From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Aeros 4, Ducks 1Official Box Score
Rookie Bill Kinkel, a 6-foot-5, 239-pound winger recalled from ECHL Pensacola earlier today and appearing in his fourth career AHL game, got a hat trick as the Houston Aeros took over sole possession of third place in the West Division with a 4-1 victory over the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks at Toyota Center. Josh Harding made 34 saves to snap a four-game winless streak, Kirby Law tacked on an empty-net tally and Mikko Koivu added two assists for Houston.
The Aeros, who havent been in third place alone since December 4, moved to 79 points two clear of Cincinnati and Grand Rapids. Both the Ducks and Griffins have a game in hand on Houston, which has nine games remaining.
The Aeros are 3-0-0-1 on a five-game homestand that wraps up Saturday at 7:35 p.m. against San Antonio. The first 3,000 fans will receive Aeros baseballs, and former Houston Astros All-Stars Kevin Bass and Terry Puhl will attend the game. That contest begins a stretch of seven games in nine nights for the Aeros.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18 shots, including a Pierre-Marc Bouchard penalty shot, and Joffrey Lupul scored for Cincinnati, which fell to 5-3-0-1 in its last nine and 10-5-0-1 in its last 16.
The story of the night was Kinkel, a summer AHL free agent signee who had racked up 19 penalty minutes in his previous three games with the Aeros. The 21-year-old had three goals, an assist and 166 PIMs in 29 games with the Ice Pilots, after compiling 51 points (23-28=51) and 390 penalty minutes in 184 junior games over three OHL seasons. He picked up Houstons first rookie hat trick since Mark Cullen accomplished the feat December 26, 2002, in San Antonio.
Cincinnati outshot Houston 11-4 in the first period, despite the Aeros getting two power plays in the opening five minutes, but Harding was outstanding.
On Houstons second man advantage, Bryzgalov closed the pads on Bouchards attempt from the low slot.
Cincinnatis best chance of the opening period came with 6:10 left, when Curtis Glencross split defenders and got in on Harding. But the rookie netminder deflected the shot wide with his glove, his 10th save of the first.
With 3:30 remaining in the first, the Ducks Pierre Parenteau pushed a 2-on-1 attempt wide right.
The Aeros got on the board with only 3.3 seconds left, as Kinkel who landed in Houston just before 2 p.m. today lit the AHL lamp for the first time. David Bararuk, who has spent most of the season with ECHL Louisiana, slid a pass from out of the corner with time winding down, and Kinkel found himself at the perfect spot to put the puck in the net.
Houston has scored first in three straight games for the first time this season.
Lupuls team-best 21st evened things up for Cincinnati at 8:12 of the second. Zenon Konopka fed Lupul at the blueline on the right wing, and he stepped through two Aeros and got a shot off. Harding made the original save, but Lupul stayed with the play and slid the puck by the netminder at an odd angle from the low right circle.
Bryzgalov stopped Bouchard on a penalty shot with 9:30 remaining in the second. The diminutive Bouchard walked in through the right circle, deked and got a shot off, but Bryzgalov got his pad back over to make the save.
Kinkel just missed a second goal with 3:30 left in the middle period, redirecting a Ray Giroux point blast just wide. He got his revenge 25 seconds later, as he positioned himself in front of the net and tipped a Giroux shot up and over Bryzgalov for his second of the night.
Cincinnatis leading penalty getter, Shane OBrien, ran Harding deep into his own net as time expired in the second, but Harding went off on his own power after he was slow to get up. OBrien got a charging major and game misconduct.
Just 24 seconds after that man advantage expired, Cincinnatis Mark Popovic got called for slashing. Kinkel finished off the hat trick on that power play, getting a Koivu feed past Bryzgalov.
Harding slid post-to-post to rob Lupul of his second, with 6:47 remaining. The Aeros goalie found himself at the bottom of a pile with 3:17 left.
With the Ducks bearing down on a 2-on-1 with 1:41 left, Harding stoned Michael Holmqvist.
Cincinnati pulled Bryzgalov with 1:45 left, but Law stole the puck at center ice and fired an 80-foot shot into the empty net with 60 seconds remaining.
Houston finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Cincinnati went 0-for-3. The Ducks had scored five power play goals in the last three meetings.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Joey Tetarenko, Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Junior Lessard, Stephane Veilleux, Todd Reirden, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard and John Erskine.
Aeros defenseman Patrick Traverse returned after missing four games due to injury, and was a plus-two.
Houston improved to 22-4-2-1 when scoring first.
The Aeros avenged their only loss of the last nine home games (7-1-0-1), a 3-0 shutout by Cincinnati on March 14.
Houston won for just the second time in the last 12 meetings, counting the post-season (2-6-4-0).
Koivus first assist, on Kinkels second goal, was his 100th pro point.
Bryzgalov lost for the first time in his last nine decisions (5-1-3) against the Aeros, including the playoffs.