Director of Communications
Saturday, December 18, 2004
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) AEROS 4, Admirals 3 SOOfficial Box ScoreHOUSTON, Texas
Marius Holtet forced overtime with 6:38 left in regulation, and Mikko Koivu scored the deciding shootout goal, as the Houston Aeros rallied to beat the Norfolk Admirals 4-3 in the first ever shootout at Toyota Center. Junior Lessard and Matt Foy also scored and John Erskine contributed two assists for Houston, which swept the brief two-game set from the Admirals and is unbeaten in regulation in three straight games (2-0-1-0). Mike Smith made 38 saves plus four in the shootout for the Aeros, who play host to San Antonio next Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
Quintin Laing, Pavel Vorobiev and James Wisniewski each scored for Norfolk, which is 1-5-0-1 in its last seven. Adam Munro turned aside 27 shots.
The Aeros improved to 3-7-1-0 when trailing after two periods. Houston didnt win such a game at all in the 2003-04 campaign. Norfolk is 12-2-0-2 when leading after 40 minutes.
After an Aeros power play expired in the third, Holtet tied things up at 3-3 with 6:38 remaining. Reitz ripped a pass from Kirby Law from the left point, and it went off Holtet and past Munro.
Smith kicked out a pair of attempts from deep in the Houston zone with two minutes left to help force overtime.
In overtime, the Admirals outshot Houston 4-0 but Smith was perfect, including a nifty save on Wisniewskis short-side attempt with 2:08 left.
Norfolk went on just its third power play of the game with 1:54 left in the extra session, when Reitz retaliation slash on Eric Nickulas was called a five-minute major by referee Justin St. Pierre.
In the shootout, Vorobievs attempt was wide, and then Koivu decked and lifted a backhander over Munro.
Smith closed the pads on Matt Ellison, and Mark Cullen had the puck roll off his stick.
Admirals captain Ajay Baines then shot the puck into Smiths pads, and Munro just got a piece of a Rickard Wallin offering.
Wisniewskis attempt just got a piece of Smiths glove, and with a chance to clinch, Lessard went five-hole on Munro.
Vorobiev got things started after an Aeros turnover 5:30 into the game. Ellison picked off an errant pass at the center point and skated in on Smith. Ellison fed Vorobiev at the left doorstep, and the winger beat Smith for his sixth of the season.
Foy answered back with Houstons Teddy Bear Toss goal at 7:06. Cullen chipped the puck from out of the corner to Foy at the goal mouth, and Foy slid the puck by Munro for his fifth goal.
Lessard gave the Aeros their first edge on the power play with 1:06 remaining in the first. Koivu began the play along the right wing boards, and he threaded the puck to Erskine at the center point. Erskine fed Lessard at the top of the left circle, and the reigning Hobey Baker winner took his time to settle the puck, then ripped it five-hole under Munro for his fourth tally.
The first period had 34 penalty minutes, while Thursdays game had 10 in the entire contest.
Houston nearly made it a two-goal edge 5:30 into the second, when Kyle Wanvig broke in alone on Munro. The goalie faked a poke check as Wanvig faked to his backhand, and the puck rolled off his stick. Cullens chipshot flew just wide on the rebound.
Three seconds after an Admirals power play expired in the second, Wisniewski floated the puck past a screened Smith for his second goal of the season to knot the score at 2-2. Moments earlier, Smith dove right to make a great save on Anton Babchuks rebound attempt.
Laings sixth of the season, shorthanded, put Norfolk back on top with 59 seconds left in the second. After Shawn Thornton muscled the puck to the length of the ice, it squirted back to Marty Wilford at the left point. Wilford flicked the puck on net, and Laing just deflected it under a stunned Smith.
The Aeros had a golden chance to tie things back up eight minutes into the third. Brent Burns caused a turnover at center ice, and Cullen streaked into the zone on the right wing. Cullen gave the puck back to Burns, who settled it and rifled a shot from between the circles that Munro just got a piece of. But the puck trickled to the goal line and the post and Wanvig poked at it, before a Norfolk defender swiped it away.
Houston got another shot with 8:55 left when Nick Kuiper went off for holding. Munro stoned Wanvigs tap-in attempt from the doorstep early in the man advantage. After that power play, Holtets heroics happened.
Houston finished 1-for-8 on the power play, while Norfolk went 0-for-3.
Aeros scratches were Josh Harding, Chris Heid, Ray Giroux, Christoph Brandner and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Harding missed his fourth straight game since suffering a concussion on a hit by Utahs Jeff Taffe on November 28.
Houston has a power play goal in six straight games, outscoring the opponents 9-2 with the man advantage in that span.
The Aeros have scored six goals this season in the first of last two minutes of a period, but have allowed 18.
Houston has scored a first-period goal in each of its last six games and in nine of 10 overall.
The Aeros have scored more goals in the first period at home (18) than it has in the other two periods plus overtime combined (14).
Houston, which had outshot six straight opponents, was outshot 41-32 tonight. The last team to outshoot Houston was Cleveland on November 23, and the Barons were also the last team to put up 40 on the Aeros. The Aeros were outshot at home for just the second time this season, the other being their home opener by Cincinnati (35-21).
Law extended his point streak to a season-high three games (1-3=4). He has an assist in each of the three games.
Erskines two assists tied a season- and career-high. He also had two helpers November 5 in Grand Rapids.