Danny Irmen scored Houston's lone goal (Photo by Jason Villaneuva)
From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, March 2, 2007
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Knights 3, Aeros 1 Official Box Score OMAHA, Neb. –
Cam Cunning snapped a tie with 3:43 left in regulation, Warren Peters scored two goals and Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves, as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights knocked off the Houston Aeros 3-1 at Omaha Civic Auditorium to take over sole possession of first place in the West Division. Omaha (37-19-3-1) won its sixth straight and leads Chicago by one point with a game in hand. The Knights improved to 7-0-0-1 versus the Aeros this season.
Dieter Kochan made 22 saves and Danny Irmen scored a goal for Houston (21-29-3-6), which is winless in a franchise-record-tying nine straight road games (0-6-2-1). The Aeros, winless in five in a row overall (0-4-0-1), are in Peoria on Saturday and Sunday to continue a stretch of nine out of 10 games away from Toyota Center.
McElhinney is 6-0-1 this season against the Aeros, joining Brian Finley, who twice recorded seven victories in a season versus Houston, and Allan Bester (six) as the only goalies ever with six wins against the Aeros in one campaign.
A quick-moving first period saw 6:37 expire before there was a whistle. The Aeros came out strong, outshooting the Knights 12-6, but both goalies were perfect.
McElhinney made a great blocker save on Jason Morgan’s shot from the right circle with five minutes remaining in the first, set up by a drop pass from Ben Thomson.
Houston’s Matt Foy stole the puck in the corner in the final two minutes of the opening period. He went behind the net and fed Peter Olvecky deep in the right circle, but McElhinney made another save.
The teams combined for two goals and a fight in a span of 1:44 early in the second.
Omaha took its sixth straight 1-0 lead at the 2:11 mark. Peters walked around Curtis Murphy and was denied by Kochan, but Peters beat the Aeros to the rebound and slid it by the netminder for his 12th of the season.
Just 63 seconds later, Irmen’s 15th goal evened the score. Foy again dug the puck out of the corner and hit a cutting Irmen through the low slot
Only 41 seconds after that, Aeros heavyweight Joey Tetarenko tangled with Omaha’s Brandon Prust in an epic bout at center ice. Tetarenko landed the first few punches, and the fight ended up nearly a draw.
Kochan stoned Tomi Maki’s long breakaway midway through the second, and then held on to the rebound with Carsen Germyn bearing down on him.
Kochan was strong again early in the third, turning away Dustin Boyd’s shot with his shoulder.
Aeros rookie Benoit Pouliot left a drop pass for Ryan Hamilton six minutes into the final period, but McElhinney stayed with the shot despite having lost his stick.
A minute later, McElhinney just got a piece of Olvecky’s shot from point blank range, pushing the puck wide.
With eight minutes remaining, Peters split defenders and got in alone on Kochan, but fanned on the shot.
Foy took a pass from Murphy and fired just wide of the far post with six minutes left. Seconds later, he pushed a shot just wide of the post.
Just seconds after that, with the Aeros’ penalty over, Omaha broke in 2-on-1 and got Cunning’s eighth goal of the season and second in as many nights. Cunning finished off a saucer pass from Boyd with 3:43 left.
Pouliot nailed Boyd for an interference call with 2:42 remaining, sending Houston shorthanded again. Joel Ward stole the puck behind the Omaha net, but fired wide.
Peters’ second of the night and 13th of the season, into an open net, ended the Aeros’ hopes with 45 ticks remaining.
Houston finished 0-for-1 on the power play, while Omaha went 1-for-4. Notes:
Not dressing for the Aeros were Mattias Weinhandl, Josh Olson, Chris Ovington and Aaron Voros. Voros was assigned by NHL Minnesota on Thursday after he was acquired from the New Jersey Devils’ organization.
Rookie Tony Quesada backed up Kochan with both Josh Harding and Miroslav Kopriva on recall to Minnesota. The Aeros are 3-14-2-2 this season in games in which goalie Josh Harding doesn’t play.
With uncertain weather throughout the Midwest, the Aeros scrapped their plans to fly to Chicago in the morning and then bus to Peoria. Instead, they will leave at 5 a.m. via bus for Peoria, some six hours away.
The Aeros are 0-4-1-2 in their last seven trips to Nebraska, after winning the first two. The six-game winless streak is its longest active slide in a visiting building. Houston hasn’t won a regulation game in Omaha in nine attempts.
Irmen has four points (1-3=4) in his last two games in Omaha.
Aeros defenseman Erik Reitz played in his 300th pro game.
Murphy still has 199 points (55-144=199) in 299 career games in Houston.
After scoring five goals in a four-game stretch, Foy doesn’t have a goal in the last five games. His assist was his first point in that span.
The Aeros fell to 2-20-2-2 when scoring two or fewer goals.
Houston was outscored 2-0 in the third period, the 10th time in 12 games the Aeros have been outscored over the final 20 minutes.
The Aeros also went winless in nine straight road games (0-7-2-0) from January 31-February 26, 2004.