 just 92 seconds into the second, taking advantage of an Aeros breakdown at the blueline. Eric Himelfarb caused a turnover by Ryan Stokes, and went in 2-on-1 on Harding with Brooks. Brooks, cruising to the right side of the net, easily poked the puck in past Harding for his second goal in two nights.

Harding helped prevent further damage less than a minute later, with Grand Rapids breaking in on another 2-on-1. Harding kicked out Josh Langfeld’s attempt from the right doorstep, then got back to rob Kyle Quincey’s bullet from the top of the right circle.

Liv made his best save of the night with the Aeros on the power play with 2:45 left in the middle period. Ratchuk wound up from the right point, and nearly got one through Liv’s legs. The goalie then covered up Roman Voloshenko’s rebound attempt.

Just 22 seconds later, Ellis scored shorthanded to push the advantage to two goals. Ellis broke in 3-on-1, with Grand Rapids down a man, and ripped a short-side top-shelf attempt over Harding.

Aeros veteran defenseman Curtis Murphy rang a point shot off the blast three minutes into the third.

Houston finished 0-for-12 on the power play, while Grand Rapids went 1-for-7.

  • Not dressing for the Aeros were Tony Quesada, John Scott, Alex Leavitt, Bryan Lundbohm, Josh Olson and Clayton Stoner.
  • In lieu of a permanent captain, Aeros head coach Rob Daum has named Erik Reitz and Curtis Murphy alternate captains for all games. Wyatt Smith will don the “A” at home, and Jason Morgan on the road.
  • The Aeros welcomed back 1994-95 Aeros Mark Freer, Al Conroy, Graeme Townshend and Steve Jaques for a ceremonial puck drop, along with teenager Chelsey Campbell, who Aeros assistant coach Cam Stewart befriended at Texas Children’s Hospital last December.
  • Mario Chitaroni and Brian Wiseman were also 5-foot-7.
  • Houston fell to 5-6-2 in home openers and 5-5-3 in season openers.
  • Harding fell to 15-3-0 in his last 18 regular season decisions and to 29-9-2 at Toyota Center.
  • Former Aero Jason Beckett was a scratch for Grand Rapids, after scoring a goal in the Griffins’ game last night in San Antonio.
  • Attendance was the third biggest of any AHL opener in the first three days of the season.
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