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GAMEDAY: Aeros at Grand Rapids - May 4

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Game 5 – Western Conference Quarter Finals

Grand Rapids Griffins (2-2) at Houston Aeros (2-2) (best of five series – Tied 2-2)

Regular Season Records - Grand Rapids Griffins (42-26-4-4, 92 points) - Houston Aeros (40-26-5-5, 90 points)

Houston Aeros (6 - Seed) vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (3 - Seed)

1 Grand Rapids 0 at Houston 3                       

2 Grand Rapids 3 at Houston 2                       

3 Houston 2 at Grand Rapids 4                       

4 Houston 4 at Grand Rapids 1                       

5 Houston at Grand Rapids                               Saturday, May 4                   7:00 PM (ET)

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After four games, the two teams are tied with each team winning one game on the road and one game at home. Houston avoided elimination and forced Game 5 with a 4-1 win on Friday at Grand Rapids. The Aeros opened the series with a 3-0 win at home on Apr. 26 in Game 1. The Griffins countered by winning Game 2 in Houston 3-2 on Apr. 28 and taking Game 3 at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday by a score of 4-2. Houston has outscored Grand Rapids 11-8 through four games. The Aeros took two out of three games in Grand Rapids during the regular season. If Houston wins Game 5, they will face the Texas Stars in the second round. If Grand Rapids wins, the Griffins will play Toronto in the second round.

The Aeros and Griffins meet for second time in postseason history. In 2003, Houston defeated Grand Rapids in seven games of the Western Conference Finals. The Aeros went on the win the Calder Cup after jumping out to a 3-1 series lead, only to see the Griffins come back and force Game seven with a pair of overtime wins. Grand Rapids forward Jeff Hoggan and Houston forward Stephane Veilleux both played for the Aeros that season.

The two teams met six times during the regular season. Grand Rapids claimed four wins, including a shootout victory at Toyota Center. Houston was 2-3-0-1 against Grand Rapids, including an 0-2-0-1 record at Toyota Center. The Griffins were 4-2-0-0, including a 1-2-0-0 record at Van Andel Arena. Grand Rapids won the last three meetings of the regular season. Each team posted a shutout in the series, while Grand Rapids outscored Houston 13-10. The road team won five of six games. Three of the games have been decided by one goal. The teams are a combined 4-for-45 on the power play with Houston going 2-for-23 and Grand Rapids going 2-for-22.

The Aeros posted a 19-15-2-2 mark away from home in the regular season. Houston finished 7-3-0-0 over the last ten games of the regular season. Houston was even in scoring on the road, matching the home team with 102 goals per side. Counting the last seven games of the regular season, the Aeros have won eight of their last 11 games.

Grand Rapids posted a 21-12-3-2 record at home in the regular season, outscoring the home team 109-100. Grand Rapids finished the year with a 4-4-1-1 record over the last ten games of the regular season.

In the regular season, Houston and Grand Rapids have played 74 times in AHL history. Over the course of time, the Aeros are 36-28-10 against the Griffins, who are 32-33-9 all-time against Houston. Over the last five years, the Aeros have a 13-9-0-2 mark versus Grand Rapids and they have posted a 6-4-0-2 mark at home.

Justin Fontaine led all Houston skaters in scoring with four points in six games against GR. Griffins forwards Jeff Hoggan, Riley Sheahan, Jan Mursak, Francis Pare and defender Luke Glendening led their team in scoring. Hoggan and Chad Billins led all skaters with three goals apiece in the season series. Hoggan tied with Mursak (4a) for the team lead with four points. Pare, Billins, Sheahan and Glendening each had three points. Houston goalie Darcy Kuemper was 2-2-0 against GR, posting a 1.72 goals against average and a .942 save percentage. Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek went 1-2-0 with a 1.98 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Tom McCollum was 3-0-0 with a 1.00 g.a.a. and a .964 save %.

Broadcast Schedule                 Date                 Time                Radio

Houston at Grand Rapids                    Sat, May 4               6:00 PM (CT)          (1070 AM / / )

Aeros Last Game Recap –                    Houston 4 at Grand Rapids 1                5/3/13

The Houston Aeros defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-1 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals on Friday in front of 4,190 fans at Van Andel Arena. Aeros forward Justin Fontaine led the offense, while goalie Mike Condon (1-1) led the defense and the team posted a three-goal victory, extending the best of five series to a decisive Game 5 on Saturday night in Grand Rapids. Condon helped Houston avoid elimination with 41 saves on 42 shots, including 18 saves in the final frame. Fontaine, who leads the series in scoring with eight points, set up three of his team’s four goals. Forwards Mikael Granlund, Chad Rau and David McIntyre, as well as defenseman Steven Kampfer, each scored in the win. Defenseman Brian Connelly added two assists in the road win. Griffins’ goalie Petr Mrazek (2-2) stopped 15 of 18 shots in the defeat.

The Houston Aeros – Regular Season

Right wing Justin Fontaine led the team in scoring with 56 points in 64 games played. He was second with 23 goals and second in assists with 33. Rookie Jason Zucker ranked first on the team with 24 goals and he was third with 26 assists. In 55 games Zucker was second on the team in scoring with 50 points. He also led the team in shots on goal (205), power-play goals (12), power-play points (24) and game-winning goals (8). The AHL All-Rookie team selection tied for the AHL lead with three overtime game-winning goals.

