From: Robert Desimone
, Communications Manager
, Asst. Communications Manager
February 3, 2010
GUNDERSON, BUCK EACH WITH MULTI-POINT EFFORTS
HOUSTON - G Barry Brust (3-1-0) made 25 saves, D Ryan Gunderson scored the game-winner and added an assist, and LW Brandon Buck notched two helpers to lead the Houston Aeros (25-19-6-1) to a 4-1 victory over the Peoria Rivermen (23-19-1-5) in front of 3,163 at Toyota Center Wednesday night. C Cam Paddock scored the only goal for Peoria while G Ben Bishop stopped eight of 11 shots faced in 44:24 to get saddled with the loss.
"You kind of always ask your goalies to steal one here and there," said Aeros Head Coach Kevin Constantine. "They had three breakaways and a lot of chances early in the game. I thought [Barry] Brust kind of stole the game for us, because I thought we were off the first two periods."
Peoria outshot the Aeros 7-4 in the opening frame and rang the post twice, but it was Houston who lit the lamp for the period’s lone goal. Each team had a man in the box skating 4-on-4 when D Justin Falk deked his defender, cut to the slot and beat Bishop five-hole at 10:25. The goal was Falk’s second of the year and first since Oct. 3 at Manitoba; D Jamie Fraser and D Jaime Sifers were credited with the assists.
Gunderson put the Aeros on top two goals to none with his fourth of the year at the 10:24 mark of the second period. Gunderson, positioned at the center point, took a pass from C Nathan Smith where he quickly snapped a shot through traffic over the left shoulder of Bishop. Buck also got an assist on the goal, his first point in an Aeros sweater.
The Aeros extended their lead to 3-0 4:24 into the third when Buck played the puck off the half wall to LW Petr Kalus who broke behind the Peoria defense. Kalus outskated two defenders, deked to his backhand and snuck the puck under Bishop’s left arm for his ninth of the year; Brust was credited with the second assist. The assist gave Buck his first AHL multi-point game since recording a goal and an assist for Norfolk at Wilkes Barre/Scranton Apr. 11, 2009. G Hannu Toivonen would enter the game for Peoria in relief of Bishop immediately following the goal.
A scary moment occurred at the 9:32 mark when a stick-less LW Colton Gillies sent D Bryce Lampman head-first into the boards. Lampman would have to be carted off and Gillies was assessed a five-minute boarding major plus a Game Misconduct. The Riverman capitalized on the lengthy power play when Paddock netted his fifth of the year to cut the Houston lead to two at 11:44. The Aeros closed the door, though, at the 16:02 mark. Gunderson fired the initial shot where RW J-M Daoust gained possession off the rebound. Daoust swfitly sent a backhand feed to the stick of RW Danny Irmen who had no trouble finding the wide open net.
The Aeros extended their home point streak to a season-high seven games while claiming their third consecutive victory, tying a season-high. Peoria outshot the Aeros 26-16, the lowest shot total for Houston this season. The Aeros went scoreless on five power play chances while the Rivermen went 1-for-8 on the man advantage.
"Our penalty kill over the last 20 games has been very average," Constantine said. "Tonight they really rose to the occasion. That was probably one of the highlights of the game, the goaltending and the penalty kill."
The Aeros travel to Milwaukee to face the Admirals Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at the Bradley Center. Watch the game live on ahllive.com or listen to Joe O’Donnell’s call on 1070 AM-KNTH. Follow the in-game blog on aeros.com.
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