Joel Ward scored Houston's franchise-record 17th SHG (Photo by Jason Villanueva)
From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Stars 3, Aeros 1 Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
Former Aero Junior Lessard scored 3:45 into the game and set up two other scores, including Chris Conner’s game-winning power play goal midway through the third period, as Iowa defeated Houston 3-1 at Toyota Center to move to the brink of a playoff spot in the West Division. Iowa (41-33-3-1) is one point away from the West Division’s fourth and final playoff spot with two games remaining. Janos Vas added an empty-net goal.
Tony Quesada made 27 stops as the hard-luck loser and Joel Ward scored a shorthanded, penalty shot goal for Houston (26-41-4-6), which has scored three goals in its last three games – all with Quesada in net. Houston plays host to Iowa again on Friday at 7:35 p.m. in its penultimate home game. Call 713.974.PUCK to order tickets and be entered into a special drawing for items such as autographed Aeros memorabilia and Cirque du Soleil tickets.
Iowa scored the game’s first goal 3:45 into the first period, when Lessard directed a Paul Szczechura centering pass home for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
In one of his 24 saves, Iowa goalie Dan Ellis made a juggling save on Ryan Hamilton’s blast from the left circle two minutes later.
The Aeros got both power plays in a pedestrian second period that saw Iowa go without a shot for the first 13 minutes, but Ellis was perfect.
Ward got hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway 1:54 into the third period, and he scored under Ellis for his team’s 17th shorthanded tally of the season – a new team record. Ward also tied the team individual mark with his fourth.
Houston’s Mattias Weinhandl nearly gave the Aeros their first lead with 11:45 left on the power play, but his shot off a great Curtis Murphy pass was low to the ground, and Ellis made a right pad save.
Quesada was brilliant with Iowa on the power play midway through the third, doing the splits to outright rob Lessard’s attempt for a second goal from the left circle. But off the ensuing faceoff, Conner’s 18th goal put Iowa back on top. Conner crashed the right post and tipped in a Marty Wilford pass from the left point.
Iowa had a third goal wiped out with 5:59 remaining, when referee Steve Kozari ruled that Quesada had been interfered with.
The Aeros got a power play with 4:35 left when Vojtach Polak whacked Erik Reitz to the ice with a high stick. Off the faceoff, Ward hit the near post, and the puck slid the entire length of the goal line before heading wide. Ellis also swallowed up a big Reitz drive from the center point late in the advantage.
Murphy got loose in the right circle with 1:43 left, but had his shot was deflected into the protective netting by a defenseman.
Houston pulled Quesada with 1:20 remaining, but couldn’t get the equalizer. Reitz had a good shot from the high slot, but Ellis kicked it out.
The empty-netter by Vas came after a heartbreaking miss by Danny Irmen – and then a defenseman nearly put the puck in the Iowa net as well.
Houston finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while Iowa went 1-for-3. Notes:
Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan, Roman Voloshenko, Chris Ovington, Ben Thomson and Clayton Stoner. Ovington was recalled from ECHL Texas prior to the game.
Stephane Veilleux most recently had four shorthanded goals, in 2003-04.
The Aeros haven’t outshot any of their last 14 opponents. Iowa has outshot the Aeros in six of the teams’ last seven meetings.
Houston has lost a season-high three straight home games.