|Aeros 6, Griffins 5 (SO) |
Official Box Score
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Roman Voloshenko scored a pair of goals, and linemates Erik Westrum (1-2=3) and Kirby Law (0-3=3) each tallied three points, as the Houston Aeros defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-5 in a shootout at Van Andel Arena. In his first start with Houston, Seamus Kotyk made 28 saves and stopped the AHL’s leading goal scorer, Jiri Hudler, in the final round of the shootout to secure the victory. Patrick O’Sullivan scored in regulation and got the deciding goal in the shootout, and Bryan Lundbohm also scored the Aeros, who are the only team to beat Grand Rapids (6-2-0-1) this season.
Kyle Quincey tallied two goals and an assist, Nick Martens and Eric Manlow added a goal and a helper apiece and Tomas Kopecky also scored for Grand Rapids, which trailed 4-1 after one and 5-3 heading into the third period. Hudler pitched in three assists and Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots in his second pro start.
The Aeros are 1-1-0-0 on a three-game, three-night road trip that ends Sunday in Peoria at 6 p.m. in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference. Houston returns home Thursday to face Iowa at 7:05 p.m.
Voloshenko has six goals in his last two games against Grand Rapids after burning three-time NHL All-Star Chris Osgood four times eight days ago. Westrum has totaled nine points (3-6=9) in three contests versus the Griffins this season. Curtis Murphy, who added an assist, has seven helpers in the three meetings.
The Griffins scored twice in the third to earn the point, and got all five shots in overtime. But Houston battled to get the extra point.
Westrum led off for the Aeros in the shootout and scored on his patented backhand-to-forehand move. Kopecky countered for Grand Rapids, and Kotyk stopped the low shot. In round two, O’Sullivan - who earlier scored on a breakaway - scored low blocker side. Donald MacLean ripped a shot wide for the Griffins.
Howard gloved aside Voloshenko’s shot in round three, and Kotyk ranged far to his left to snag Valtteri Filppula’s attempt.
Law beat Howard but hit the crossbar with a chance to put the dagger in the Griffins. Manlow snuck a shot five-hole by Kotyk to keep Grand Rapids alive.
Rem Murray’s low shot was blocked by Howard, and Hudler came off the bench for the shootout-tying attempt. Kotyk stoned the AHL’s top goal scorer to seal the victory.
Early in the game, it looked as though Grand Rapids wouldn’t need a comeback.
The Aeros came into the game winless in three straight, and were outscored 11-2 in their last two losses. Things started badly for them again, when a failed clearing attempt eventually led to Kopecky’s third goal of the season, 80 seconds into the game.
But Houston stormed back with four goals in the period, the first two on the power play.
With 7:15 gone, Voloshenko tallied his first of the night. He took a long pass from Law at the doorstep, and poked the puck by Howard.
Westrum, who began Voloshenko’s scoring play, made it 2-0 at 9:32, with Houston again on the man advantage, just six seconds after a 5-on-3 expired. Law, at the left wing boards, threaded a pass through traffic to Westrum at the right edge of the crease. Westrum, while falling backwards, lifted a puck short side by Howard for his fifth of the season.
The Aeros extended to a 3-1 lead at 13:33 of the first. Murphy picked off a drop pass at the Grand Rapids offensive blueline and fed O’Sullivan, who beat Howard on a clear breakaway for his third goal. Seven of Murphy’s 10 assists this season have come versus the Griffins.
Just 25 seconds later, two Grand Rapids defensemen gathered on an Aeros player, leaving Voloshenko alone. The young Russian skated in alone on Howard, and snuck the puck under the netminder’s pads for his second of the game, ninth of the season and sixth versus the Griffins.
Grand Rapids scored twice in the second to start the comeback, although Houston answered with a goal midway through the period.
The Griffins got within 4-2 just 3:47 into the second. Hudler carried the puck around the goal from the left wing and fed Travis Richards cutting in from the left point. Richards’ shot got blocked, but the puck rolled slowly to Quincey at the top of the right circle. Quincey’s rocket eluded Kotyk for the rookie’s first pro goal.
Quincey’s second of the period drew the Griffins within a goal just shy of the game’s midway point, at 9:27. With Ryan Stokes in the box for high-sticking, Martens slid a right-to-left pass just inside the blueline to Quincey, who blasted an open shot by Kotyk.
But Houston needed only 49 seconds to restore the lead to two goals, 5-3. Lundbohm slammed home a Joel Ward feed for his first goal with the Aeros.
Grand Rapids’ Kent McDonell hit the post with less than four minutes left in the middle period, keeping Houston’s lead at two.
The Griffins scored twice, both on the power play, within 54 seconds before the midway point of the third to send the game into overtime.
A holding penalty to Josh Olson in led to Grand Rapids’ fourth goal, at 8:17. Hudler twirled his way through the left circle and got a weak backhander on net. The puck sat on the doorstep, and Manlow ripped it just inside the far post for his fourth goal. Quincey also got an assist on the play.
Martens’ first goal as a pro tied the game, only 54 seconds later after Clayton Stoner was whistled for holding the stick. Hudler, at the right point, fed Manlow in the corner. Manlow slid a nifty pass across the low slot, and Martens, stationed at the far post, tipped the puck into an open net.
Early in overtime, Kotyk stood his ground and made a great save on Manlow’s wraparound attempt. The Griffin walked out from behind the net alone, but Kotyk made the save with his chest.
The Griffins ended overtime with a 5-0 shot advantage.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Grand Rapids went 3-for-7. The Aeros were 1-for-25 with the man advantage since putting up four on the Griffins last Friday.
Notes: The Aeros scratched Josh Harding, Chris Heid, Erik Reitz, Anders Myrvold, Adam Courchaine, Mark Rooneem and Joey Tetarenko. Defenseman Colin Peters, recalled from ECHL Pensacola prior to the game, made his Aeros debut. He played seven AHL games with three teams in 2004-05. The Aeros were winless in three straight games for the first time since an 0-2-1-0 run from March 18-20 of last season. Murphy played in his 150th consecutive regular-season game, counting his European travels. He hasn’t missed a game since the opener of the 2003-04 season while attending Dan Snyder’s funeral. That’s the only game he’s missed since the 2001-02 campaign. The long-time rivals don’t play again until the final meeting of the season, January 6 in Houston. Eight of the 11 meetings in the last two seasons have been decided by one goal. Tonight was only the Griffins’ second one-goal game in nine contests. The other was against Houston.