From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Monday, February 21, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Grizzlies 2, Aeros 1 (SO)Official Box Score
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah
Jamie Storr made 35 saves and stopped four of six shootout attempts, and Erik Westrum notched the deciding goal, as the Utah Grizzlies defeated the Houston Aeros 2-1 at The E Center. Fredrik Sjostrom also scored for Utah, which improved to 3-2-0-0 in its last five despite scoring exactly one regulation goal for the fourth time in as many games. The Grizzlies play host to the Aeros at 8:05 p.m. Wednesday.
Mike Smith made 29 saves against his former team and Stephane Veilleux forced overtime with a third-period goal for Houston, which moved to 55 points five behind third-place Cincinnati. The Aeros, who have played five straight one-goal games, began a five-day, seven-game road trip.
Utah led 1-0 after two, but the Aeros battled back to pick up a big point.
After the Aeros killed off a holding penalty to Brent Burns early in the third, they tied the game at 1-1 on Veilleuxs 15th goal at 5:18, the second tally of the game with an extra attacker. Giroux fed Veilleux in the neutral zone, and the fiery redhead streaked into the Utah zone and beat Storr to the far side.
Houston finished 0-for-1 on the power play, while Utah went 0-for-3. The Aeros have killed off 44-of-46 shorthanded chances over their last 12 games.
Midway through the third, Aaron Gavey took a slash at Smith after he covered up, and a small scrum ensued. However, the Grizzlies ended up with a power play due to roughing minors on Houstons Kyle Wanvig and Dan Cavanaugh, and only one to Westrum.
The Aeros killed off that penalty and their defense took over, allowing only seven shots in the third. Houston is tied for the AHL lead with only 35 third-period goals allowed.
Smith helped the cause, stopping Terry Virtue on a 3-on-1 with less than a minute left in regulation.
Houston outshot Utah 2-1 in overtime, but neither team could beat the opposing goalie.
In the shootout, Aeros captain Kirby Law led off with a slapshot by Storr, and Westrums shot went wide. Pierre-Marc Bouchard went in round two for Houston, but Storr turned him aside and Gavey scored to even things up.
Mikko Koivu deked Storr down and went backhand in round three for Houston, and Smith poke-checked Sjostroms attempt. In round four, Storr gloved Veilleuxs attempt, and Kiel McLeod beat Smith.
Storr stoned Mark Cullen in round five, and Smith covered up defenseman David Cornacchias low attempt.
Storr, a veteran of more than 200 NHL games, stopped Laws finesse move in sudden death round six, and Westrum fired a slapshot by Smith to give Utah the victory.
Houston fell to 4-3 in shootouts, while Smith drops to 3-2. Utah is 6-3 in the shootout, as six of its 15 wins have come in the new post-overtime session.
The first period saw no penalties, amazing considering the last two meetings between these teams have had a combined 342 penalty minutes.
Gavey just pushed a shot wide six minutes in, with Smith recovering and the empty open.
The Aeros were outshot in the opening period (13-9) for just the second time since January 9.
The teams gathered in a brief shoving match after the first-period buzzer, but no penalties were called.
Four minutes into the second, Matt Foys redirection attempt was swallowed up by Storr. A minute later, Storr gloved away Wanvigs top-shelf attempt from alone in the low slot after a Utah turnover.
It took 25:39 for the games first penalty, as Utahs Matthew Spiller was called for holding Wanvig. But Storr stopped both shots sent his way on the advantage.
Utah broke through at the 9:42 mark, with Storr off with a delayed penalty upcoming to Bouchard. Sjostrom went coast-to-coast, unleashing a snapshot from just inside the blueline that eluded Smiths blocker. Sjostroms goal was his ninth of the season and first since December 22.
Sjostroms goal marked the sixth straight game in which Houston has allowed the first goal.
Houstons Rickard Wallin had a partial breakaway with two minutes left in the second. He was taken out by Joe Callahan as Storr made the save, but there was no penalty called.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Joey Tetarenko, Erik Reitz, Junior Lessard, David Bararuk, Marius Holtet and Christoph Brandner. Holtet stayed behind due to a minor concussion suffered when Chicagos Kyle Rossiter hit him with an elbow in open ice Saturday.
Cavanaugh returned after missing nine games and 11 of 12 due to injury.
The Aeros have failed to score a first-period goal in nine of their last 11 games.
In addition to Smith, Bararuk and John Erskine are former Grizzlies.
Houston recalled Bill Kinkel from ECHL Pensacola prior to the game. Kinkel had four points (3-1=4) and 131 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Ice Pilots, who own the ECHLs best record.
Veilleux hadnt scored a goal in his last 10 games since January 25.
Marc Cavosie, who returned Saturday from a nine-game injury absence, also assisted on Veilleuxs goal. It was his first helper since December 23 against San Antonio.
Giroux has three assists in his last four games and six points (1-5=6) in his last seven games.
Veilleux also had 15 goals last season 13 with Houston and two with the Minnesota Wild.
The defensive battle was unusual for this series, which has seen at least one team score at least five goals in each of the prior five meetings all at Toyota Center.
Storr, obtained on loan from Springfield two weeks ago, improved to 3-1-0 with a 1.48 gaa since coming to the Grizzlies. He was just 8-20-2 with a 3.22 gaa with the Falcons.