Aeros have two regulation losses in last 18
Week in review: HAR 1, HOU 0 (OT); HOU 0, WOR 0 (OT)
The Aeros are 9-2-6-1 in their last 18 games, having picked up points in all but two of those contests. Houston, despite not winning since December 26, has climbed to fourth place in the West Division.
West Standings, as of 1/12
Grand Rapids 49
San Antonio 35
* Play tonight.
Friday, AHL rookie Kyle Kettles made 20 saves for his first AHL shutout but Worcester's Reinhard Divis countered with 26 stops and turned aside a Travis Roche penalty shot with 7.6 seconds left in overtime, as the Houston Aeros and IceCats skated to a 0-0 tie at Toyota Center.
The Aeros, who have skated to six ties and an overtime loss in the last eight games (0-1-6-1), have tied their franchise-record winless streak, an 0-6-1-1 span earlier this season. Houston though has picked up points in seven of those games and 11 straight at home (6-0-4-1).
Kettles, an unbeaten 2-0-3 in his last five while allowing just five goals in that span, made six saves in the first period, eight in the second, four in the third and two in overtime.
Thursday, Ken Gernander scored the games lone goal with 12 seconds left in overtime and Jason Labarbera made 31 saves for his second straight shutout of Houston, as the Hartford Wolf Pack handed the Aeros a 1-0 defeat at Toyota Center.
Johan Holmqvist turned aside the first 28 shots he faced against his former team but let Gernanders in the net.
FRI, HOU vs. SAN, 7:00 p.m.
Roger Clemens Night, Boy Scout Night and 5,000 Thunderstick Giveaway
The Toyota Center will be howling this night, as the arch-rival San Antonio Rampage come to town. Future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens will drop the ceremonial puck, and the first 5,000 fans will get Aeros Thundersticks. Arrive early, as its Boy Scout Night. Houston hasnt lost in regulation in four games against San Antonio (2-0-1-1) this season. The teams last met in a home-and-home after Christmas, with the Aeros winning at home 2-1 and then tying the Rampage 1-1 in San Antonio. Houston is 10-3-2-1 all-time against San Antonio, while the Aeros are 7-1-0 at home versus the Rampage. San Antonio just got Lee Goren back from a wrist injury, and has just three wins in its last 10. The Rampage has slipped to sixth in the West Division with 35 points, one behind Cincinnati.
SAT, HOU at SAN, 7:00 p.m.
The Aeros make the return trip to San Antonio, where they are winless (0-0-1-1) in two trips this season and 3-2-2-1 all-time.
SUN, HOU at CHI, 3:00 p.m.
The Aeros will try to avenge a 4-2 loss in Chicago January 3, when they saw a two-goal lead disappear in a 4-2 loss. The Wolves feature All-Star goalie Kari Lehtonen. Nine of the teams last 14 games have gone into overtime. Chicago is second in the West with 45 points.
Home points streak at 11 - Houstons overtime loss to Hartford Thursday technically snapped the Aeros home unbeaten streak at nine games (6-0-3), but Houston still has an 11-game home points streak (6-0-4-1). Houstons nine-game home unbeaten streak was the second longest in the AHL this season, trailing only Bridgeports 10-game run from October 25-December 17. Houston started off its first season in Toyota Center just 2-6-1-1 but hasnt lost in regulation since a 3-1 decision to Milwaukee December 1, improving to 8-6-5-2. Each of Houstons last five home games have gone to overtime (0-1-4), a franchise record.
Eight is enough - The Aeros havent won in their last eight games (0-1-6-1), but have picked up points in seven of those eight games. Still, Houstons eight-game winless streak matches the longest in franchise history, but a decidedly streak than an 0-6-1-1 mark set from November 20-December 3 of this season. The Aeros are the only AHL team this season to go winless in more than seven games. Houston is also winless in its last five home games (0-1-4), but have picked up points in four of them. The Aeros five-game home winless streak is one shy of their season mark and three short of the 1995-96 franchise record.
Scoreless streak at 159:53 - The Aeros havent tallied a goal in the last 159 minutes, 53 seconds, since Darby Hendrickson scored with 5:05 left in the second period of a 4-4 tie versus Rochester January 4. Thats the longest home scoreless streak in team history, besting the previous mark of 151 minutes, 51 seconds, set from March 1-7, 2002. Houstons longest ever scoreless streak if 185 minutes, 29 seconds, from March 19-24, 1995, when the Aeros were shut out in three straight games - the only time in franchise history that has happened.
Kettles unbeaten in five - Kyle Kettles, in his first season as an AHL netminder, picked up his first shutout at the level Friday, making 20 saves against Worcester. Unfortunately for Kettles, Reinhard Divis was equally as good for the IceCats, and the teams went home with a 0-0 tie. Kettles has started eight games this season, and has seen his team score just nine goals in those games, for an average of 1.13 goals per game. Kettles is unbeaten in his last five starts (2-0-3) with a miniscule 0.95 goals against average and a 96.1 save percentage. The 22-year-old, who had five shutouts last season for ECHL Louisiana, hasnt lost since a 3-1 decision at home to Milwaukee on December 1. Kettles has lowered his goals against average to 2.09, which ranks 13th in the AHL - third among league rookies.
Community update - The Aeros will visit Memorial Hermann Childrens Hospital today from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Two straight shutouts dont happen often - The Aeros have been blanked in two straight games for the first time since November 14 (Milwaukee) and November 15 (at Grand Rapids), 2002. Houston has been shut out in back-to-back home games for the first time since March 2 (Providence) and March 6 (Grand Rapids), 2002. Ironically, that Grand Rapids game was the last 0-0 final for the Aeros prior to Fridays tilt with Worcester. Houston, which is averaging 1.83 goals per game over its last 12 games, has slipped to 24th in the league in offense, averaging 2.28 goals per game. The defense continues to improve though - the Aeros are up to a tie for 16th in the AHL allowing 2.60 goals per game.
No more OT, please! - The Aeros are 0-3-8 in overtime this season. Their 11-game OT winless streak is one shy of the franchise record streak of 12 (0-4-8), set from December 29, 2001, to March 29, 2002. Houstons last overtime win came in their last extra session game of last season, when Hnat Domenichelli scored in San Antonio March 20 to give the Aeros a 5-4 victory. The Aeros are one of four teams without an overtime win, and they have three more extra session games than any one of the other three teams (Rochester is 0-3-5). Last season, Houston went 8-3-7 in overtime. The Aeros have eight ties this season, two shy of the 10 they had in 2001-02 in their first AHL season. Houstons 11 overtime games are tied for the fifth most in the AHL this season. Hershey leads the way with 16, going 5-3-8 in those games.
Player of the week G Kyle Kettles-
The rookie netminder picked up his first AHL shutout Friday, with 20 saves in a 0-0 tie with Worcester at Toyota Center...Kettles made six saves in the first period, eight in the second, four in the third and two in overtime...Is unbeaten in his last five starts (2-0-3), while averaging just 0.95 goals against during those games...Team has scored just nine goals in his eight starts...Has lowered his goals against average to 2.09, 13th in the AHL and third among league rookies.
Kettles this week...
1/9 vs. WOR 20-20, 1st AHL shutout
Totals - 1gp, 0-0-1, 0.00 gaa, 1.000 save pct.
Aeros Practice schedule:
Monday - 10-11:30, Sugarland
Tuesday - 10-11:30, Sugarland
Wednesday - 10-11:30, Sugarland
Thursday - 10-11:30, Sugarland
Friday - 10-11 pre-game skate, vs. SAN 7 p.m.
Saturday - at SAN 7 p.m.
Sunday - at CHI 3 p.m.