From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Saturday, March 12, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 8, Rampage 0Official Box Score
Mikko Koivu celebrated his 22nd birthday with two goals and an assist and Josh Harding made 24 saves for his fourth shutout, as the Houston Aeros tied their franchise record for goals and winning margin with an 8-0 victory over the San Antonio Rampage at Toyota Center. Linemates Rickard Wallin and Kyle Wanvig each finished with a goal and two assists for Houston, which snapped a two-game skid and moved within two points of third-place Cincinnati, which lost 2-1 in a shootout in Utah. The Aeros, who are 13-2-1-0 all-time at home versus the Rampage, play host to the Ducks in a crucial West Division matchup Monday at 7:05 p.m. Houston has two games in hand on Cincinnati.
Wanvig, Mark Cullen, Marius Holtet and Zbynek Michalek each tallied a goal in a four-score second period. Junior Lessard also scored, Michalek added an assist for a two-point night and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and John Erskine each chipped in two helpers for Houston.
Houston scored eight goals for the seventh time in franchise history, the first since April 6, 2001, in an 8-3 win over Cleveland. The Aeros only other eight-goal win was November 28, 1998, in an 8-0 win at Las Vegas.
Patrick DesRochers made 20 saves for San Antonio, which has lost four straight and fell to 2-11-1-1 in its last 15. San Antonio has been shut out in two straight games and in four of six.
Harding made eight saves in the first period, seven in the second and nine in the third while posting his first shutout since a 1-0 win over Milwaukee on February 5. The 20-year-old rookie lowered his gaa to 1.92, fourth best in the AHL. Harding has won four of his last five decisions.
The Rampage came out not looking like a team that recently loaned out four of its best players and is playing its third game in three nights. San Antonio controlled play until the final three minutes of the opening period.
Three of Houstons first four shots came on the power play, but the Aeros struck with 1:01 showing on the clock. Wanvig stole a pass at the blueline and hit a streaking Wallin at the left point, and Wallin skated in 2-on-1 with Koivu. Wallin bided his time, then fed Koivu in the right circle, and Koivu who turned 22 today rifled a one-timer top shelf for his 15th goal of the season.
Houston scored on three of its first six shots in the second period, and four times overall in the frame, to take control. The Aeros four goals in the second tied a season high and was one off their franchise record. Houston scored on each of its three second-period power plays to snap a 0-for-22 skid.
Cullens ninth got things going at 3:07, on the power play. Bouchard ripped a shot from the right circle that got knocked down in front. Cullen quickly one-timed the rebound by DesRochers from a bad angle in the low right circle.
Just 53 seconds later, Holtets fifth goal made it 3-0. Matt Foy picked off a pass at the blueline, took two steps into the offensive zone and flipped a behind-the-back pass to Holtet. The Norway product corralled the puck and unleashed a slap shot that beat the goalie short side.
Koivu, Cullen and Holtet each scored for the first time in exactly one month.
At the 8:51 mark, Wanvig extended the advantage to four goals, again on the power play. Koivu fed Brent Burns at the right point, and the lanky blueliners one-timer was headed wide before Wanvig skated through the slot and tipped it over DesRochers for his eighth goal of the season.
Michalek scored on the power play with 5:29 remaining in the second, making it 5-0 Houston. Bouchard, in the right circle, backhanded a pass to Michalek at the right point. He took a step into a shot, and the puck got through traffic in front for his fifth goal.
Seconds after Michaleks goal, Houstons Joey Tetarenko sent T.J. Reynolds quickly to the ice in his first fight with the Aeros.
The Aeros continued to pour it on only 1:36 into the third. Just as a penalty to Foy expired, Erskine sent a headman pass to Wallin at center ice. Wallin skated in 3-on-0 with Foy and Koivu, before pulling up and roofing a shot short side versus DesRochers for his ninth goal of the season.
Koivu notched his second of the game, and Lessard his eighth of the season, only 1:10 apart midway through the period.
Koivu muscled his way to the doorstep from behind the cage, and after some nifty stick work, beat DesRochers at 8:41. Koivu now leads the Aeros with four multiple-goal games, and he has scored seven of his 16 goals versus San Antonio. Lessard then followed his own miss on a 2-on-1 with Tetarenko, rolling the puck under DesRochers to end the goalies night.
The Aeros finished 3-for-7 on the power play, while San Antonio went 0-for-4. Houston was 0-for-22 and 4-for-46 in its last 12 games before Cullens tally.
The Aeros scratched Erik Reitz, Bill Kinkel, Marc Cavosie, Stephane Veilleux, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner and Derek Boogaard.
Jeremy Reich, acquired on loan from Syracuse on Thursday, debuted on a line with Dan Cavanaugh and Tetarenko. Jason Beckett, sent to the Crunch for Reich, played tonight for Syracuse, his first AHL game of the season.
Houston also scored four goals in the first period February 18 against Chicago. That also marked the last time the Aeros scored more than two goals in a period.
The Aeros improved to 4-1-1-0 after being shut out by five or more goals under Todd McLellan. Milwaukee bested Houston 5-0 Thursday.
Houston scored first for the first time in four games.
Koivu has 10 points, including seven goals, in eight games versus the Rampage.
Erskine picked up his first point since a goal January 19 versus Edmonton. This marked his second two-assist and two-point game of the season.
Houston has won a season-best four straight home games.
Erskine, Wallin, Koivu and Chris Heid each finished plus-three for Houston.
Wanvigs three points tied a career-high, set four times last April 2, 2004.
Travis Scott made five saves in relief of DesRochers.