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GAMEDAY: Aeros at Grand Rapids Preview - May 1

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

Game Three – Western Conference Quarter Finals

Grand Rapids Griffins (1-1) at Houston Aeros (1-1) (best of five series – tied 1-1)

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 at Grand Rapids                               Wednesday, May 1             7:00 PM (ET)

4 Houston at Grand Rapids                               Friday, May 3                        7:00 PM (ET)

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

X = If Necessary

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After two games in Houston, the series shifts to Grand Rapids, continuing a best of five series with Game Three on Wednesday. Houston claimed Game One with a 3-0 shutout on Friday night. Grand Rapids took Game Two with a 3-2 victory at Toyota Center on Sunday. Houston has outscored Grand Rapids 5-3 through the two games. The Aeros took two out of three games in Grand Rapids this season.

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 hit the road for the first time this postseason. The team 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. The Aeros have won seven of their last nine 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                    Wed, May 1            6:00 PM (CT)          (1070 AM / / )

Houston at Grand Rapids                    Fri, May 3               6:00 PM (CT)          (1070 AM / / )

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

Aeros Last Game Recap –                    Grand Rapids 3 at Houston 2                4/28/13

The Houston Aeros were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-2 in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarter Finals on Sunday in front of 4,387 fans at Toyota Center.  The Griffins built a 3-0 lead early in the third period and held off the Aeros down the stretch to even the best of five series 1-1. Grand Rapids forward Tomas Jurco scored twice and goalie Petr Mrazek had 19 saves in the victory. Forward Tomas Tatar also got on the scoreboard, with his first postseason goal. Houston goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 Griffins shots in the loss. Aeros forward Justin Fontaine and defenseman Brian Connelly each scored in the loss.

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

Add - Goalie Darcy Kuemper (assigned – Minnesota - NHL) 4/22/13

Add - Forward Mikael Granlund (assigned – Minnesota – NHL) 4/22/13

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


Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher on Monday announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has recalled defenseman Marco Scandella from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Wild also reassigned left wing Stephane Veilleux to Houston.

Scandella, 23 (2/23/90), skated in six games with Minnesota this season, scoring one goal with four penalty minutes (PIM). He tallied 15 points (2-15=17), 23 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-2 rating in 45 games with Houston this season. Scandella has also scored one goal in two playoff games for the Aeros this season.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Montreal, Quebec skated in 63 contests with Minnesota in 2011-12 and collected 12 points (3-9=12) and 19 PIM. He ranked second among NHL rookies in blocked shots (106) and TOI/game (21:46) and logged a franchise-record 35:32 in ice time vs. Chicago on April 5, 2012. He notched two assists in 20 games with Minnesota and added 19 points (3-16=19) in 33 games with Houston during the 2010-11 campaign. Scandella was selected by Minnesota in the second round (55th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and wears sweater No. 6 with the Wild.

Veilleux, 31 (11/16/81), notched eight points (3-5=8) and 45 penalty minutes (PIM) in 33 games with the Aeros this season. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound native of St. Georges de Beauce, Que., has not appeared in a game with Minnesota this season.

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 played in 40 games decided by one goal, among the most in the AHL. The team is 20-10-5-5 in one-goal games. Houston is among the league leaders with five overtime wins and 20 overtime appearances.

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

·         Houston went 30-8-3-2 when scoring first, Grand Rapids was 28-13-2-3.

·         Grand Rapids was 11-11-0-0 against the South Division, while Houston went 9-7-1-1 against the Midwest Division.

·         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.  

·         Houston is seventh in the AHL with 40 penalty minutes, an average of 20 a game. The team finished 27th out of 30 teams in the regular season with 13 minutes per game. Defenseman Paul Mara accounts for 18 of the 40 minutes.

·         Right wing Justin Fontaine leads all scorers in the series with four points through two games. He is tied for second in the Calder Cup Playoffs with three goals.

·         Aeros goalie Darcy Kuemper is fifth in the AHL with a 1.51 g.a.a and second with a .957 save percentage. Griffins’ goalie Petr Mrazek is eighth with a 2.03 g.a.a and is in the top ten with a .920 save percentage.

·         The team that scores first has gone on to win each game.

·         Houston ranks second on the power play, going 2 for 7 (28.6%).The team is fifth on the penalty kill at 88.9% (8 for 9

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