From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Thursday, April 21, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 2, Wolves 1 (OT); Series tied 1-1Official Box Score
Mikko Koivu scored on fellow All-Star countryman and good friend Kari Lehtonen 3:20 into overtime and Mike Smith was brilliant in his playoff debut with 33 saves, as the Houston Aeros stole home ice advantage with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Game 2 of the West Division Semifinals at Allstate Arena. Mark Cullen added a power play goal for Houston.
Games 3 (A), 4 (B) and 5 (C) are at Toyota Center on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Saturday's game will begin at 7:05 p.m., and the first 3,000 fans will receive an Aeros rally towel. Click here
for playoff tickets, or call 1.866.GO.AEROS. Tuesdays game is now on sale via the internet as well, and will be available Friday beginning at 9 a.m. at other outlets.
Sunday is an Aeros Playoff Family Day. Get four tickets, $20 in Toyota Bucks, free parking and
four special commemorative playoff pucks for only $67. Order the Family Day package at www.aeros.com/themenights
. Username is Family, password is Aeros. Or click here
to print the flyer.
Joe Corvo forced overtime midway through the third period and Lehtonen made 31 saves for Chicago, which won Game 4 Tuesday, 4-1.
Smith made seven saves in the first period, 12 in the second, 11 in the third and three in overtime, but he allowed Corvos overtime-forcing goal with 9:23 remaining in regulation. Smith improved to 3-0 this season against Chicago.
Corvos goal set up Koivus heroics, as he scored on Lehtonen, his good friend and fellow Finnish All-Star. Matt Foy won a race to the puck behind the net. He fed Koivu in the low slot, and the Minnesota Wilds top-rated prospect ripped a shot top shelf over Lehtonen, rated by most as the best minor-league goalie prospect in North America, for his first AHL playoff goal. Koivu had scored once versus the Wolves this season, but it was on Michael Garnett.
The Aeros improved to 1-2 all-time in the playoffs in overtime against Chicago, last losing Game 2 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals 14:00 into the second overtime on a goal by the late Dan Snyder. Houston is now 10-10 all-time in post-season overtimes, including a 6-4 road mark. The Aeros have won each of the last four series when recording an overtime victory.
The teams had split four overtime affairs this season, with both teams winning two games on home ice.
The teams combined for 15 power plays but no goals in Game 1, but Houston scored on the contests first man advantage, as Cullen gave the Aeros a 1-0 lead at the 8:34 mark.
With Ben Simon in the box for goaltender interference, Kyle Wanvig hit a cutting Cullen near the net, and Cullen chipped the pass up and over Lehtonen and into the net. Wanvig extended his point streak to four games, having scored goals in each of the last three games. The goal snapped an 0-for-39 streak against Chicago in the post-season.
The Aeros, meanwhile, were able to kill off two man advantages in the first. The second one game after Houston, on the power play already, was whistled for a seldomly called faceoff violation.
Houston, outshot 40-23 in Game 1, held a 16-7 advantage through one period in Game 2.
The Wolves turned it up a notch in the second, but Smith was perfect on 12 chances.
Tempers began to flare a bit in the second, as the teams combined for 10 minor penalties in a six-minute span in the opening half of the stanza.
Late in the second, Smith turned away both former Aero Cory Larose and Stephen Weiss from close range.
The Wolves came out flying in the third, holding Houston to just one shot in the opening 12 minutes and tying the game.
Chicago got a 4-on-3 power play early in the third, but Smiths puck handling helped kill off the man advantage. He covered a rebound in a flurry of traffic at the end of the advantage, as Weiss and veteran Steve Maltais were whacking at the puck.
Just more than a minute later, Aero killer Brad Larsen clanged a rising shot off the post. Larsen had two goals and an assist in Game 1, and earlier this season had a hat trick versus Josh Harding.
With Chicago still pressing, Corvo knotted the game with 9:23 left in regulation. Smith made the original save on Corvo, who poked the rebound by the goalie as he fell down on Chicagos 27th shot of the game.
Cullen nearly put the Aeros back on top with 6:30 left, stealing the puck and lifting a shot just over the crossbar.
Houstons John Erskine took a boarding penalty with only 3:52 remaining in the third, and Karl Stewart was slow to get up after the hit. Erskine has seven minor penalties in the first two games of the series.
Houston is 1-for-5 on the power play, while Chicago is 0-for-5. The Wolves are 1-for-49 on the power play in their last seven games, and havent scored against Houston in the last 33 attempts.
The Aeros scratched Joey Tetarenko, Erik Reitz, Maxime Fortunus, Bill Kinkel, Ryan Stokes, Stephane Veilleux, Christoph Brandner, and Marius Holtet.
Houston has never trailed 2-0 in a best-of-seven series.
Smith entered the game 0-2 at Allstate Arena in his three-year career.
Eight of the teams 12 meetings this season have been decided by one goal.
Houston won for only the ninth time in playoff history when scoring two goals or fewer (9-35).
This was the Aeros fifth-shortest playoff overtime game in team history.