From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Thursday, December 30, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Admirals 5, Aeros 2
Official Box Score
Quintin Laing and Shawn Thornton each tallied a goal and an assist, as the Norfolk Admirals cruised by the Houston Aeros 5-2 at The Scope. Michael Leighton made 31 saves, and Rene Bourque, Mike Brown and Eric Nickulas also scored for Norfolk, which reached the five-goal plateau for just the second time this season and has won two straight.
Stephane Veilleux and Kirby Law each scored and Kyle Kettles stopped nine-of-12 shots for Houston, which has lost two straight for the first time since December 2-3. Mike Smith, pulled in last nights 4-1 home loss to Milwaukee, made 16 saves in two-plus periods of relief.
The teams meet again at 5 p.m. Friday.
Laing and Thornton combined for the first two goals in a span of 4:05 early in the game at Norfolk seized control. Thornton assisted Laing at 3:13, and Laing and Michal Barinka returned the favor as toughguy Thornton got his second of the season.
Brown ended Kettles night with 3:30 remaining in the first, as his third of the season (against 155 penalty minutes) pushed Norfolks lead to three goals. Kettles was making his first AHL start since April 9 of last season.
In its last two road games, Houston has been outscored 5-0 in the first period.
The Aeros were able to stay within three until late in the second, when Bourque, a rookie leading the Ads in scoring, got the puck by Smith. The tally came with 1:55 left in the period. Houston has allowed 20 goals in the first or last two minutes of a period this season, while scoring only seven in that span.
Veilleux got Houston on the board at 4:18 of the third, as Pierre-Marc Bouchard slipped a pass from behind the net to Veilleux, who backhanded the puck past Leighton for his 12th of the season sixth on the power play. Veilleuxs 12 goals are one off his career-best, set last season.
Shortly thereafter, the Aeros got a 4-on-3 power play after a too many men on the ice penalty and didnt get a shot on Leighton. Then, 26 seconds later, Norfolk restored the lead to four goals when Nickulas tapped a rebound off an Aeros defender in front and past Smith for his first goal of the season.
Law finished the scoring with his seventh of the season with 5:34 left.
Thornton and Erik Reitz fought at the 20:00 mark of the third, their third bout in the past two seasons. Thornton got an instigator penalty on the play.
Houston went 1-for-7 on the power play and is 13-for-50 with the man advantage in its last nine games. Norfolk sports the leagues best home penalty kill unit. The Admirals finished 0-for-3 on the power play.
Aeros defenseman John Erskine went over the 1,000-career penalty minute mark when he picked up a minor penalty at 7:55 of the second.
Veilleux scored his sixth goal in the last seven games.
The Aeros, who wrapped up a 4-3-1-0 homestand last night, played their first road game in a span of 36 days, since November 24 in Chicago.
Norfolk beat Houston for just the third time in the last 10 regular-season attempts.
The Aeros failed to score in the first period for the first time in nine games.
Norfolk, 9-3-0-0 at home, won a game at The Scope by more than one goal for just the second time this season.
Houstons nine goals allowed over its last two games are one off its season-high in the category. The Aeros gave up five goals each to Chicago and Cleveland October 20 and 22.
The Aeros, whose plane left at 5:50 this morning, fell to 8-4-1-0 when playing the second or third game of back-to-back contests.
Houston is 3-9-1-1 when scoring two or fewer goals.