Grand Rapids took advantage of third period power play opportunities, scoring five times with the man advantage in the final frame, capped off by the game winner by Valtteri Filppula with 2:17 remaining to give Grand Rapids a 6-5 victory over Houston.
Houston got off to a hot start with three first period goals, and took a three goal lead into the first intermission. After the teams traded goals in the second period, the Griffins outscored the Aeros 5-1 in the third period.
Jiri Hudler was instrumental in the Griffins third period success, as all four of his points (2g, 2a) came in the in the third. Hudler is now tied for the League lead in scoring (50) with Houston’s Erik Westrum who had a second period assist.
The Aeros loss snaps an eight game winning streak, and is their first loss to the Griffins since March of 2004, a seven game span, and it is yet another one goal game, the ninth in the last 12 meetings between the two clubs.
The Griffins (25-11-1-2, 53 pts.) extend their lead to three points over Manitoba while the Aeros (26-9-1-1, 54 pts.) remain in first place by seven points over Milwaukee.
Elsewhere on Friday:
Toronto’s Tyler Beechey scored 40 seconds into overtime to give the Marlies a 5-4 lead over Manitoba… Peter Sarno scored a hat trick for Syracuse leading the Crunch to a 4-2 win over struggling Albany… Keith Aucoin, Kristofer Kolanos, and David Gove each had two goals in Lowell’s 9-2 blowout of Norfolk… Colby Genoway scored twice to lead Hartford to a 5-2 victory over Portland in front of 12,206 at the Hartford Civic Center… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Philadelphia 4-2, extending their winning streak to five games… Sean Bergenheim scored a power play goal with one second remaining in the game to give Bridgeport a 4-3 victory over Hershey… Corey Locke had a goal in regulation and a goal in the shootout to help Hamilton to a 2-1 victory over Peoria Rivermen… Providence, helped by third period goals by Pascal Pelletier and Eric Nickulas, has now won eight of their last ten with a 3-2 win over Manchester… Nathan Paetsch had two goals to give him a team leading 31 points on the season in Rochester’s 6-2 victory in Binghamton… Cleveland Goaltender Nolan Schaefer stopped 24 of 25 shots on his way to a 4-1 victory over Milwaukee… Brent Krahn made 29 for Omaha in the Knights 3-1 win over Chicago.