From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Sunday, April 3, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 4, Rampage 1Official Box Score
SAN ANTONIO, Texas
Mikko Koivu scored his ninth goal in 10 games against San Antonio, Kirby Law extended his goal streak to four games and Josh Harding made 30 saves for his third straight win, as the Houston Aeros knocked off the Rampage 4-1 at SBC Center. Houston won its season-high fourth straight and is 5-0-0-1 in its last six to move to 83 points still tied for third place with Cincinnati, which won 4-2 at home versus Utah today. Fifth-place Grand Rapids fell three points back after a 4-1 loss in Hamilton today, a decision that dropped Houstons magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 12 points, a combination of its points gained and Grand Rapids points lost. Houston, Cincinnati and Grand Rapids all have seven games remaining.
Jeremy Reich and Ray Giroux also scored for Houston, which has outscored San Antonio 19-2 in the last three meetings, including a 7-1 rout last night. The Aeros, who have outscored their opponents 25-7 in the last six games, are 7-1-2-0 versus the Rampage this season, with a whopping 38-16 goal margin. They gave head coach Todd McLellan his 150th victory in Houston, making him the second bench boss in team history to reach that mark.
Patrick DesRochers turned aside 33 shots for San Antonio, which has lost nine of 10 since a 4-3 overtime win over Houston on March 3 and hasnt scored more than one goal in any game in that span. The Rampage is 3-16-1-1 since winning three straight in early February and has scored two goals or fewer in 16 of the last 17 meetings with Houston.
Harding is 3-0-0 with a 1.00 gaa and a .970 save percentage in his last three starts, lowering his gaa to 2.02, tied for fifth in the AHL. He took over the AHLs rookie lead in the category, as Lowells Cam Ward got roughed up today by Hartford to increase to 2.04.
Harding is 4-1-0 with a 1.18 gaa versus the Rampage, including four straight wins and a 0.98 gaa since dropping a 2-1 opening night decision at SBC Center. He improved to 18-16-2 overall and has won three straight for the second time, having also accomplished the feat February 27-March 7.
Koivu got things going at 4:32 of the first, in the middle of a lengthy Aeros 5-on-3. Koivu picked up the rebound of a Pierre-Marc Bouchard shot and ripped it by DesRochers from a tough angle along the goal line for his 19th of the season ninth in 10 games against the Rampage. Each of Koivus three power play goals have come versus San Antonio. Koivu and Bouchard combined for six points in last nights 7-1 rout of the Rampage.
Houston has scored first in five straight games.
Unlike Saturdays first period, when Harding was barely tested, he had to be strong early and often. With six minutes left in the first, Harding made a pair of great pad saves, including a Scott Kelman rebound shot from point blank range. Two minutes later, Harding kicked out a Filip Novak rocket from the near circle.
San Antonio had a 14-7 shot advantage in the first, but Harding was perfect.
Reichs second with the Aeros and sixth of the season pushed the Aeros lead to 2-0 at 6:44 of the middle period. Marc Cavosie stole the puck and fed Reich, who streaked into the left circle and while falling down, fired a shot high blocker side over DesRochers.
Girouxs 12th of the season, two seconds after a Houston power play expired, made it 3-0 with 6:56 remaining in the second. The defenseman took a pass from Brent Burns, stepped around a defender in the right circle, then slid the puck under DesRochers. Giroux was a plus-three, and is plus-seven in his last three games to move to a team-best plus-10.
Law put Houston up 4-0 at 3:11 of the third when he picked off a pass at the blueline and skated in on a long breakaway. Law faked forehand, then went backhand and got a shot by DesRochers for his team-best 24th goal and fourth in as many games.
Reich and Jevon Desautels dropped the gloves off the ensuing faceoff, and three seconds later, Houstons Bill Kinkel and T.J. Reynolds duked it out, each landing several punches early in the bout.
Jarding tallied his 13th goal, on the power play, at 4:11 as San Antonio avoided the shutout. He poked a rebound of a Greg Jacina shot past Harding.
Each team went 1-for-6 on the power play.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Ryan Stokes, Stephane Veilleux, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard, Matt Foy and John Erskine. Joey Tetarenko returned after missing four games due to injury.
Bouchard has eight points (2-6=8) in the Aeros six-game unbeaten in regulation streak.
Since allowing five first-period goals combined in games against Cincinnati and Manitoba, Harding hasnt allowed a first-period tally in his last five starts.
The Rampage fell to 7-31-0-0 in games decided by two or more goals.
The Aeros have scored 36 goals in their last seven wins.
Houston defenseman Patrick Traverse, who assisted on Koivus goal, has points in back-to-back games for the third time this season.
Entering todays game, Koivu had scored 33 of his 46 points at home.
Houston has outscored San Antonio 26-9 in the first two periods of their 10 meetings.
Law joins Koivu and Matt Foy as Aeros with four-game goal streaks this season.
The Aeros have allowed 10 third-period goals in their last eight games.
The Aeros last won four in a row during a season-best, six-game streak December 5-17, 2003, and they were last unbeaten in regulation in five straight games during a 3-0-4-0 run December 20, 2003-January 2, 2004.
During its four-game win streak, Houston has outscored its opponents 6-0 in the first period and 8-1 in the second.
Houston has points in 11 of its last 12 trips to SBC Center (6-1-3-2).
The Aeros won for only the second time in their last eight road games (2-4-1-1).
Houston has two goalies with 18 wins for just the second time in team history.