Dan Cavanaugh and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in the first period, as the Houston Aeros rallied from an early deficit to earn a 2-1 victory in Rochester to snap the Americans six-game winning streak. Mike Smith turned aside 25 shots to win for the fifth time in six decisions for Houston, which snapped a two-game skid. The Aeros, unbeaten lifetime against Rochester (4-0-3-0), play game three of their five-game road trip Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Syracuse.
Houston improved to 9-7-1-1 this season. It took the Aeros 26 games (9-13-2-2) until they won their ninth on December 13 last season.
Geoff Peters scored and Ryan Miller made 29 saves for Rochester, which had won four straight at War Memorial.
Peters gave Rochester the early 1-0 lead at 6:04 of the first just eight seconds after an Aeros penalty expired, but it took just 1:58 for Houston to answer on the power play. Bouchard capitalized on an assist by Zbynek Michalek, banking one in off the crossbar for his fifth goal. The Quebec native has a hand in 10 of Houstons 15 power play goals. Hes been on the ice for eight of the last 10 power play goals.
The Aeros got another man advantage 34 seconds later but didnt score. However, Cavanaughs third goal first since October 30 gave Houston its first edge with 1:50 left in the first. Cavanaugh started the play by causing a turnover in the lower circle.
Rochester got four power plays in a second period, but Smith and his defense held strong.
The Amerks got another power play the second caused by a too many men on the ice penalty early in the third, but again they couldnt get anything by Smith.
Houstons Mikko Koivu then was sent off for hooking with 6:51 remaining, but Rochester could do nothing as the Aeros forced a pair of turnovers to help kill off the penalty.
Rochester had a total of 14 shots through two periods, but Smith was perfect on 12 Amerks attempts in the final 20 minutes.
Houston finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while Rochester went 0-for-7. Houston has killed off 38-of-42 shorthanded chances over the last seven games.
Bouchard has four points (2-2=4) in his three-game point streak, tying a season-high.
The Aeros improved to 6-3-1-1 in one-goal games.
Houston scratched Chris Heid, Todd Reirden, Matt Foy and Marius Holtet.
The Aeros are 7-2-0-0 when playing the second or third game of back-to-back situations.
Smith moved over the career .500 mark in his AHL career at 19-18-0.
Houston has a power play in four straight games.
Aeros winger Kyle Wanvig picked up a minor penalty and now has 368 career penalty minutes, one behind Graeme Townshend for seventh on the teams all-time list.
Mark Cullen assisted on Cavanaughs goal and now has 97 career points in an Aeros uniform.
Houston scored in the first or last two minutes of a period for the fourth time this season. Opponents have done it 11 times.
Ten of Houstons 12 road games have been decided by one goal (5-3-1-1).
The Aeros are 6-1-0-0 when leading after one period and a perfect 6-0-0-0 when leading after 40 minutes.
Houston had allowed at least one goal in eight straight periods prior to the second stanza tonight.
Tonight marked just the second time this season the Aeros havent scored at least three goals in support of Smith.
The Aeros won for only the second time (2-5-0-1) when failing to score three goals.
Three of Bouchards five goals have either tied the game or given the Aeros the lead.