Jason LaBarbera made 35 saves for his third straight shutout of Houston and Chad Wiseman scored in the shootout to ruin Josh Hardings perfect 27-save day, as the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Aeros 1-0 in a goaltenders duel at Hartford Civic Center.
Harding (picture by Bob Levey
) was still credited with his first career shutout for Houston, which has points in four straight games overall (3-0-0-1) and four straight on the road (2-0-1-1). The Aeros, who played their fourth straight one-goal game, move to 10 points, one off Milwaukee for the West Division lead. Houston is 2-0-0-1 on a season-long six-game road trip that continues Wednesday in Worcester.
Hartford remained perfect at 7-0-0-0.
It was a spirited duel between Harding, a 20-year-old rookie, and LaBarbera, last seasons American Hockey League Most Valuable Player with a 34-9-9 record. LaBarbera earned his third straight shutout against the Aeros, and he has not allowed a goal to Houston in the last 211 minutes, 55 seconds. As a team, Hartford has allowed just seven goals in seven games this season. Harding, meanwhile, lowered his goals against average to 2.15.
In the first round of the shootout, Houstons Pierre-Marc Bouchard beat LaBarbera glove side for his second shootout goal in as many chances. Then, Alexander Giroux fanned on his attempt, keeping Houston in front.
In round No. 2, LaBarbera kept his ground on Stephane Veilleux, making a skate save. Then, Harding stoned Fedor Tyutin with his pad.
Rickard Wallin hit both posts, and somehow the puck didnt go in, and Lucas Lawson snuck a backhander under the crossbar to even things up.
In the fourth round, Houstons Mark Cullen, earlier sent headfirst into the boards, hit the post. Wiseman then beat Harding blocker side, putting Houston on the brink of elimination.
Ray Giroux nearly evened things up, but his shot went off LaBarberas glove and up and over the crossbar, sealing Hartfords victory.
The Aeros showed no sign of road legs after a cross-country trip Sunday from Edmonton, getting 12 of the games first 16 shots. Houston couldnt capitalize on an early power play, but the Aeros killed off a shorthanded chance later in the period.
Veilleux clanged the puck off the post in the opening two minutes of the second.
Hartford had its best chance of the second on the power play past the midway point, but defenseman Todd Reirden poke checked the puck away from Dominic Moore in front of the net.
With the Aeros circling and a power play expiring early in the third, LaBarbera kicked out a Veilleux attempt, then somehow deflected Kyle Wanvigs rebound attempt wide. Seconds later, LaBarbera stoned Veilleux again, and then snared Zbynek Michaleks rebound out of the air with his glove while on his back.
At 8:04 of the third, Houston went on the power play after a vicious hit by Ryan Hollweg, who rode Cullen hard into the boards.
LaBarbera continued his magic with less than seven minutes left, when he gloved a deflection of a Patrick Traverse slapshot from the point.
With 4:40 left in regulation, the Aeros got power play No. 6 when former Aero Lawrence Nycholat was sent off for hooking, but the Wolf Pack kept them off the board.
LaBarbera helped send the game into the shootout, kicking his pad out to make a save on Ray Giroux three minutes into overtime. Thirty seconds later, Houstons John Erskine boomed one off the post.
The Aeros outshot the Wolf Pack 3-2 in overtime and 35-27 for the 65 minutes.
Houston finished 0-for-6 on the power play, while Hartford went 0-for-4.
Today was the second 1-0 shootout game in the AHL this season. Hershey won 1-0 at Syracuse October 29.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Brent Burns, Mikko Koivu and Matt Foy.
Neither of the last two Aeros rookie goalies to record shutouts Harding and Kyle Kettles has gotten a victory in the game. Kettles fought Worcesters Reinhard Divis to a scoreless tie last January 9.
Houston got points in four straight road games just once in 2003-04.
Houstons Derek Boogaard fought Trevor Gillies in the first period, extending his penalty streak to eight games.
LaBarbera, 5-1-0 versus Houston in his career, joins Marc Lamothe as the only goalies with three career shutouts versus the Aeros.
Houston is 4-8 all-time in 1-0 games, with one other going overtime. Last January 8, LaBarbera shut out Houston and captain Ken Gernander scored in the extra session.
The Aeros are 1-1 in shootouts and also 1-1 in overtime.