Erik Reitz (Photo by Jason Villanueva)
From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 5, Wolves 3 Official Box Score ROSEMONT, Ill. –
Erik Reitz and Mattias Weinhandl each posted a goal and an assist and Josh Harding made 31 saves in his return to the lineup, as the Houston Aeros shook off a pair of one-goal deficits for a 5-3 victory over the first-place Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena. Danny Irmen, Benoit Pouliot and Peter Olvecky also scored for Houston (15-17-0-3), which has won two straight in Rosemont. The Aeros, who lost their previous two games while Harding was out of the lineup due to illness, snapped a two-game skid and climbed within five points of fifth-place Milwaukee.
Darren Haydar scored two goals to extend his AHL-record point streak to 37 games, Jordan LaVallee also scored and Michael Garnett made 27 saves for (25-9-1-2), which is 1-2-0-1 in its last four, including a 4-3 home shootout loss to Houston seven days ago.
The Aeros return home to play three games in four nights, beginning Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against Peoria. It’s a Maple Leaf Pub Happy Hour Game
. Call 713.974.PUCK beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday to order or for more details.
In 14 games since November 19, Reitz has posted 11 points (2-9=11). He had just a goal and an assist in the season’s first 16 games. Reitz’ current run leaves him with 98 career points (21-77=98) in 271 games with the Aeros. Weinhandl, meanwhile, has 11 points (5-6=11) in just eight games since getting assigned by the Minnesota Wild last month. Harding, who began the season 0-5-1, improved his mark to 14-13-1.
Garnett foiled Pouliot’s breakaway less than a minute into the game.
Haydar and the Wolves struck first, with 3:57 remaining in the opening period. Haydar banked a pass off Aeros defenseman Peter Ratchuk’s skate to Joey Crabb behind the net. Crabb sent the puck towards the net, and it deflected off Haydar’s stick – Haydar wasn’t even facing the net – and into the cage for his 23rd goal of the season.
Weinhandl’s fourth of the season evened things up just 22 seconds into the second, with the teams skating 4-on-4. Roman Voloshenko stole the puck from a trio of Wolves behind the goal line and fed Weinhandl, who poked the puck in the net before Garnett could recover.
LaVallee put Chicago back on top 2-1 with a shorthanded goal at the 4:23 mark of the middle period. The tally came just seconds after a Curtis Murphy point blast hit the post. On the other end, LaVallee powered himself around Ratchuk and onto the doorstep, where he slipped the puck by Harding.
But Irmen’s ninth goal, only 62 seconds later, got Houston even again, after the Aeros power play expired. Reitz backhand the puck to Bryan Lundbohm, who one-timed a pass across the crease to Irmen, who touched the puck into an open net.
The AHL’s leading goal scorer, Chicago’s Brett Sterling, beat Harding midway through the second, but his shot rang off the post.
Garnett then stopped Ratchuk’s 2-on-1 attempt from Joel Ward.
Reitz’ third goal of the season gave Houston its first lead, with 1:47 remaining in the second. Reitz fired off a pass from Ryan Stokes, and Chicago defenseman Mark Popovic blocked the shot. But it came right back to Reitz, who settled the puck with his skate, then fired a shot by Garnett.
Reitz completed the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist and fighting major) by duking it out with Alex Bourret in the waning seconds of the middle stanza.
Pouliot avenged for the early breakaway miss with his 13th goal, with 6:46 gone in the third period and Houston on the power play. Harding made a long headman pass from out of the net to Matt Foy. Foy hit Pouliot, whose strong move and shot beat Garnett.
Haydar’s second of the game and 24th of the season got Chicago within 4-3 with 10:32 remaining in regulation. With Houston’s Chris Ovington in the penalty box for cross checking, Haydar floated a shot through traffic. The puck clanked off Harding’s stick and into the net, just nine seconds after Ovington’s penalty started
Less than a minute later, Harding stoned Haydar on a breakaway, and then somehow covered up former Aero Cory Larose’s rebound shot. Haydar was called for slashing on the play.
Weinhandl set up Olvecky’s third of the season, with Haydar in the penalty box, for a 5-3 lead with 9:16 left. Garnett made the stop on Weinhandl, who collected his own rebound and slid the pass to Olvecky at the other side of the crease.
Garnett headed to the bench for the extra attacker with 90 seconds left, but Chicago couldn’t solve Harding again.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, while Chicago went 1-for-5. The Aeros are 8-for-36 with the man advantage versus the Wolves this season. Notes:
Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan, Shawn Belle, Josh Olson, Ben Thomson and Joey Tetarenko.
Voloshenko has four points (2-2=4) in a four-game point streak, his longest since a seven-game run November 30-December 17, 2005 – just before he left for the World Junior Championships. In his last six games, Voloshenko has seven points (3-4=7).
Stokes’ assist gave him a new career-best six points (2-4=6) this season. He had five (2-3=5) in 75 games last season.
Garnett had won each of his last four starts.
Foy played in his 200th game with the Aeros.
Aeros winger Joel Ward, who spent most of the last month with NHL Minnesota, was a plus-two in his return to Houston.
The Aeros improved to 14-6-0-2 when scoring three or more goals. They are 1-11-0-1 when scoring two or fewer.
Olvecky didn’t score a goal in his first 26 games this season. He has all three of his scores in the last seven games – all since Weinhandl was put on his line.
Houston improved to 7-16-3-2 in its last 28 trips to Allstate Arena.
The Aeros have been outscored 7-1 in the first period of their last four games.
Seven of Houston’s 15 victories have been in come-from-behind fashion.
Chicago lost in regulation against a West Division opponent for just the fourth time this season (21-4-3-0).