Defenseman Brian Connelly finished third on the team in scoring with 39 points in 54 games played. Connelly has five goals and he is first on the club with 34 assists. Connelly also has a team-high 20 power-play assists. Forward David McIntyre was fourth among the team leaders in points with 33. McIntyre led the team with a +19 rating in 68 games played. Forward Mikael Granlund scored ten goals and totaled 28 points in 29 games played.

Houston features goalies Darcy Kuemper and Mike Condon. Jeff Deslauriers and Cody Reichard are both injured. Darcy Kuemper was 13-8-0 with a 1.88 goals against average and a .934 save percentage in 21 appearances for Houston. He also played in six games for the Minnesota Wild, going 1-2-0 with a 2.08 g.a.a and a .916 save percentage. In five appearances, Condon went 3-0-0 with a 2.39 g.a.a and a .919 save percentage.

The Aeros ranked seventh in the AHL on the power play converting 60 out of 316 chances (19.0 %). As far the penalty kill goes, Houston finished 18th out of 30 teams, stopping 238 of 288 attempts (82.6 %). The Aeros ranked 28 out of 30 teams in penalty minutes, averaging 13.2 penalty minutes a game. Houston averaged 2.79 goals per game, while allowed 2.62 goals per game.

Latest Houston Transactions

Delete - Forward Jason Zucker (recalled – Minnesota – NHL) 4/27/13

Add – Carson McMillan (assigned – Minnesota – NHL) 4/27/13

Add – Forward Jake Dowell (assigned - Minnesota) 4/27/13

Delete - Defense Marco Scandella (recalled – Minnesota – NHL) 4/29/13

Add - Forward Stephane Veilleux (assigned – Minnesota – NHL) 4/29/13

Delete - Goalie Darcy Kuemper (assigned – Minnesota - NHL) 4/30/13


Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher on Wednesday announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Kuemper, 22 (5/5/90), went 1-2-0 with a 2.08 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .916 save percentage (SV%) in six games (three starts) with Minnesota this season. He made his NHL debut Feb. 12 at Vancouver and won his first NHL game Feb. 17 against Detroit. Kuemper went 13-8-0 with a 1.88 GAA, a .934 SV% and four shutouts in 21 regular season games with the Aeros. Kuemper is 1-1 in two playoff starts for Houston this year stopping 67-of-70 shots faced for a 1.51 GAA, a .957 SV% and one shutout. The 6-foot-5, 207-pound native of Saskatoon, Sask., was the Wild’s sixth-round selection (No. 161 overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Grand Rapids Griffins – Regular Season

During the regular season, Gustav Nyquist led the Griffins in goals, assists and points. The second-year Griffin had 23 goals and a team-leading 37 assists for 60 points in only 58 games. He also led the team with nine power play goals. Nyquist’s 60 points was good for 13th in the AHL in points this year. Nyquist also had three goals and three assists for six points in 20 games with Detroit in the NHL. Left wing Tomas Tatar was tied for second on the team with 23 goals and third on the squad with 26 assists. He was second in points with 49 in 61 games played. He finished tied for third on the Griffins with seven power-play goals. Center Landon Ferraro led the club with 24 goals and dished out 23 assists for 47 points, good for third on the team. He was second on the Griffins with eight power-play goals. Ferraro also led the club with three short-handed goals. Former Aero Jeff Hoggan had 25 assists and 20 goals for 45 points in 76 games played. Forward Francis Pare scored 22 goals and had 22 assists in 68 games played. Rookie Riley Sheahan had 16 goals and 36 points in 72 games played. Defenseman Chad Billins led the blueline in scoring with 27 assists and 37 points while playing in all 76 games this season.

Rookie Petr Mrazek led the charge with 42 appearances in net this season. He was 23-16-2 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Mrazek finished 11th in the league in GAA. Goalie Tom McCollum finished the regular season 18-11-2 with a 2.63 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. McCollum also had two shutouts, one was Houston.

The Griffins ranked ninth in the AHL on the power play converting 60 out of 325 chances (18.5%). As far the penalty kill goes, Grand Rapids finished 29 out of 30 teams, stopping 244 of 304 attempts (80.3 %). The Griffins ranked 16th out of 30 teams in penalty minutes, averaging 16.0 minutes a game. Grand Rapids is averaging 3.07 goals per game, while allowing 2.69 goals per game.

Aeros Notes and Milestones –

·      The Aeros lost 430 man games during the regular season, an average of nearly six skaters a game. 

·         In the regular season, Houston went 30-8-3-2 when scoring first and Grand Rapids was 28-13-2-3.

·         The Aeros ranked 29th in the AHL for PK on Jan. 22 at 77.8% and went 126 for 144 (87.5%) to finish 18th.  

·         Right wing Justin Fontaine leads all scorers in the series with eight points through four games. He is tied for the scoring lead in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

·         Houston ranks 2nd on the power play, going 4 for 13 (30.8 %). The team is 4th on the penalty kill at 86.7% (13 for 15).

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