Director of Communications
Thursday, December 23, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) AEROS 5, Rampage 2Official Box ScoreHOUSTON, Texas
Mikko Koivus three-point night included a power play and shorthanded goal, leading the Houston Aeros past the San Antonio Rampage 5-2 at Toyota Center. Rickard Wallin added a power play goal and an assist and Todd Reirden and Stephane Veilleux also scored for Houston, which tied a season-high with its third straight win.
Mike Smith made 23 saves in winning his third straight for Houston, which next plays Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. versus defending Calder Cup champion Milwaukee. The Aeros improved to 4-2-1-0 on their eight-game homestand and moved a season-high five games over the .500 mark (15-10-2-1). Houston is 12-2-1-0 all-time at home versus the Rampage.
Chris Nielson and Greg Campbell each scored and Travis Scott turned aside 14-of-17 shots before being pulled for San Antonio, which has lost five of six and played its sixth game in seven nights. Patrick DesRochers made 15 saves in relief of Scott.
The Aeros nearly got on the board 40 seconds in when Koivu beat Scott but clanged a shot off the post, but Reirdens first goal of the season made it 1-0 exactly four minutes in. Derek Boogaard jarred the puck loose along the boards, and Marc Cavosie, along the left wing boards, fed Reirden at the point. Reirdens first shot was blocked by Scott, but the journeyman blueliner followed the puck and chipped it by the netminder. It was the first assist this season in 25 games for Boogaard.
San Antonio didnt manage a shot until there were nearly eight minutes gone by, but Smith had to stop several good opportunities later in the period.
Smith made a nice lateral move to rob Greg Jacina on a 2-on-1 with 8:45 remaining, and a minute later he watched as Kamil Kreps transition power play shot hit off seemingly every part of the post before rattling out.
Kirby Law nearly made it 2-0 early in the second when he hit one off the post, but then the line of Wallin, Koivu and Junior Lessard took over on the power play.
At 4:48, Koivus first of the game built a two-goal edge. Lessard, at the left wing boards, fed Koivu at the edge of the circle, and the Wilds No. 1 rated prospect blasted a one-timer by Scott.
Wallins fourth goal, also on the power play, made it 3-0 Aeros 2:48 later. Zbynek Michalek picked up a Koivu rebound at the left point and faked a shot, instead sliding a perfect pass to Wallin at the right edge of the crease. Wallin popped the puck over a diving Scott for the goal. That ended Scotts night, as he was replaced by DesRochers.
San Antonio again had problems getting untracked in the middle period, failing to record a shot in the opening eight minutes.
After the Aeros killed off a power play, San Antonio got within 3-1 with 9:41 left in the second. Ryan Jardine picked off a careless pass at the blueline and walked in on Smith. Jardine fed Nielsen at the left doorstep, and Nielson put the puck by the goalie for his third goal of the season.
Campbell helped the Rampage cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:46 left, two minutes after Nielsen fired a shot five feed wide on a breakaway. With DesRochers off for a delayed penalty, Campbell banked the puck in the net off the Aeros John Erskine and was credited with his seventh goal of the season.
The Aeros wasted no time getting those two goals back with a span of 2:40 early in the third. Veilleuxs team-best 11th of the season and fifth in as many games, just 11 seconds in, made it 4-2. Law pushed the puck ahead to Mark Cullen, who slid the puck from behind the goal line to Veilleux at the lower edge of the right circle. Veilleux finished to close within two goals of his AHL career-high.
After Smith was called for delay of game, Koivus shorthanded tally pushed the lead back to three. A nice hustling play by Wallin caused a turnover at the blueline, and Koivu picked up the pieces and rocketed a shot high glove side past DesRochers from the top of the left circle to complete his second two-goal game in his last six contests.
Houston finished 2-for-4 on the power play, while San Antonio went 0-for-5. The Aeros are 11-for-37 with the man advantage through seven games of the homestand, while killing off 25-of-27 shorthanded chances. Notes:
The Aeros have scored a first-period goal in each of their first seven games on the homestand, and in 10 of 11 games overall.
San Antonio has led after one period on the road just twice in 17 games.
Koivus three points also tied his career-best, set November 28 versus Utah (2-1=3).
Reirden became the 19th Aero with a goal this season, leaving only Boogaard and Erik Reitz without a tally. Reitz was originally credited with a goal Saturday against Norfolk, but the goal was later changed to Marius Holtet.
After the game, the Aeros announced they reassigned goalie Robert Gherson to UHL Quad Cities, and left wing Mark Rooneem and defenseman Chris Heid to ECHL Louisiana.