From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, November 26, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Grizzlies awaken in third to top Aeros 5-3
GRIZZLIES 5, AEROS 3
Jakub Koreis, Randall Gelech and Fredrik Sjostrom scored 5:10 apart early in the third period, as the Utah Grizzlies defeated the Houston Aeros 5-3 at Toyota Center for their first regulation win of the season. Kiel McLeod and Martin Sonnenberg also scored as Utah (3-11-0-1) established a season-high for goals and rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits to score four times in the final 20 minutes. Both of the Grizzlies previous wins had come via the shootout.
Mark Cullen notched a goal and two assists to move to the 100-point career plateau for Houston, which opened up an eight-game homestand by losing its second straight. Brent Burns scored a 5-on-3 goal and Mike Smith made 20 saves against his former team. Smith was Utah's goalie the last time the Grizzlies beat the Aeros at Toyota Center, October 26, 2003.
The teams meet in a Family Day rematch Sunday at 5:05 p.m.
After a frantic second period that saw a 15-minute delay to sort out a scrum on the ice, Houston led 2-1.
But Koreis got Utah even 1:11 into the third, when he knuckled a rebound over Smith blocker side for his first goal of the season. Koreis tally was the 14th goal the Aeros have given up in either the first or last two minutes of a period.
Utah took its first lead on Gelechs shorthanded goal 3:28 later. Gelech picked off an errant pass in the neutral zone and sprung Erik Westrum for a breakaway. Smith stopped Westrum, but Gelech pounced on the rebound and lifted it over the fallen netminder for his second goal of the season.
The Grizzlies then pushed their advantage to two goals with their season-best fourth of the night at 6:21, 1:42 after Gelechs tally. Sjostrom wristed a soft shot from the left circle that beat Smith short side for his first goal.
Cullens second of the night got Houston within 4-3 on the power play with 7:42 remaining. Erik Reitz attempt was knocked down in front, and Cullen was there to knock the rebound under a surprised LeNeveu for his fifth of the season.
The Aeros pulled Smith with 1:13 left, just as Mikko Koivu whistled a shot wide, and Martin Sonnenberg finished the game off with an empty netter with 48 seconds left.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Utah went 1-for-4.
Kirby Law had a great chance just more than a minute into the game, as Houston sprung loose on a 3-on-1. LeNeveu ranged far from his left to right to kick out a pad and get a piece of Laws attempt to sail it wide.
The Aeros went on top first late in a 5-on-3 with 1:45 left in the period. Cullen, in the corner, fed Burns in the high slot, and the 19-year-old blasted one by a screened LeNeveu for his fourth of the season. The goal was Houstons first with a two-man advantage this season.
Houston continued on the power play for another four minutes because earlier on the man advantage, Utahs Matthew Spiller was given a major for a two-handed cross-check to Matt Foys face in front of the net. Spiller was also given a game misconduct for the hit. Foy later exacted a bit of revenge with a couple of punches to Joe Callahan early in the second.
The Grizzlies, scoreless in the first period in their last 14 games, didnt get a shot over the final 11 minutes of the first period.
Utah got 61 seconds of a 5-on-3 midway through the second, and off the ensuing faceoff Aeros defenseman Patrick Traverse helped avert disaster when he cleared a loose puck off the goal mouth. But seconds later, McLeods second of the season on Utahs second shot of a 20-minute span evened the score at 8:49. Keith Ballard ripped a shot from the point, and McLeod deflected it by Smith.
Less than a minute later, all 10 players ended up in a scrum to the right of Smith, with gloves, sticks and helmets strewn everywhere. Following a 15-minute delay, no fighting majors were called, but Houston ended up with a long 5-on-3.
Two seconds after the penalties had expired but the Grizzlies hadnt yet joined the play, Cullens rebound attempt after Law swiped at the puck got by LeNeveu.
Utah, which was outshot 42-25, has outshot just two opponents. No other team has outshot fewer than six opponents.
Houston scratched Chris Heid, Raymond Giroux, Marius Holtet and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Smith had won six of his last seven decisions.
Houston fell to 3-1-0-0 when scoring first at home and 8-1-0-0 when scoring first overall.
The Aeros lost for the first time when leading after two periods (7-1-0-0).
Cullen has 101 points (38-63=101) in 146 games. Stephane Veilleux has 98 career points.