Director of Communications
Saturday, December 17, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 7, Rivermen 2 Official Box Score
Twenty-year-old rookie sensation Patrick OSullivan and veteran Rem Murray each tallied two goals and an assist, and linemate Matt Foy added a career-best four helpers, as the Houston Aeros ruined former NHL All-Star Patrick Lalimes Peoria debut with a 7-2 victory over the Rivermen. Nineteen-year-old rookie Roman Voloshenko notched a goal and an assist in his final game before leaving for the prestigious World Junior Championships, and Erik Westrum and Josh Olson also scored for Houston, which has won six of seven and is a Western Conference-best 21-8-1-1. Josh Harding stopped 40 shots for the victory as Houston scored five or more goals for the eighth time in only 16 home games.
The Aeros take five days off before returning to Toyota Center next Friday for a 7:35 p.m. tilt with Omaha. Houston is a perfect 4-0-0-0 versus the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights this season. The first 3,000 fans will receive an official Aeros White Out Night T-shirt. Click here
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Mike Mottau and D.J. King each scored a goal while Lalime made 32 saves for Peoria, which has lost six straight following a 15-6-0-1 start.
The Aeros have beaten a pair of NHL All-Star goalies this season Lalime (sent down after clearing waivers this week) and Chris Osgood (conditioning assignment in Grand Rapids from Detroit). In addition, Houston beat Ryan Miller last weekend in Rochester on a conditioning assignment. Miller began the season in Buffalo and is likely to be named to the United States Olympic Team later this winter.
Both Westrum and Voloshenko moved their point streaks to seven games tonight, tying Westrums team season-high. Voloshenko has 10 points (6-4=10) in his last seven games, and he has at least one point in 13 of the last 14 games overall. Westrum also has 10 points (3-7=10) in his seven-game point streak, which also ties a career-high.
OSullivans 13th of the season put Houston on top first and led to a flurry of Teddy Bears. Petr Taticek stole the puck along the right wing boards and shuffled a pass to Foy. Foy slid a cross-ice pass to a cutting OSullivan, who faked Lalime to the ground and backhanded a top shelf shot into the cage.
Peoria got five power plays in the first period, including a short 5-on-3, and got its best two chances on the man advantage just past the midway point. Harding made a blocker save on Mike Glumacs left point blast with 9:06 left, and a minute later got down in a hurry to stop Brendan Brooks rebound attempt.
The Rivermen finally scored at the end of that fifth power play, 48 seconds into the middle period. Jon DiSalvatore fed Mottau at the right point, and the former Hobey Baker winner unleashed a drive high glove side by Harding for his second goal of the season.
Lalime ranged far from his left to right to rob Westrums attempt on a cross-ice pass from second-leading scorer Kirby Law with Houston on the power play early in the second.
However, on the same power play, Voloshenko moved into a tie for the AHL lead in goals with his 19th. Murphy picked off a clearing attempt at the left point and sent a shot in on Lalime. Voloshenko redirected it by the goalie for the goal at 2:52.
Brooks broke in all alone on Harding with Peoria shorthanded midway through the second, but the Aeros netminder rescued his teammate with a blocker save, falling on the rebound.
The Rivermen tied the game at 2-2 with 4:48 left in the second. Harding made a save but the rebound got kicked into the corner. King started the play by digging the rebound out of Scott Fergusons skates in the corner. He fed Glumac, who went behind the net for a wraparound try. A diving Harding made that save, but King popped the rebound over Harding for his third goal of the season.
Harding kept the game tied with 3:03 left, when King tried to redirect a bouncing puck by him. Harding made the save, and then Ferguson went with King in the corner after the Rivermen winger took a vicious whack at Hardings left pad when the puck was well covered.
The fight energized the Aeros, who went back on top 3-2 with 2:47 left after more hard work by the checking line of Olson, Bryan Lundbohm and Joel Ward. Ward banked a pass off the right wing boards for Lundbohm, who carried the puck just across the blueline and left it for Olson. Olsons blast from just outside the right circle eluded Lalime for his sixth goal of the season. Olson has nine points (4-5=9) in the last 10 games.
Law nearly made it a two-goal advantage with two seconds left in the middle period, but Lalime kicked out Laws blast from the right circle on the power play.
The Aeros scored four times in the third period to put the game away.
Murrays second in as many games extended the Aeros lead to 4-2 just 1:36 into the third. Lalime kicked out Erik Reitz blast from the right point, but Murray named alternate captain Thursday deposited the rebound by the sprawled netminder for his fifth of the season.
Westrum pushed the advantage to three goals with 11:08 left, with a power play goal his 13th goal and league-best 42nd point of the season. Voloshenko passed the puck left-to-right low in the slot, and Westrum knew what to do with it.
OSullivan made it 6-2 with his second of the night and 14th of the season with 8:43 left, turning and firing one top shelf by Lalime from the right circle. Murray buried an OSullivan feed with 4:07 left for the final margin.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Peoria went 1-for-6.
Not dressing for the Aeros were Colin Peters, Adam Couchaine, Peter Olvecky, Mark Rooneem, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov.
With Peoria goalie Reinhard Divis unavailable because of a possible waiver recall to St. Louis, the Rivermen dressed Bill Conger as the backup goalie. Conger was a visiting locker room attendant a Toyota Center last season.
Houston is 12-2-1-1 at Toyota Center this season, and 18-2-1-3 in the last 24 regular-season games there and 26-4-1-3 in the last 34.
The Aeros are 11-1-0-0 when Voloshenko scores a goal and 16-1-0-0 when Voloshenko has at least one point.
Murphys assist was the 124th point with the Aeros, moving him into a tie for ninth place on the teams all-time list with Stephane Veilleux. Murphys assist was also his 86th with the team, tying Jeff Tory for fifth all-time.
Hardings victory was his 37th with the Aeros, tying Derek Gustafson for second place on the teams all-time list. Gustafson is the AHL leader for the Aeros with 37, while Frederic Chabot leads all goalies with 126.
Houston is 6-1-0-0 when scoring three or more goals against Peoria/Worcester, but 0-4-1-0 when scoring two or fewer.
Harding is 31-1-1 in his last 33 decisions when the Aeros score three or more goals in support of him.
Kurtis Foster, who began the season with the Aeros, scored the game-winning goal in overtime tonight for the Minnesota Wild in a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Reitz and defensive partner Ryan Stokes each finished plus-four.