From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 5, Grizzlies 2Official Box Score
Dan Cavanaugh tied his career high in points with a goal and two assists, and he became the 22nd player in team history with 100 points, as the Houston Aeros rallied from a very early deficit for a 5-2 victory over the Utah Grizzlies at Toyota Center. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Rickard Wallin and Kirby Law each notched a goal and an assist for Houston.
Mike Smith made 22 saves against his former team and Jeremy Reich and Mikko Koivu each added two assists for Houston, which won for the fifth time in six home games and moved to 74 points one shy of third-place Cincinnati and still three clear of fifth-place Grand Rapids, a 4-3 overtime winner in Milwaukee tonight.
The Aeros, who have picked up a point in seven straight meetings with Utah (5-0-0-2), continue their five-game homestand this Friday against Grand Rapids at 7:35 p.m. The first 3,000 fans receive Aeros nesting dolls featuring Law, Kyle Wanvig and Junior Lessard.
David LeNeveu made 29 stops and Kiel McLeod and Jakub Koreis each scored for the Grizzlies, who were trying to win back-to-back games for the second time this season.
Houston allowed the first goal for the ninth time in 10 games, coming only 32 ticks into the contest. McLeod slipped a wraparound between Smiths legs for his 10th goal of the season.
Past the six-minute mark, Houston had to kill off a 4:30 power play after Brent Burns picked up a high-sticking major during an Aeros power play. Smith made a pair of up-close saves on the advantage.
The scored stayed 1-0 until Wallins 10th goal with 4:30 left in the first. Reich, from the left circle, slid a nifty pass to a streaking Wallin, who deflected the puck off the top of the net and in. The goal was not originally credited, but after discussion with his linesmen, Dean Morton signaled goal.
Houstons Joey Tetarenko and Utahs Eric Labelle fought with 3:56 left in the first.
Bouchard put the Aeros on top for the first time just 1:48 into the second, on the power play. Law bided his time with the puck behind the net and hit Bouchard, pinching in from the point. Bouchard played back on the power play tonight due to several injuries to the teams blueline corps. Bouchard one-timed a shot past LeNeveu for his 11th goal.
Law nearly made it a two-goal advantage five minutes in, as he had a clear breakaway with his team shorthanded. LeNeveu stood his ground and made the pad save. Seconds later on the other end, Smith swallowed up Fredrik Sjostrom attempt from between the circles.
Cavanaughs sixth goal third this month pushed the lead to 3-1 at 6:27 of the second. Bouchard kept the puck alive, dancing between defenders behind the net, walked into the left circle and dropped a pass to Cavanaugh, who drilled the puck high over the goalies blocker for his 99th Aeros point.
The Aeros had more than three minutes on the power play late in the second, including 1:30 of 5-on-3 time, and Zbynek Michaleks shot rang off the far post on their best chance.
After killing off all that shorthanded time, Koreis got Utah back within 3-2 with 34 seconds left in the second with his fourth goal all against Houston.
Cavanaugh fought Koreis early in the third to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick of a goal, assist and fighting major. Koreis had sent Giroux hard into the boards late in the second period.
Laws goal, one of the strangest seen all season, restored the advantage to two goals at 5:40 of the third. Law took a pass from Reich at the blueline, chased his own dump-in behind four Grizzlies to get the puck, and ripped a skidding shot from along the goal line in the corner. The puck squeezed between LeNeveus legs for Laws 20th of the season.
The Aeros defense, which has allowed the second-fewest third-period goals (45) in the AHL, took over from there. Giroux added an empty-netter, from Cavanaugh, with 45.4 seconds left, his 10th of the season.
Houston finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Utah went 0-for-3. The Aeros are 11-for-39 against the Grizzlies on the man advantage, including 8-for-26 at home.
The Aeros scratched Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Stephane Veilleux, Patrick Traverse, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard and John Erskine.
Houston improved to 12-22-4-4 when it doesnt score first. The Aeros have trailed at one point in 14 of their 32 victories.
Bouchard leads the team with 13 multiple-point games.
Smith played in his 100th game, counting a season in ECHL Lexington.
Smith is unbeaten in his last four games against his former team (2-0-2).
Laws assist was his 350th pro point.
The Aeros are a perfect 5-0-0-0 when Cavanaugh scores a goal, and 8-2-1-1 when he picks up a point.
When Wallin scores, Houston is 9-1-0-0. The Aeros are 20-7-1-0 when Wallin has a point of any kind.
The only game out of the last 10 in which Houston has scored first was an 8-0 thumping of San Antonio on March 12. Thats also the last time in that span the Aeros have led after one period.
Tonight was the Aeros 50th win against Utah (50-39-4-3), their most versus any team.
Houston is 11-3-1-0 in the last 15 home meetings.
Maxime Fortunus and David Bararuk, recalled from ECHL Louisiana yesterday, both saw action tonight.
Reich posted nine points (4-5=9) in 50 games with Syracuse, but he has three (1-2=3) already in six games with Houston. Reich played junior hockey for Aeros head coach Todd McLellan.
Law notched his third straight 20-goal season, and his sixth in seven pro campaigns.
One team has scored five goals in each of the last six Toyota Center meetings.
Five Aeros have hit the 100-point plateau this season, all members of the teams 2003 Calder Cup champion squad.