KPRC Channel 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy
recently spent a morning practice with the Aeros - on skates. You can see how McIlvoy fared, with help from "coach" Kyle Wanvig
, this Sunday on Sports Sunday at 10:15 p.m. Wanvig was "miked up", and you won't want to miss what he has to say about the Aeros' newest right wing prospect.
Aeros.com Power Poll
asks American Hockey League pundits to vote for the best and worst of the AHL every two weeks. Here's the latest edition:
1 Manchester (1)
Monarchs havent won back-to-back games since 12-game streak ended December 5. Manchester, which features the leagues top two scorers in Michael Cammalleri and Yanick Lehoux, has played six of its last seven on the road, with only one win in that span. The Monarchs are still the class of the league, ranking first in offense (3.93 goals per game) and second in defense (2.03).
2 Philadelphia (2)
Phantoms lost four of five after 17-game winning streak, but theyve rebounded with a 3-0-0-1 unbeaten in regulation streak. Ordinary in first and third periods, Philadelphia has walloped opponents 39-16 in the second..
3 Hartford (7)
Hartford moves up four spots thanks to five wins in its last six games. The Pack has allowed more than three goals just twice this season and lead the league in goals against (1.73). Goalie Jason LaBarbera is making a strong case to be the AHLs first repeat Most Valuable Player since Paul Gardner in 1984-85 and 1985-86, winning his last nine starts after an 0-4-1 slump.
4 Milwaukee (3)
Ads lost three of four, capped by a 5-4 loss at last-place Utah, before righting the ship and crushing the Grizzlies 6-1 Monday. Milwaukee has scored four or more goals 14 times in 27 games (51.9 percent). This offensive juggernaut comes to Toyota Center next Wednesday trying to avoid a 5-2 loss to Houston on November 13. The Admirals rank second on the power play and fourth on the penalty kill and have outscored their opponents 36-18 with the man advantage.
5 Manitoba (5)
Manitoba has played 10 of its last 12 at the brand new MTS Centre, and the Moose will play six of the next eight there before becoming spending a lot of time on the road. Thats not a bad thing for Manitoba, 7-6-0-1 in Winnipeg. Plus-three in goal differential over the first two periods, team has blitzed opponents 37-23 in the third period.
6 Grand Rapids (4)
Another marquee team struggling at home (8-7-1-0) but cruising on the road (10-2-0-0). Griffins will get even scarier once Jiri Hudler returns from tending to family matters overseas. Published reports out of Michigan also say the Griffins are about to sign standout Kip Miller, who had shoulder surgery over the summer. Joey MacDonald has seemingly answered any questions about becoming a No. 1 goalie, going 14-8-0 with a 1.93 gaa.
7 Worcester (14)
The IceCats are a big mover in this weeks Power Poll. Stat alert: Worcesters last four regulation losses (plus one shootout loss) have all come via shutout. The IceCats have points in their last nine games when scoring a goal. Since being shut out in three straight games early this month, Worcester is 6-1-0-1.
8 Rochester (8)
The Americans have only one regulation loss in the last 10 games (7-1-0-2). Rookie Thomas Vanek has nine power play goals, only five fewer than the entire San Antonio team. Rochester is eight games over the .500 mark despite an even 74-74 goal differential, thanks to some big losses early in the season.
9 Chicago (10)
The Wolves will be fine as long as Kari Lehtonen is healthy. Theyve won his last four starts, but with him out, they combined to lost two games by a combined 12-6 score.
10 St. Johns (6)
The Baby Leafs have gone into a scoring slump, totaling nine goals in their last five games. St. Johns, awful a year ago in the first period, owns a 29-18 advantage this season.
11 Lowell (16)
The Lock Monsters have quietly gone 7-1-0-2 in their last 10, with four shutout wins in that span. Goalies Brent Krahn and Cam Ward have helped Lowell allow just 2.41 goals per game, fifth in the AHL. That defense has helped a Monsters team that isnt terribly deep after Eric Staal (9-21=30), Chuck Kobasew (15-12=27) and Colin Forbes (12-14=26), though Lowell averages 3.15 goals per game.
12 Edmonton (9)
Road Runners have won two of three after a three-game losing streak, ironically all with leading scorer Tony Salmelainen out due to an international competition. Edmonton is 7-2-2-0 on the road, but has more non-wins than wins (8-6-0-3) at home.
13 Providence (18)
P-Bruins havent lost in regulation in eight games (6-0-0-2), and theyve seen their last seven games be decided by one goal. Providence has gone 2-0-0-1 without Patrice Bergeron, off to World Juniors. The Bruins have already played 17 of their 40 road games, but theyve only won five (5-8-0-4).
