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From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Monday, March 1, 2004
Direct Line: 713.361.7930
Aeros Weekly Report
This week on aeros.com
Wednesday Look for a feature story on the return of Rickard Wallin, and how its helped out two Aeros in particular.
Thursday Matt Foy Q&A session. Send your questions to email@example.com by Wednesday at 1 p.m. A reminder that not all questions will be able to be answered
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Aeros go unbeaten in three, making playoff push
Week in review: HOU 3, MIL 3 (OT); HOU 5, SA 2; HOU 5, SA 1
Last week may have gone a long way towards putting the Aeros in the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs. Houston went unbeaten (2-0-1-0) in three games and won the final two against San Antonio, which continues to chase the Aeros in the West Division.
West Division Standings, as of 3/1
Grand Rapids 82
San Antonio 49
The top five teams from the West will make the post-season.
Saturday, the Aeros won their second straight over the Rampage, 5-1, at Toyota Center. Rickard Wallin and Kyle Wanvig each scored power play goals in the second period and Johan Holmqvist turned aside 20 shots in his first game back from Minnesota. Zbynek Michalek, Christoph Brandner and Matt Foy also scored for Houston.
Friday, Foy returned an 18-game absence due to illness with a penalty shot goal and another tally for his first career two-goal game, and Chris Bala also scored twice, as the Aeros beat San Antonio 5-2 at SBC Center to snap a franchise-record nine-game road winless streak (0-7-2-0). Wallin tacked on a power-play goal and Kyle Kettles finished with 26 saves for Houston.
Thursday, Wallin tied the game with 4:37 left in regulation with the help of newcomer Brent Burns, helping the Aeros to a 3-3 deadlock with the red-hot Milwaukee Admirals at Bradley Center. Mika Hannula and Marc Cavosie also scored and Kettles made 17 saves for Houston, which had lost seven straight against the Admirals.
Kettles and Milwaukees Wade Flaherty made for an interesting matchup in net, as Kettles is more than 13 years younger than the veteran goalie.
FRI, HOU vs. GR, 7:00 p.m., Internet Only
After a busy 15-game February, the Aeros play just 12 games in March, including only two this week. The Aeros play game two of a five-game homestand Friday against Grand Rapids. Houston whipped the Griffins 4-1 on Chronicle in Education Day in the last meeting, February 18. Grand Rapids enters the week with a league-leading 82 points, four ahead of Hartford for the race for the Kilpatrick Trophy. Houston and Cincinnati are the only teams with three wins against Grand Rapids this season, and the Aeros will try to be the first with four Friday. The Griffins are led by a group of veterans including winger Michel Picard (11+31=42). All Star Nathan Robinson (21+20=41), who missed three meetings last month with Houston with a groin injury, has returned. Joey MacDonald is 18-4-3 with a sparkling 1.86 between the pipes, and with Curtis Joseph getting close to a return in Detroit, the Griffins could have Marc Lamothe (18-12-5, 1.88) back soon.
SAT, vs. UTA, 7:00 p.m.
3,000 Rickard Wallin Mouse Pads
The Grizzlies make their penultimate trip into Toyota Center this season. Utah dropped a pair of games in Houston February 3-5. The Grizzlies earned overtime wins at Manchester and Worcester over the weekend to pull into a sixth-place tie with San Antonio, seven points behind the fourth-place Aeros and four points out of the final playoff spot.
Tuesday, the entire team will be attending the Tailgunners Booster Club Banquet.
Wednesday, Erik Reitz and Matt Foy will be helping out with a hockey clinic at Memorial City.
Thursday, Chilly and game operations director Ojinga Green will be in Kingwood at Dr. Seuss 100th Birthday Celebration. Green will be reading and acting out the book Tiki Tiki Tumbo to kids and other books in celebration of reading and Dr. Suess.
Saturday is the Aeros annual blood drive, from 2-8 p.m. at both Aerodrome locations and Toyota Center. All participants get a "Give Blood, Play Hockey" T-shirt and a special buy one, get one free ticket deal.
Dont forget, Celebrity Waiter is coming on March 9. Call Susan Neuhalfen at 713.361.7912 for more information.
Congrats are in order Houston head coach Todd McLellan picked up his 150th professional win Saturday as the Aeros knocked off San Antonio impressively 5-1 at home. McLellan is now 150-110-35-11 in four seasons as a head coach, including three campaigns with the Aeros (107-78-28-11) and one with IHL Cleveland in 2000-01. December 26, McLellan joined current Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett as the only coaches in team history with 100 victories. McLellan coached his 200th game with the Aeros January 9. McLellan and his staff coached the Canadian team at the 2004 Pepsi AHL All Star Game on February 9.
Aeros inching closer to the post-season Houstons 2-0-1-0 week, combined by some struggles by teams chasing the Aeros, has given the team a three-point advantage for fourth place in the West Division, with the top five teams making the post-season. Cincinnati, in fifth place with 53 points, is winless in five straight (0-4-1-0), while San Antonio, tied with Utah for sixth with 49 points, is winless in eight consecutive games (0-7-1-0). The Aeros have a definite advantage down the stretch, playing 10 of their final 16 at home, and eight of those 16 games against teams chasing them. Cincinnati, meanwhile, has seven games left against the dangerous triumvirate of Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago, plus six games against Cleveland (second in North with 68 points).
Houston 56 points (16 games left, 10H, 6R);
GR (3H/0R), MIL (1H/0R), UTA (2H/0R), SA (2H/2R), CIN (2H/1R), WOR (0H/1R), NOR (0H/2R)
Cincinnati 53 points (21 games left, 8H, 13R);
CHI (2H/1R), MIL (0H/2R), CLE (4H/2R), UTA (1H/2R), GR (0H/2R), SA (0H/2R), HOU (1H/2R)
San Antonio 49 points (22 games left, 12H, 10R);
CLE (0H/1R), MIL (2H/1R), HOU (2H/2R), CHI (1H/3R), GR (3H/1R), UTA (2H/2R), CIN (2H/0R)
Utah 49 points (20 games left, 9H, 11R);
HAR (0H/1R), MIL (3H/2R), HOU (0H/2R), SA (2H/2R), CIN (2H/1R), CHI (0H/2R), GR (2H/0R), CLE (0H/1R)
Alumni update A former Aero moved a lot closer to a possible Stanley Cup championship this week, as Robert Lang (1997-98) was dealt from the Washington Capitals to the Detroit Red Wings for a prospect and two draft picks. Aeros leading scorer Stephane Veilleux, recalled to Minnesota Friday, has six shots and is a minus-one through his first two games with the Wild.
What a difference a Wally makes - The Aeros are averaging 3.29 goals per game in seven contests since the return of Rickard Wallin. Houston has moved from a 2.29 goals per game average to 2.38 in the last week, good for 20th in the 28-team American Hockey League. Wallin has seven points (3+4=7) since his return.
Player of the week C Rickard Wallin -
Wallin continues to impress since returning from a 17-game injury absence February 18...In seven games since his return, he has posted seven points (3+4=7), including four (3+1=4) in helping the Aeros go an unbeaten 2-0-1-0 last week...Had the game-tying or game-winning goal in each game...Goal with less than five minutes remaining gave Aeros 3-3 tie in Milwaukee Thursday...Tallied game-winner in 5-2 win at San Antonio Friday, then had game-winner, plus an assist, in 5-1 win over the Rampage Saturday.
Wallin this week...
2/26 at MIL 1-0-1, -1, GTG
2/27 at SAN 1-0-1, -1, GWG
2/28 vs. SAN 1-1-2, +1, GWG
Totals - 3gp, 3-1-4, -1, 2GWG, GTG