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Griffins Notebook

WATCH: Griffins, McCollum get 2-0 shutout win vs Houston

WATCH: Griffins, McCollum get 2-0 shutout win vs Houston

So much for having to shake off any rust. After an 18-day layoff, Tom McCollum returned to
action on Wednesday and stopped all 28 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the season and lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 2-0 win over the Houston Aeros at Van Andel Arena.

McCollum, who hadn’t played since Jan. 19 while serving seven straight games as Jimmy Howard’s backup in Detroit, logged his 100th game as a Griffin and followed Petr Mrazek’s shutout of Abbotsford on Saturday with one of his own. The consecutive shutouts are the first for Grand Rapids since Dec. 20-21, 2008.

The Griffins (27-14-2-2), who restored their lead atop the Midwest Division to nine points over Chicago, will travel to Oklahoma City for a Friday-Saturday set against the Barons. Faceoff each night is 8:00pm. Coverage both nights begins at 7:40pm on NewsRadio WOOD 1300 and 106.9fm.

After having scored just one goal while being swept by the Aeros (22-18-4-3) and goalie Darcy Kuemper on Jan. 25-26 at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins solved Kuemper just 3:45 into the contest. Tomas Jurco carried the puck into the Houston zone and centered a pass to Brett Skinner that was immediately tipped ahead to Riley Sheahan, who scooped a backhand over Kuemper from close range.

With 1:48 remaining in the third period, Kuemper went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker. McCollum denied several scoring chances over the duration, and the Griffins appeared headed for their first back-to-back 1-0 victories in franchise history until captain Jeff Hoggan scored into the empty net with six seconds left.

McCollum won for the third time in his last four games and improved to 11-6-1 on the season with a 2.94 goals against average and a 0.905 save percentage. He helped increase the Griffins’ team shutout streak to 154:19, within striking distance of the club’s all-time mark of 184:07 set from March 1-7, 2002.

Kuemper, who entered the night with a 4-0 lifetime record at Van Andel Arena, made 23 saves in defeat.

Notes: Only three other goaltenders – Joey MacDonald (210), Howard (186) and Marc Lamothe (103) – have played more games for the Griffins than McCollum…Three of Grand Rapids’ last five games and four of its last nine have featured a shutout by either team.

Three Stars: 1. GR McCollum (W, 28 saves, shutout); 2. GR Sheahan (game-winning goal); 3. GR Paetsch (plus-one) 

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