From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Saturday, April 23, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Wolves 1, Aeros 0; Wolves lead series 2-1Official Box Score
HOUSTON, Texas -
Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for his second AHL post-season shutout and Tommi Santala scored the games lone goal with the teams 4-on-4 late in the second period, as the Chicago Wolves earned a 1-0 victory at Toyota Center to take a two games to one lead in the West Division Semifinals.
Mike Smith made 31 saves for Houston.
The Aeros are 2-2 all-time in best-of seven series when losing two of the first three games, but in those two series wins, they won Game 4.
Game 4 (B) is Sunday at 5:05 p.m., and it's another rendition of the popular Aeros "Family Day". Get four tickets, $20 in Toyota Bucks, free parking and four special commemorative playoff pucks
for only $67. Order the Family Day package at www.aeros.com/themenights
. Username is Family, password is Aeros. Or click here
to print the flyer. The Family Day package can also be purchased through the Aeros office at 713.974.PUCK.
Game 5 (C) is set for Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. It's an Aeros "Happy Hour" game. For $31, receive a center ice ticket (normally $28), free parking and $10 in Toyota Bucks. Or, for $16, get a corner seat (normally $20) and free parking. Click here
to order. Username is Happy, password is Hour.
Tonight marked the fifth time in six meetings at Toyota Center this season that the teams played a one-goal game. Of the 363 minutes Houston and Chicago have played at Toyota Center, the game has been tied or separated by one goal 318 minutes.
Houston had loads of chances in the second period, including a Matt Foy shot that hit the post and Lehtonens skate, but the goalie was perfect.
The Aeros got four minutes of power play time late in the second, on a double minor to Joe Corvo. However, only 28 seconds into the advantage, Aeros alternate captain Ray Giroux was whistled for an interference penalty, evening things up for two minutes. It marked the second time in the game and the fifth time in the series Houston had a power play cut short.
Only seven seconds later, the Wolves broke on top, with 44.5 ticks remaining in the second. Santala whiffed at two wide-open attempts from the left circle, before finally nudging the attempt past an out-of-position Smith. Former Aero Travis Roche picked up the primary assist, pushing the puck to Santala from the point.
The Aeros were outscored 18-4 in 4-on-4 situations during the regular season.
The third period got wild.
Chicago's Kip Brennan, in his third game back after a 15-game suspension for a pre-game fight, took Giroux out of the game, and teammate Ben Simon nearly got Smith out also in a three-minute span midway through the period.
Giroux went head-first into the boards after a crushing hit by Brennan, who left his feet. Giroux left the ice bleeding heavily from the back of his head, but the teams remained 5-on-5. He later returned after taking seven stitches.
Smith got barreled over by Ben Simon with 7:24 remaining, and his helmet went flying off as he fell back. Chaos ensued, as Derek Boogaard came to Smiths defense. Boogaard fought Brennan in the melee.
Houstons Kyle Wanvig nearly tied the game on the ensuing power play with 6:15 left, but his shot from between the circles caught the crossbar.
Lehtonen swallowed up Zbynek Michaleks rocket from the center point with 2:41 left. Giroux, in his second shift back, was robbed by a diving Lehtonen 20 seconds later.
Houston pulled Smith with 1:33 remaining, but didnt get a clear shot off.
Lehtonen ended the third perfect on eight chances.
Smith picked up right where he left off in Game 2, when he kicked out 33 shots in a 2-1 Houston overtime win. He was perfect with 18 stops in the first, and one of his best saves came just off the opening face-off.
The Wolves broke in 2-on-1, but Smith got the pad out to rob former Aero Cory Larose.
Lehtonens best save came 5:10 into the first, as Jeremy Reich got in 2-on-1, but his attempt was pushed just wide by the Chicago netminder.
Simon had another golden chance at the 9:01 mark of the opening period when he walked out of the right corner and on net, but Smith made the save.
The Aeros outshot Chicago 5-4 early on, before the Wolves gained an 18-6 advantage through one.
Houston righted the ship with a more aggressive second period, but the goalies still dominated.
Only 55 seconds into the second, Lehtonen went post-to-post to stop Rickard Wallins rocket from the left circle. Wanvig set up wallin behind the net.
At 5:45 of the middle period, Lehtonen juggled Michaleks shot from the right point, and he then turned away Wanvigs rebound attempt.
The Aeros best chance of the opening two periods came just seconds later, when Wanvig pushed a pass through the crease to Foy. The youngsters shot got behind Lehtonen, hit a post, then Lehtonens skate before the goalie fell back on the puck.
Lehtonen continued his brilliance prior to the midway point, as countryman Mikko Koivu deked his way through the defense but was stopped cold.
Smiths best save of the second came with 5:16 remaining, as he snared Brad Larsens rocket from the left point and somehow held on to the puck as a pile crashed into him.
Koivu got around the defense again on the power play with 3:10 left, but Lehtonen stood his ground and made the save with his body.
Houston finished 0-for-7 on the power play, while Chicago went 0-for-5. The Wolves havent scored on their last 37 power play opportunities versus the Aeros, and they are 1-for-53 overall in their last eight games overall.
The Aeros are 1-for-50 versus Chicagos penalty kill unit dating back to the 2002 Western Conference Finals.