CLEVELAND, Ohio Defensemen Garrett Stafford and Jim Fahey each scored a goal, lifting the Cleveland Barons to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Aeros at National City Rink in Gund Arena. Dmitri Patzold turned aside 24 shots and Patrick Rissmiller also scored for Cleveland, which has won three straight overall and three straight and seven of eight versus the Aeros. The Barons outshot Houston 47-25.
Houston scratched Chris Heid, Dan Cavanaugh, Todd Reirden and Marius Holtet.
Stephane Veilleux scored a power play goal and Josh Harding finished with a career-best 44 saves for Houston, which has dropped three of four overall and is 0-3-0-0 this season versus the Barons.
The Aeros play game two of a five-game road trip Friday at 6:35 p.m. against Rochester.
Houston averages just 1.67 goals when Harding starts, compared to 3.63 when teammate Mike Smith is between the pipes. Houston has scored a total of two goals in Hardings last three starts.
The Barons took it to the Aeros early on, getting a 10-2 edge in shots and a 1-0 lead in the opening half of the first period.
Staffords third goal of the season put Cleveland on top at 8:44 when he took advantage of a bad bounce off an Aero in front.
Houstons Brent Burns clanged the puck off the post early on his teams first power play against a Barons penalty kill unit ranked last in the AHL.
The Barons outshot Houston 14-5 in the first period.
Veilleuxs team-best fifth goal evened things up exactly two minutes into the second period, with one second left on an Aeros 5-on-3. Burns let one loose from the blueline, and after Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a shot, Veilleux poked it past Patzold.
After that goal, Cleveland again regained control of play, getting 16 of the games next 19 shots.
Cleveland got 49 seconds of a 5-on-3 shortly thereafter, but Harding robbed Rissmillers rebound attempt from point-blank range. However, with the Barons still up a man, Faheys first of the season, through a screen, put Cleveland up 2-1.
With 1:30 left in the second, a long rebound off Harding kicked to Bouchard, who sped up ice on a breakaway, but he banged the puck off Patzolds blocker.
Harding helped keep it a one-goal game with Cleveland on the power play midway through the second, but he covered up Shane Josephs attempt from the doorstep.
The Barons enjoyed a 14-8 shot advantage over the final 20 minutes. Houston pulled Harding in the final 90 seconds, but Rissmiller finished the victory with an empty-netter with 34 ticks remaining.
Houston finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Cleveland went 1-for-6. The Aeros had no power play attempts after their goal, while the Barons had four in that span.
Bouchard has a hand in nine of the Aeros 14 power play goals. Hes been on the ice for seven of the last nine.
The Aeros have allowed a league-high 21 first-period goals.
The teams finish off the season series Tuesday in Cleveland.
Three of Patzolds five wins this season have come versus Houston.
Burns has at least one point in six of his last eight games. The Aeros fell to 6-2-0-0 when he finds the scoresheet.
Houston has a power play goal in each of its last three games.
Veilleuxs goal was just Houstons third in the first or last two minutes of a period. Aeros opponents have 11 goals in that span.