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Kuemper blanks Griffins in playoff debut

Game 1

Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves to earn a shutout in his professional playoff debut, backstopping the Houston Aeros to a 3-0 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Toyota Center on Friday night.

The Aeros host Game 2 on Sunday before the series shifts to Grand Rapids for the final three games.

Kuemper, who was 13-8-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in 21 regular-season appearances for Houston, made eight saves in the first period, 15 in the second period and 13 more in the third for the sixth-seeded Aeros, who beat the Griffins at home for the first time in four tries this season.

Marco Scandella broke a scoreless tie with a power-play goal at 11:55 of the second period, and Justin Fontaine scored twice, including an empty-netter with 1:46 left in regulation to seal the win.

Petr Mrazek, also making his first career AHL playoff start, stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Griffins.