From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Saturday, November 20, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Kirby Law scored twice, including one of Houstons team-record-tying four power play goals, and Stephane Veilleux and Rickard Wallin each added a power play goal and an assist to help the Aeros roll to a 6-3 penalty-filled victory over the Syracuse Crunch at Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter. Josh Harding made 37 saves and Matt Foy and Zbynek Michalek also scored as Houston built a six-goal lead to win its second straight and improve to 2-1-0-0 on a five-game road trip that continues Tuesday in Cleveland.
Mikko Koivu, Erik Reitz and Pierre-Marc Bouchard chipped in two assists apiece for Houston, which came into the game averaging 1.67 goals per game in Hardings starts. The 20-year-old rookie carried a shutout into the final eight minutes, but Syracuse scored on three of the 17 shots the Crunch pelted him with in the third period.
Alexander Svitov scored twice in the final 3:03, Joe Motzko also scored and Pascal Leclaire turned aside 17 shots for the Crunch before giving way to Karl Goehring. Syracuse fell to 1-5-1-2 in its last nine.
The teams combined for 141 penalty minutes 78 by Syracuse. The Aeros went 4-for-8 on the power play goals, scoring four times on the man advantage for the seventh time in team history first since January 9, 2003 versus Chicago. The game took two hours, 42 minutes.
Veilleuxs team best sixth goal of the season put Houston on top just 4:39 into the game. With Ben Knopp in the penalty box for a cross check, Koivu, stationed behind the net, slid a pass to a cutting Veilleux in the lower right circle. Veilleux ripped a shot just over Leclaires blocker on the short side for his third power play goal.
Harding then helped the Aeros kill off 70 seconds of a Syracuse 5-on-3. First he robbed Brad Moran from between the circles, and seconds later with the Crunch up one man, Harding kicked out a Svitov point-blank offering with his skate.
The Aeros wasted little time scoring again, as Foy put them up 2-0 at 9:36. Veilleux fired a shot that Leclaire stopped, but he coughed up the rebound. Foy gathered the puck, walked around the fallen netminder and slid a shot into the net for his third goal. Foy, whose mom was in attendance, hadnt scored a goal in his last 10 games.
Less than halfway through the first period, the Aeros had already surpassed their average offensive support of Harding. Houston had scored two goals total in Hardings last three starts.
Syracuse enforcer Brandon Sugden who led all AHL players in penalty minutes in 2003-04 and Houstons John Erskine who leads all AHL defensemen in penalty minutes battled in a long fight with 8:18 left in the first, their first of two encounters in the game.
Law made it 3-0 with 3:47 left in the first, with the teams 4-on-4. Mark Cullen won a faceoff back to Reitz, who sent a pass down low to Law, who did a 180 and backhanded the puck high over Leclaire for his fourth goal of the season first in nine games.
There were 50 penalty minutes in the first period 25 for each team.
Early in the second, Houstons Derek Boogaard and Syracuses Jamie Pushor fought for the second time in 13 days.
Syracuses Zenith Komarniski was knocked hard to the ice minutes later after a hard collision with Koivu near the Aeros bench and needed to be helped off the ice.
Wallins second of the season, on the power play, pushed the cushion to four goals at 9:30 of the middle period. Wallin caught Syracuse asleep at the blueline and sped in alone on a feed from Reitz. Wallin buried a shot through Leclaires pads. Both of Wallins goals this season have gotten by Leclaire.
Svitov and Reitz fought late in the second the games third fight after Svitov slashed Harding after a whistle.
Law made it 5-0 on the power play with 2:36 left. From behind the cage, Bouchard threaded a perfect pass to a cutting Law, who beat Leclaire for his fifth of the season. Bouchard has a hand in 11 of the Aeros 18 power play goals this season.
The teams each had 18 penalty minutes in the middle 20 minutes.
Bouchard took a nasty open-ice whack from Steven Goertzen coming across the blueline early in the third. Goertzen, who was quickly accosted by Boogaard, was tossed with a five-minute elbowing major and game misconduct.
Motzko was then sent off for roughing when Reitz wouldnt retaliate, leading to Houstons fourth power play goal this one Michaleks first of the season at 4:25.
Erskine and Sugden fought each other to the ground again midway through the third in the teams fourth fight of the night.
Motzko ruined Hardings shutout bid with a power play goal with 7:56 remaining. Svitov scored an unassisted shorthanded goal with 3:03 left and added another shorthanded tally with 1:48 on the clock to finish the scoring.
Reitz and Syracuses Jeremy Reich fought for good measure with 20 seconds remaining.
Syracuse finished 1-for-6 on the power play. The Aeros have killed off 43-of-47 shorthanded chances over their last eight games. Syracuse is 2-for-35 on the power play in its last seven games.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Junior Lessard, Todd Reirden and Marius Holtet.
Veilleux had three power play goals in 64 games last season.
Aeros defenseman Ray Giroux celebrated his 28th birthday with an assist on Laws second goal.
Veilleux has five points (2-3=5) in his last four games, including a pair of two-point games.
Koivu has a goal and three assists in six games since returning from an appendectomy.
Leclaire had allowed only one goal in his first three home games.
Bouchard has six points (2-4=6) in a four-game point streak, tying the longest point streak by an Aero this season.
Cullen and Veilleux each have 98 career points with Houston. They are in a race to be the 18th player in team history to reach the 100-point plateau.
Houston is 8-2-0-0 when playing its second or third consecutive game in back-to-back situations.
The Aeros are a perfect 7-0-0-0 when leading on the road.
Houston improved to 7-4-1-1 on the road. The Aeros won 10 games away from Toyota Center in 2003-04.
Houston notched its third multi power play goal game, first since October 29 in Edmonton.
Reitz tied his career-high with two assists, the seventh time hes accomplished the feat.
Law had his 19th career multi-goal game. He became the second Aero this season with a two-goal game. Bouchard scored twice, including an overtime game-winner, November 5 in Grand Rapids.
Leclaire is 0-3-0 with a 5.12 goals against average in his career versus Houston.
Houston last scored four power play goals on the road November 28, 1998, in an 8-0 win at Las Vegas.