From: Robert Desimone
, Communications Manager
, Asst. Communications Manager
January 8, 2010
HOUSTON HOSTS ROCKFORD SUNDAY FOR CHILLYPALOOZA
HOUSTON - D Maxim Noreau had his fifth multi-point game of the season and LW Matt Kassian scored his first goal of the season as the Houston Aeros (19-15-5-1) scored three goals in the third period to defeat the Rockford IceHogs (20-17-2-2) Friday night, 5-3 in front of 4,504 at Toyota Center. D Jamie Fraser, C Chad Rau, RW Jon DiSalvatore and LW Petr Kalus also scored for the Aeros and G Wade Dubielewicz (8-7-0) made a season-high 34 saves in the win. RW Jack Skille, LW Bryan Bickell and LW Rob Klinkhammer each scored for Rockford while G Corey Crawford (5-8-1) made 25 saves in the loss. The game is the first of four consecutive contests against the IceHogs for Houston.
"We knew we’d have our hands full and it didn’t help either that we lost [Jaime] Sifers and [Ryan] Lannon," said Head Coach Kevin Constantine "We just kind of survived the second and managed to hang in there, regroup, and had some key penalty kills. I think they outplayed us a little bit but we hung in there to win the game."
The Aeros entered the game with just 20 goals in the opening frame, second worst in the AHL, but they had no problems lighting the lamp early against Rockford. The Aeros scored first when Fraser sent a left point bid on net where RW Duncan Milroy was shielding Crawford at the top of the crease. The puck found the twine and the Aeros lead was 1-0 at 10:57. LW Colton Gillies and Milroy were each credited with the assists, extending Milroy’s point streak (1-2=3) to three-games.
At the 3:38 mark of the second stanza Skille would get an opportunity to tie the game after he was dragged down on his way to the net resulting in a penalty shot. Skille deked right and went backhand, but his shot missed high and the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Aeros. The IceHogs tied the game, however, at 9:20 when Skille, camped out at the right post, redirected a slap pass from the left point off the stick of D Brian Connelly. Rau then answered late in the period for Houston. Daoust cut into the high slot, whirled and fired a shot that deflected off Rau and past Crawford at 17:34 for his 10th of the year.
Rockford battled back to tie the game 5:17 into the third. Bickell squeezed a wrister through traffic to beat Dubielewciz top shelf for a power play goal. But with C Evan Brophey in the box for Rockford, DiSalvatore tallied his eighth power play marker to retake the lead for Houston. The goal opened the floodgates as the Aeros added goals from Kalus and Kassian to increase their lead to three. Kalus broke in alone and beat Crawford stick-side at 12:00 for his sixth of the season. At 15:16 Kassian sent a centering pass that deflected off a Rockford stick and over the shoulder of Crawford. Kinkhammer's goal, his sixth of the year, was scored at 19:23 for the IceHogs.
Rockford outshot the Aeros for the second time in as many contests 37-30. Each team netted a power play goal with the Aeros going 1-for-4 on the man advantage and Rockford going 1-for-3. The Aeros improved to 15-3-2-1 when scoring first.
"Both teams have been dead even for about two weeks in the standings, always hovering one, two, three, four games over 500 somewhere in that range," Constantine said. "They both might make the playoffs, but maybe only one of the two teams will make the playoffs of the two. It’s kind of just a mini-playoff series [playing four consecutive games], but I don’t mind that I think it’s kind of fun, a little mini-playoff series right in the middle of the season."
The Aeros finish off the home-stand Sunday vs. Rockford, 4:05 PM at Toyota Center. Sunday is Chillypalooza as the Aeros celebrate Chilly's birthday where the first 3,000 fans will receive an aluminum lunch kit. The teams then travel to Rockford for back-to-back games Wednesday and Friday at the Rockford Metro Centre. Watch the games live on ahllive.com or listen on 1070 AM-KNTH. Follow the interactive in-game blog at aeros.com
Joe O'Donnell Calls of the Game:
Dubielewicz Stops Penalty Shot
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