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Houston, TX – The Houston Aeros (2-3) were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins (3-2) 7-0 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals on Saturday night in front of 2,290 fans at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins scored four times in the second period to pull away from Houston and win the first round best of five series 3-2. Tomas Tatar led the charge with two goals in the middle period and finishing with three points on the night. Griffins’ goalie Petr Mrazek (3-2) stopped all 24 shots for the win. Houston goalie Mike Condon (1-2) made 34 saves in the defeat. Houston’s season comes to an end, while Grand Rapids will move on the play Toronto in the Western Conference Semifinal.
The Griffins struck for the first goal of the game, connecting for a tally at 12:03 of the first period. After goalie Mike Condon deflected a flurry of shots, a rebound kicked out to the slot and Francis Pare snuck a shot past the Aeros goalie for the 1-0 lead. Forward Tomas Tatar and defenseman Chad Billins each had an assist on the only goal of the first period.
The Griffins opened up the game with four goals in the second period of play. The rout started at 4:25 of the middle frame when Tomas Tatar rifled a shot from the top of the right-wing circle. The shot sailed over the shoulder of Condon for the 2-0 lead. Grand Rapids made it 3-0 at 8:56 of the second period as Riley Sheahan scored from the top of the left-wing circle for his first goal of the playoffs. The Griffins expanded their lead to 4-0 at 13:52 of the second period. Forward Jan Mursak scored his first goal of the playoffs from Mitch Callahan and Nathan Paetsch. Tatar wrapped up the scoring for Grand Rapids in the middle period with his third goal of the playoffs and second of the night and a 5-0 lead. Adam Almquist and Luke Glendening each had an assist on the team’s fifth goal of the night.
In the third period, Griffins defenseman Adam Almquist scored a power-play goal for a six-goal cushion 4:06 into the period. Landon Ferraro and Teemu Pulkkinen each had an assist on the tally. Teemu Pulkkinen added the seventh goal of the night for the Griffins, connecting at 17:25 for the 7-0 final.
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 0 at Grand Rapids 7 (GR wins series 3-2)