What You Missed: Erik Haula's First Pro Goal & James Sheppard Hits A Guy

Erik Haula can now associate something positive from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Haula scored his first professional goal at the end of the first period Tuesday night for Houston. Returning to Van Andel Arena, the scene of the Gophers' season-ending loss to Yale in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Pori, Finland native and former University of Minnesota standout took a pass from Chad Rau and wristed a shot past Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek.

His goal gave the Aeros a 1-0 lead with just 9 seconds left in the first. However, Grand Rapids came back with 2 goals in both the second and third periods to win 4-2. The Griffins hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and can clinch with a win Friday.

(That also means Houston is one loss away from ending a 19 year run of minor league hockey.)

Haula, Minnesota's 7th round pick in 2009, now has 4 points (1G-3A) in 9 games split between the regular and postseason since signing a pro contract. Prior to that he had 51 points (16G-35A) in 37 games for the Gophers.

In other news last night, patron saint James Sheppard played in his first playoff game in five years. San Jose became the first road team to win a game, defeating Vancouver 3-1, and Sheppard made himself known early with this hit on Canucks forward Andrew Ebbett.

Also noteworthy: Former Wild forward Martin Havlat left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and Brent Burns played forward/is probably growing some sort of awesome beard.

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