From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Direct line: 713.361.7930
Monday, Feb. 9, 2004
For a printable PDF view of the Aeros Weekly Report, please click here.
Aeros hit All Star Break in fourth place in West
Week in review: HOU 3, UTA 1; HOU 2, UTA 1; MIL 4, HOU 3; CHI 4, HOU 2
Houston split four games last week, winning twice on home ice and then falling two times to begin a five-game road trip. The Aeros entered the All Star Break with 48 points, fourth in the West Division, two ahead of Cincinnati and nine behind third-place Milwaukee.
West standings, as of 2/9
Grand Rapids 68
San Antonio 44
The week got off to a great start Tuesday, as Travis Roche had a goal and two helpers to tie a career-high in points, and Johan Holmqvist posted 24 saves and also registered an assist, as the Aeros beat the Utah Grizzlies 3-1 at Toyota Center. Stephane Veilleux and Chris Bala also scored for Houston.
The Aeros followed that up with a 2-1 win over the Grizzlies Thursday, as Mark Cullen and Veilleux each finished with a goal and an assist. Holmqvist made 17 of his 30 saves in the third period to keep Utah at bay as the Aeros won back-to-back games for the first time since the week of Christmas.
Friday, the modest two-game streak came to a halt, as a late rally fell short in a 4-3 loss in Milwaukee. Simon Gamache had a goal and two assists for the Admirals, while Jason Beckett scored his first goal of the season and Roche added three helpers for Houston.
Saturday, Houston again fell behind by three goals, and this time a late push also fell short, 4-2 in Chicago. Shawn Heins and Derek MacKenzie each scored in the opening 4:37 of the game for the Wolves.
Cullen posted a goal and an assist, Jason Marshall also scored and Holmqvist made 26 saves for the Aeros.
MON, All-Star Game, 6:00 p.m.
Aeros winger Kyle Wanvig, head coach Todd McLellan, assistant coaches Matt Shaw and Cam Stewart, equipment manager Rick Bronwell, trainer Jerry Meins and Chilly will represent the organization in Grand Rapids. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Southwest and NHL Center Ice at 6 p.m. (ct). (Check local listings for viewing on Fox Sports Southwest and Center Ice).
WED, HOU at CHI, 7:00 p.m.
Houston tries to avenge its 4-2 loss at Allstate Arena on Saturday, when the Aeros fell behind by two goals in the opening five minutes. Houston has lost its last four games in Chicago in regulation and is winless in the last six trips overall (0-4-0-2). The Aeros last won at Allstate Arena on January 15, 2003, a 4-3 overtime decision. Chicago has just two regulation losses in its last 10 games (7-2-0-1).
FRI, HOU at MIL, 7:00 p.m.
The Admirals beat Houston 4-3 at Bradley Center last Friday, and the Aeros will try to get revenge this Friday. Milwaukee has won three straight entering the All Star break, pushing its lead over fourth-place Houston to nine points.
SAT, HOU at GR, 6:30 p.m.
The Aeros make their fifth and final trip of the season to Van Andel Arena, where they earned a 2-1 win in their last trip on December 12. The Griffins enter the week atop the overall AHL standings with 68 points.
Wanvig will start All Star Game - Aeros winger Kyle Wanvig will start tonights Pepsi 2004 AHL All Star Game in Grand Rapids, Mich. Wanvig, who will play for the Canadian All Star Team, was moved into the starting lineup over the weekend due to injuries up front for the Canadian team. Last night, Wanvig was one of the few bright spots for the Canadians in the Skills Competition, which saw the PlanetUSA Team win 18-9. Wanvig shot 92.0 miles per hour in the Sher-Wood Hardest Shot competition, fourth among eight contestants. Wanvig also scored on Rastislav Stana in the Kodak Breakaway Relay.
