From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 5, Grizzlies 2Official Box Score
Defensemen Brent Burns and Patrick Traverse each scored a power play goal, leading the Houston Aeros to a 5-2 victory over the Utah Grizzlies in front of 9,062 fans on Chronicle in Education Field Trip Day at Toyota Center. Kirby Law, Kyle Wanvig and Mark Cullen also scored, Stephane Veilleux, Mikko Koivu and Ray Giroux each notched two assists and Josh Harding made 22 saves for Houston.
The Aeros won their second straight to move to 49 points, one better than Grand Rapids for fifth-place in the West. They are one point behind fourth-place San Antonio with nine games in hand, and five behind third-place Cincinnati with six games in hand.
Houston left immediately following the game for Grand Rapids, where it will play Wednesday at 6 p.m. to kick off a three-game road trip that also includes stops in Milwaukee (Thursday) and Chicago (Saturday).
The game featured 164 penalty minutes - including a team-record 44 by Derek Boogaard.
Harding, in his first appearance against Utah since being knocked out with a concussion that forced him to miss two months on November 28, allowed two goals or less for the 10th time in 16 starts and improved to 8-8-1.
Dana Lattery and Jakub Koreis each scored and Jean-Marc Pelletier made 26 saves for Utah, which is winless in four games overall (0-3-0-1) and has dropped 12 straight on the road.
Utah scored on its first shot, 2:56 into the game, as Randall Gelech headmanned a pass to Lattery, who beat defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the puck and broke in alone on Harding. Lattery faked right and went left on Harding, sliding the puck under the goalie for his first goal with Utah.
Houston answered back 2:13 later, on Laws 12th goal. Law, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Rickard Wallin worked a long cycle along the boards. Bouchard, behind the net, fed Law at the right doorstep, and Law one-timed the puck past Pelletier to knot the score at 1-1.
Bouchards helper pushed his assist streak to seven games, with 10 points (3-7=10) overall in that span. That ties Koivu for the longest point streak by an Aero this season.
The Aeros got a four-minute power play including two minutes of 5-on-3 time midway through the period when Keith Ballard and Terry Virtue scuffled with Boogaard. Late in the first penalty, Burns eighth goal put Houston on top. Giroux got the puck to Burns at the right point, and the lanky defenseman unleashed a shot that tipped off a Grizzlies defenseman and by a screened Pelletier with 8:19 left in the opening period. Five of Burns eight goals have come on the power play.
Houston padded its lead to 4-2 after two, by again outscoring the Grizzlies 2-1 in the second period.
Wanvigs first goal in 19 games since scoring against Utah on November 28 put the Aeros up two at 3:52 of the second. Pelletier stopped Todd Reirdens shot from the left point, but the rebound popped directly in the air. Wanvig got a piece of the puck to get it by the goalie for his fifth of the season and second in 35 games. The tally also marked the 50th of Wanvigs pro career.
Utah got a transition goal to close within 3-2 at 6:07 of the second. With the Aeros on a line change, Rick Berry fed Koreis on the left wing, and Koreis wristed a shot over Hardings glove for his second goal of the season.
The Aeros pushed the lead to 4-2 on the power play, as Traverse scored his fourth of the season at 8:29. Veilleux, along the right wing boards outside the circle, threaded a perfect pass to fellow Quebec native Traverse in the low left circle. Traverse ripped a shot by Pelletier for his first goal since New Years Eve.
Utah had a good chance to close the gap late in the second, with 61 seconds of 5-on-3 time after a hooking call to Bouchard and a cross checking minor to John Erskine. Gelech hit the post as the Grizzlies nearly got within one.
The Aeros continued their solid third-period play, not allowing the Grizzlies any closer.
Things got interesting with 6:06 left, as hostility kept brewing between the teams, who combined for 200 penalty minutes the night Harding got hurt. Houstons Junior Lessard and Christoph Brandner each won bouts to the side of Pelletier. Brandner had no penalty minutes this season, but he now has 15.
With 1:44 left and Pelletier pulled, Martin Sonnenberg accosted Erskine after the whistle, leading to a 10-man pile in the corner involving Erskine and Boogaard that took 15 minutes to sort out.
With Pelltier pulled, Utah finished the game with seven skaters on the bench, and they saw Cullen finish things off with an empty-netter his seventh of the season.
Erik Westrum leveled Koivu after the buzzer, leading to another 10-player scrum.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Utah went 0-for-4.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Mark Rooneem, Dan Cavanaugh, Marc Cavosie and Marius Holtet. Boogaard and Erskine each returned after missing the last two games due to injury.
Veilleux notched his fourth multiple assist game, while Koivu now has two. Veilleux and Bouchard are tied for the team lead with eight multiple point games, one more than Koivu.
Wanvigs goal also was the 49th of his Aeros career, moving him within one of Cory Larose for 10th place on the teams all-time list. His one with the Wild give him 50 in his career.
Today was the first time Houston scored a first-period goal in five games.
The crowd of 9,062 was the second largest at Toyota Center this season.
Burns has three goals in his last five games.
Houston improved to 7-15-1-2 when its opponent scores first.
Cullens goal was his first since November 26, also against Utah.
Both of Koreis goals this season have come at Toyota Center.