14 Houston (13)
The Aeros are still without their leading scorer (Pierre-Marc Bouchard), three-time AHL All-Star defenseman Ray Giroux and goalie Josh Harding, but the 13-day break without games helped them get some other bodies healthy. Two gutsy wins over a stubborn Norfolk team appear to have Houston heading in the right direction.
15 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (11)
Marc-Andre Fleury, the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, appeared to have wrestled the top goalie spot away from 2004 Calder Cup playoffs hero Andy Chiodo with a 4-1-1, 1.77 gaa November. But in December with Chiodo slightly injured, Fleurys gaa has jumped more than a goal per game to 2.96. The line of Kris Beech, Michel Ouellet and Matt Murley has combined for 38 points (15-23=38) in nine games this month.
16 Cleveland (22)
The Barons are this weeks biggest mover after four straight wins. Josh Prudden has the game-winner in three of those contests. Cleveland has allowed 1.75 goals per game in December, and the Barons will be dangerous come spring time if their penalty kill unit can climb above 27th place in the 28-team AHL.
17 Binghamton (17)
The Sens keep rotating wins and losses and havent strung together back-to-back Ws since Thanksgiving week. Despite having top prospect Ray Emery in net, Binghamton is 22nd in the league in goals allowed (2.94 per game). Ten of the Senators 14 wins have come by one goal.
18 Bridgeport (15)
The injury bug has hit the Sound Tigers, who played without six regulars Monday, including one hurt during a pre-game soccer match. Bridgeport has scored one goal in three of its last five games.
19 Syracuse (19)
Syracuse signed veteran brothers Chris and Peter Ferraro and after losing the first two games, spanked Hershey 3-0 Sunday behind rookie Andrew Penners 30 saves. Penner may play an important part, since diminutive Karl Goehring (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) started eight straight games with Pascal Leclaire out with an injury.
20 Norfolk (12)
Fifth two polls ago and 12th in the last edition, the Admirals simply arent as bad as their 1-6-0-1 record in the last eight games. Anyone at Toyota Center last weekend can tell you that. But top goalie Craig Anderson is out three months, and he has eight of Norfolks 15 wins. Hes the type of goalie who can win you 1-0 games in bunches, and the Admirals need that type of netminding.
21 San Antonio (21)
San Antonio has been No. 21 in each of the last three editions of the Power Poll. Talk about injuries Nathan Horton, Burke Henry, Victor Uchevatov, Serge Payer all on the shelf. Rampage come into Toyota Center on Thursday breathless and ready to play for the sixth time in seven nights.
22 Hamilton (23)
The Bulldogs have picked up points in five of their last six (4-1-0-1) to climb one point out of fifth place in the North. But each of the bottom three teams in that division had better get on their motor to catch Manitoba, St. Johns, Rochester or Edmonton.
23 Hershey (25)
Trying for their first three-game winning streak of the season, the Bears fell 3-0 at home to Syracuse on Sunday after beating league-leading Manchester in overtime on Saturday. The Bears seemingly arent good starters (outscored 25-19 in the first period) nor finishers (29-18 in the third).
24 Portland (20)
The struggling Pirates have gone 3-9-2-1 in their last 15 games. Portland has seen 13 of its 30 games go into either overtime or a shootout, which is helping the team stay afloat.
25 Cincinnati (26)
The Ducks have begun to improve since signing of needed veteran leadership in the form of Casey Hankinson. Theyve gone 3-3-0-0 since Hankinsons arrival, and Frederic Cassivi and Mathieu Chouinard have been good fill-ins for Ilya Bryzgalov, currently playing for Russia in international competition.
26 Albany (24)
The Rats appeared to have turned things around with a four-game unbeaten in regulation streak, but have lost three straight on the road by a combined 14-4 score. Albany has four home wins, fewest in the AHL.
27 Springfield (27)
The Falcons lost seven straight before two recent wins, and are losing ground on No. 28 Utah. Veteran Jamie Storr was the goalie for the final six losses of the streak, but 6-foot-4 rookie Brian Eklund won the next two, moving him to 4-1-0 in his last five.
28 Utah (28)
The Grizzlies have nearly climbed out of the basement, going 4-4-0-0 in their last eight, including back-to-back wins over West No. 1s Milwaukee and Grand Rapids. After scoring one first period goal in its first 15 games, Utah has scored 14 in the last 14.