Veilleux enjoying a great run Since being held without a point in three straight games in early January, Aeros left wing Stephane Veilleux has points in nine of 13 games. Veilleux carries a career-high-tying four-game point streak (3+2=5) into the All Star Break, and he had a goal in three straight games prior to being held to an assist Saturday. In the last 13 games, the Quebec native has 10 points (6+4=10). Veilleux has a goal in five of the last seven games and six of nine, and he leads the team with 31 points (12+19=31). Veilleux is tied for the AHL lead in shorthanded goals (four) and is fourth in shots with 180.
Power play up to 22nd It seemed not that long ago that the Aeros power play was toiling in 27th and 28th place in the 28-team American Hockey League. A recent hot streak has pushed the man-advantage unit up to 22nd in the AHL. Houston is 38-for-313 on the power play (12.1 percent), just ahead of each Hartford and Cincinnati (12.0 percent). The Aeros are 8-for-40 (20.0 percent) on the power play over their last six games after going 1-for-32 in their previous six. Houstons 313 power-play chances continue to lead the AHL by a wide margin - Manitoba is second with 284. Only 10 AHL teams have more power-play goals than the Aeros, despite 21 teams ahead of them in man advantage percentage.
Houston has two wins when allowing more than one goal - The Aeros are an unbeaten in regulation 16-0-3-1 when allowing one goal or fewer this season, and December 17 and January 30 were their only wins (2-23-6-2) when yielding two or more. Cloutiers 35 saves tie team season-high - Frederic Cloutier made 35 saves in a 4-3 loss at Milwaukee on Friday, tying the team season-high in saves. Johan Holmqvist stopped 35 shots in a 3-1 loss to Manitoba on November 4.
Aeros down to third in shots on goal - Houston failed to reach the 30-shot plateau in three of its four games last week. Because of that, the Aeros fell to third in the AHL in shots (33.08), after spending most of the season either in first or second place. Houston trails both Milwaukee (34.26) and Hamilton (33.27), two teams each ranked in the top five of the AHL in scoring. The Aeros, meanwhile, rank 20th in offense at 2.32 goals per game. Houston has been held to two goals or fewer in 33 of its 53 games. The offense has been heating up, however. The Aeros are averaging 2.78 goals per game over their last nine games. Defensively, Houston is ranked 21st in the AHL by allowing 2.77 goals per game. The Aeros have yielded a combined eight goals in their last two games, both road losses - a 4-3 decision in Milwaukee and a 4-2 defeat in Chicago.
Road trip continues This week, the Aeros play the final three games of a season-long five-game road trip, with each game coming against the top three teams in the West. Houston is 3-7-1 combined against those three teams on the road this season. The Aeros are now 7-15-4-1 on the road, including a 1-7-3-0 mark in the last 11 games. The lone road win in that span was a 5-2 decision in Manitoba on January 30. Only two teams (Springfield, Norfolk, each with 16) have more road losses than the Aeros. Houstons franchise record for road losses is 21, set in 1995-96. The Aeros have 13 games left to try and avoid that mark.
Three in three - Overall, Houston has picked up points in three of five games (1-2-2-0) when playing the third game in three nights. However, the last two occasions - both in Chicago - have resulted in losses.
Player of the week D Travis Roche -
Had six points (1+5=6) and was a plus three in leading Aeros to 2-2-0-0 mark last week...Notched fifth career three-point game (1+2=3) and was a plus two in Tuesdays 3-1 win over Utah...Added three assists for third time in career in 4-3 loss in Milwaukee on Friday...Is tied for ninth among AHL defenseman in points with 26 points (5+21=26) in just 39 games, the fewest games played among any of the top 17 blueliners...Is tied for ninth with former teammate, Curtis Murphy, now with Milwaukee.
Roche this week...
2/3 vs. UTA 1-2-3, +3
2/5 vs. UTA 0-0-0, E
2/6 at MIL 0-3-3, +2
2/7 at CHI 0-0-0, -2
Totals - 4gp, 1g, 5a, 6 pts, +3