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Griffins bounce back to even series

Game 2

( — Grand Rapids built a three-goal lead and held on for a 3-2 win over Houston in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Toyota Center on Sunday evening.

The series is tied at 1-1 with Game 3 set for Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

Tomas Tatar gave the Griffins a 1-0 lead at 4:16 of the first period. Off a four-on-two rush, Riley Sheahan set up Tatar between the circles, and Tatar sent a bullet by Darcy Kuemper for the Griffins’ first goal of the series. Chad Billins had the second assist on the goal.

Grand Rapids extended its lead to 2-0 at 11:02 of the second period off a power-play goal by Tomas Jurco. Defenseman Nathan Paetsch played the puck to the net from the left point and Jurco deflected the shot past Kuemper. Jurco’s first of the playoffs was also assisted by Landon Ferraro for the two-goal lead.

Grand Rapids upped its lead to 3-0 at 14:06 of the third period, as Jurco wrapped a shot inside the near post for his second goal of the night. Jan Mursak and Luke Glendening had assists on the goal.

Justin Fontaine cut the lead to 3-1 at 15:33 in the third on a rebound. Brian Connelly‘s shot was deflected by Chad Rau, and Fontaine was there for his third goal of the series.

Houston pulled within a goal in the last minute, as Connelly fired a shot through traffic and into the Griffins net with 12.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Mikael Granlund and Fontaine each had an assist as the Aeros trimmed the deficit to 3-2.

Mrazek made 19 saves in the win for Grand Rapids. Kuemper stopped 31 of 34 in defeat.