From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Admirals 3, Aeros 0Official Box Score
Brian Finley made 31 saves for his record fourth shutout against Houston third this season and second straight and Bryan Lundbohm snapped a tie late in the second period, as the Milwaukee Admirals beat the Houston Aeros 3-0 at Bradley Center. Scottie Upshall and Vernon Fiddler also scored for the Ads. Milwaukee, which improved to 8-2-1-1 in its last 12 and won the season series 7-3-0, moved to 97 points two behind first-place Chicago with two games in hand.
Mike Smith stopped 27 shots for Houston, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and is in Utah on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. The Aeros remained at 83 points tied for third place with Cincinnati, which has a game in hand. The top four teams in the West Division make the Calder Cup playoffs. Houston fell to 1-6-2-0 in its last nine trips to Milwaukee, and 3-13-2-1 in the last 19 meetings overall. The Aeros have scored six goals in their last eight losses (0-6-0-2) but 36 in their last seven wins.
Finley made 10 saves in the first period, eight in the second and 13 in the third to improve to 15-6-1 against the Aeros the most wins of any goalie. Hes the first netminder ever with four shutouts versus Houston, and the first to blank the Aeros three times in one season. This season, Finley is 7-3-0 with a sparkling 1.69 gaa against Houston, including shutouts in each of the last two meetings and three of four. Finley sports a miniscule 0.25 gaa in the last four meetings, allowing the only goal in a 2-1 overtime win February 10. He increased his shutout sequence against Houston to 130:22.
Aided by two power plays, the Ads outshot Houston 16-10 in the first. But both goalies were perfect.
Three minutes into the game with Milwaukee on the man advantage, Smith made an initial save on Jordin Tootoo from the right circle, and the netminder then made a sprawling rebound stop to rob Fiddler.
Houston regained its legs to begin the second, getting six of the periods first seven shots before Milwaukee responded with six of the next seven.
Early in the second Houston got a power play when Marc Cavosie was dragged down on a near breakaway. Mikko Koivu fed Kirby Law from behind the net, but Finley stoned Laws attempt from the low right circle as the Aeros captain was bidding for his fifth goal in as many games. The power play was cut nine seconds short due to a too many men on the ice call on the Aeros.
Law broke in alone on Finley just more than a minute later, but Finley sticked away the shot. After Marius Holtet was released from the penalty box, he and Law had a 2-on-1, but Law ripped a shot just wide.
The teams came to blows briefly with 6:51 left in the second. Law took exception to a high stick by Tootoo, and hit the feisty winger into the boards. Both players went off for roughing, while Law went to the locker room with a cut on his face.
On the ensuing 4-on-4, Smith robbed Dan Hamhuis after he went around Dan Cavanaugh in the right circle. Seconds later, Zbynek Michalek took a holding penalty, and Smith swallowed up Hamhuis rocket from the point, which came not only with Milwaukee on a 4-on-3, but with Houstons Cavosie without a stick. Smith then covered up Scottie Upshalls deflection from the low slot.
Houstons David Bararuk chipped an open shot over the net with three minutes left in the middle period, after Junior Lessard fed him between defenders.
Seconds later on the other end, Lundbohm converted a 2-on-1 from Jerrod Smithson to put Milwaukee on the board first. Lundbohm fired a shot high under the crossbar for his seventh goal of the season with 2:45 remaining on Milwaukees 24th shot of the game.
Brent Burns found Rickard Wallin with a cross-ice pass from the point to the low right circle with Houston on the power play early in the third, but Wallins shot went wide.
Houston outshot Milwaukee 10-4 in the third, but Upshalls 18th gave the Admirals an insurance goal at 9:41 of the third. Smith misplayed the puck, and Upshall took it off the goalies stick and slid it into the net for his fifth goal in six games.
Smithson went for hooking at 11:08 of the third, giving Houston life, but Finley stopped all comers.
Fiddler took a pass from Tootoo for an empty net goal with 1:10 left to finish off the scoring with his 17th of the season.
Houston finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while Milwaukee went 0-for-8.
The Aeros scratched Joey Tetarenko, Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Ryan Stokes, Stephane Veilleux, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard, John Erskine and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
The Aeros have allowed 13 third-period goals in their last nine games after yielding only 41 in their first 65 games.
Smith picked up a penalty for interference midway through the second, giving him 26 penalty minutes the most ever for an Aeros goalie in one season. Ryan Bach had 25 in 1997-98.
Five of the teams 10 regular season meetings ended with a team being shut out.
Houston yielded more than two goals in regulation for the first time in eight games since Manitoba blitzed the Aeros 8-1 on March 19.
Marc Lamothe, Joey MacDonald and Jason LaBarbera each own three career shutouts against Houston.
Finley improved to 34-18-4, and 21-8-1 at home.