The Houston Aeros enter the week of Jan. 17, 2011, challenging for the No. 1 spot in the AHL’s West Division and Western Conference. In a race that seems to change daily, Houston holds the No. 3 positions in both the division and conference thanks to earning wins in five of their last six outings and standings points in five-straight.This weekend, the Aeros face another 3-in-3 run, their eighth of 13 this season, starting at home vs. the Texas Stars on Friday.
AEROS AT A GLANCE
RECORD: 24-18-1-3, 53 pts.
STANDING: 3rd, West Division
STREAK: POINTS IN 5 (4-0-0-1)
PP: 16.5% (16th)................PK: 85.2% (8th)
PPG: 34...........................................SHG: 4
AEROS LEADERS: LW Robbie Earl leads in points (29) and goals (12)...Maxim Noreau leads the team in assists (20)...Cody Almond leads the team in PPG (7)...Colton Gillies leads the team in SHG (2)...Matt Kassian is the team PIM leader (100).
AEROS GOALIES: Josh Tordjman is 2-0-0 in three appearences since being recalled from Bakersfield (ECHL). He has posted a 1.92 GAA and .924 SV%. in wins at CHI on Jan. 14 (4-3) and vs. GR on Jan. 15 (2-1)...Matt Hackett is 2-0-1 in his last three decisions. Hackett backed up Anton Khudobin in Minnesota on Jan. 15.
LAST GAME QUICK LOOK: The Grand Rapids Griffins battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 shootout win, but earning a point in extra time was enough to launch the Houston Aeros into sole possession of third place in the AHL’s West Division race. Robbie Earl and Patrick O’Sullivan scored for the Aeros in the Sunday afternoon matchup before 5,486 at Toyota Center. Thanks to a 5-2 San Antonio loss at Chicago, the Aeros inched a point ahead of the Rampage in the West Division standings. Houston, which has won four of five overall and five of their last six at home, now sits two points behind the first-place Milwaukee Admirals.
AEROS TIDBITS: Prior to a 3-2 SOL vs. GR on Jan. 16, the Aeros had won five straight shootouts dating back to Nov. 27 and were 4-0 at home…Houston wrapped up a four-game-in-five-day run on Jan. 16 and posted a 3-0-0-1 record over the stretch…The Aeros are unbeaten in regulation at home (5-0-0-1) since Dec. 26...The Aeros scored the first goal for the 29th time this season, an AHL-high...Jon DiSalvatore has points in three straight, tying a personal season-high streak…DiSalvatore’s 31st point this season will be his 400th as a pro. He needs six points to get there…J.M. Daoust needs four games to reach the 400-pro mark…Robbie Earl has points (3-7-10) in eight of his last 11 outings...Along with the Chicago Wolves, the Aeros have played the most games in the AHL so far this season (46).
AEROS ROSTER MOVES
C Cody Almond was recalled by MIN on Jan. 17...G David Brown was released from his PTO on Jan. 15…G Matt Hackett was reassigned by MIN on Jan. 15…C Patrick O’Sullivan was reassigned by MIN on Jan. 14…D Jarod Spurgeon and G Matt Hackett were recalled by MIN on Jan. 14.
ALL-TIME AEROS RECORD: 9-8-1-0 (5-4-0-0 at home, 4-4-1-0 at Texas)
SEASON RECORD: 5-1-0-0 (3-0-0-0 at home, 2-1-0-0 at Texas)
Texas enters the week 23-14-2-2 (50 pts.) and sits in fifth place in the West Division...The Aeros have earned 11 of a possible 12 points vs. the Stars this season...Houston has won the last two games in extra time. Cody Almond had the winners in both games, a 4-3 OTW at TEX on Dec. 4 and a 4-3 SOW at home on Dec. 26...Houston’s PP is 7-for-28 (25%) vs. TEX while the Stars are 5-for-31 (16.1%)...The teams play 12 total times this season and meet again on Feb. 4 at HOU.
LAKE ERIE MONSTERS
ALL-TIME AEROS RECORD: 9-6-0-0 (5-3-0-0 at home, 4-3-0-0 at LE)
SEASON RECORD: 1-2-0-0 (1-1-0-0 at home, 0-1-0-0 at LE)
The Monsters are 19-19-3-4 (45 pts.), good for fourth place in the North Division...The teams have alternated wins this season...HOU’s Matt Hackett made 25 saves for his first pro shutout on Jan. 7...HOU’s PP is 1-for-8 (12.5%) while LE is 1-for-13 (7.7%)...This is the final meeting of the season.
ALL-TIME AEROS RECORD: 23-17-2-0 (11-6-2-0 at home, 11-12-0-0 at Toronto)
SEASON RECORD: 1-0-0-0 (1-0-0-0 at home, 0-0-0-0 at Toronto)
Toronto enters the week with a 20-16-0-7 record, good for third place in the North Division...The Aeros PP is 1-for-6 against the Marlies while TOR is 0-for-8...This is the second of two meetings.
WHAT THE BIG CLUB’S UP TO
Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for his first NHL shutout and Andrew Brunette, Martin Havlat, Matt Cullen and John Madden scored goals as the Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Sunday...The Wild is three points out of a playoff spot in the West Division with a 22-18-5 record...The Wild visits Edmonton on Tuesday, Calgary on Wednesday and San Jose on Saturday.
MR. HOCKEY VISITS HOUSTON
Gordie Howe will visit the Aeros on Fri., Jan. 21. The team is presenting fans with the chance to meet the legendary “Mr. Hockey.” Call 713-974-7825 for details on the meet-and-greet with Howe.
WATCH PARTY AT MAPLE LEAF PUB
Come to the Maple Leaf Pub (Elgin and Smith, Houston) to watch as the Aeros battle the Lake Erie Monsters on the road this Saturday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. Drink specials, prizes and more.