Defensive Woes Help Aeros Ground Griffins 5-4

Defensive Woes Help Aeros Ground Griffins 5-4
McCollum gives up 5 goals for fourth straight start...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
February 11th, 2012

Grand Rapids played well enough to win this game, scoring 4 goals and holding the Aeros to just 22 shots. The problem was how many of those 22 were gift-wrapped scoring chances due to defensive miscues. The Aeros took advantage of the Griffins mistakes and put five goals past Thomas McCollum for the fourth straight time. Despite all of that, it looked like GR would live to fight another day thanks to Andersson's late game heroics, but Houston out it away for good with less than 30 seconds left. Minard (6), Johnson (17) and Brunnstrom (6) had the other goals for Grand Rapids.

Houston got on the board just past the five-minute mark; taking advantage of a scrambling McCollum, with Scandella sliding the puck under him for a 1-0 lead. Johnson sprung Minard on a breakaway from center ice, and the wily sniper did not miss, making a nice move and the tucking it behind Kuemper. McCollum made a huge shorthanded save that was a game changer. Minard and Johnson conspired again to score the next Griffins goal. Minard got the puck, skated around the back of the net and fed Johnson on the doorstep for an easy tap-in. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Hou 8.

Brunnstrom in the slot snapped a shot past Kuemper, high stick-side to extend the lead to 3-1. Smith and McIntyre dropped the gloves and squared off deep in the Griffins zone. Smith landed several flurries before the grappling match ended with both combatants going to the ice. The Aeros cut the lead to one when Pyett gave the puck away right in front and Ortmeyer pounced on it and put it behind McCollum. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Hou 8.

The Aeros tied it up early in the third on a goal by Foucault, and then went ahead on another Pyett turnover. McIntyre picked up the puck in the slot and smoked a shot in over McCollum's shoulder to make it 4-3. Ferraro had a great scoring chance and then got pushed around a bit after the whistle, touching off a scrum. Piche blew up an Aeros player with a nice hip check. With time running down, the Griffin's summoned McCollum to the bench for the extra attacker and it paid off with a timely Griffins goal by Andersson. But the joy was short-lived as just 17 seconds later the Aeros tallied their fifth of the game to regain the lead and the win. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Hou 6. For the Game: GR 34 - Hou 22.

Lines:
Conner - Andersson - Brunnstrom
Tatar - Ferraro - Pare
Minard - Johnson - Nyquist
Callahan - Aubry - Coetzee

Pairings:
Janik - Smith
Exelby - Pyett
Lashoff - Piche

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Pearce

Scratches:
Raedeke
Parkes
Ehrhardt

PP:
Tatar - Ferraro - Pare
Janik - Smith/Nyquist/Piche

Nyquist - Johnson - Nyquist
Piche - Pyett

PK:
Andersson - Brunnstrom
Janik- Smith

Tatar - Nyquist
Exelby - Lashoff

Conner - Pare

Observations:

Logan Pyett had a terrible night, directly contributing to 3 Aeros goals with giveaways. After the last one, you could tell how frustrated he was.

Brendan Smith had a strong game, moving the puck well, and playing with an edge.

Aubry was throwing some thunderous checks during his limited shifts, and played with a lot of intensity.

McCollum had a strong start, but went downhill as the game went on.

Piche had a good game, joining the rush and getting a couple of scoring chances. He looked very confident and wasn't afraid to play the puck.



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