From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, April 8, 2005
713.361.7930 (Direct Line) Ducks 3, Aeros 0Official Box Score
Joffrey Lupul scored his 12th goal in nine games and Frederic Cassivi made 25 saves for his eighth shutout, as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks moved into a tie for third place with a 3-0 victory over the Houston Aeros at Cincinnati Gardens. Chris Kunitz and Casey Hankinson also scored for Cincinnati, which along with Houston has 85 points. The Ducks have played 75 games to Houstons 76, and both teams lead fifth-place Grand Rapids by three points. The Griffins are in action tonight in Utah
. The top four teams in the West Division make the playoffs.
Mike Smith made 36 saves for Houston, which fell to 6-2-0-1 in its last nine. The Aeros established a new team record by getting shut out for the 10th time, including in each of their last three regulation losses and in five of six. Houston has scored 41 goals in its last eight wins, but five in its last nine losses (0-7-0-2). Smith has received zero goals of support in his last three regulation losses.
The Aeros have split the first four games of a five-game, six-day road trip that wraps up Saturday in San Antonio at 7 p.m. Houston returns home for a Sunday Family Day matchup against the Rampage at 5:05 p.m.
Houston is 0-3-2-0 in its last five trips to Cincinnati and 2-7-4-0 in the last 13 meetings overall, including the 2004 West Division Qualifying Round.
Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead after one, although it could have been worse if not for Smiths 16 stops. The Ducks came out flying and outshot Houston 17-6 in the first.
Lupuls team-best 28th goal put Cincinnati up at the 10:59 mark of the opening period. Smith poke checked the puck away from Lupul originally, but lost his stick. Seconds later, Lupul crashed the net in a pile and slid the puck by the prone netminder.
Houston has now allowed the games first goal in each of the last three games.
Lupul tried for goal No. 2 early in the second with Cincinnati on a 4-on-3 power play, but Smith slid from post-to-post to make a sparkling save.
Seconds after Cassivi stopped Matt Foy from inside the right circle, Kunitz scored his second in three games and 20th of the season, at 7:56 of the second. Shane OBrien sent Kunitz on a breakaway at the blueline, and Kunitz got the puck by Smith.
Cassivi smothered Rickard Wallins backhanded rebound of a Todd Reirden shot with 5:04 left in the second.
The Ducks Stanislav Chistov went for hooking late in the second, but Houston couldnt capitalize.
Houston got another man advantage leading off the third period, but the Ducks didnt even allow a shot until the end of the power play.
Cincinnati made the Aeros pay for not capitalizing, as Kurtis Fosters shot was deflected by Ducks captain Casey Hankinson in front and into the back of the net with 3:20 gone.
The Aeros got 11 shots in the third three fewer than in the first 40 minutes but Cassivi was perfect.
Houston went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Cincinnati finished 0-for-2.
The Aeros scratched Chris Heid, Joey Tetarenko, Erik Reitz, Mark Cullen, Marc Cavosie, Ryan Stokes, Stephane Veilleux, Christoph Brandner, Derek Boogaard and John Erskine.
Reirden returned after missing 14 games due to injury. He last played March 10 in Milwaukee.
The Aeros have allowed 15 third-period goals in their last 11 games after yielding only 41 in their first 65 games.
The Aeros were blanked nine times in 1999-2000.
Houston was trying to win its first set of back-to-back road games since November 19-23, when it won three straight. The Aeros havent won a road game against a team with a winning record since before the All-Star break on February 12, when they rallied from three goals down for a 5-4 shootout win in Chicago. The last regulation win against a team with a plus .500 mark was New Years Eve against Norfolk, 3-1.
Cincinnati improved to 25-10-0-2 at home.