Houston Aeros (6-2-1-0) at
Printable Game Notes
Milwaukee Admirals (0-3-0-1), 7 p.m.
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Aeros.com will also have updates throughout the game.
Five things you need to know
Since dropping a 3-2 decision at San Antonio 10/8, the Aeros have reeled off four consecutive road victories. It’s the first time they’ve won four straight games away from home since a five-game streak from 10/18-10/24/02 - early in the Calder Cup championship season. A victory tonight would match Houston’s second-longest road winning streak in team history. Five straight road wins has been accomplished four other times. The franchise record is a nine-game run from 11/22-12/31/96.
A victory tonight would give the Aeros (6-2-1-0) seven wins in their first 10 games for just the third time in team history. Houston went 9-1-0 to begin its Calder Cup championship season in 2002-03, and it was 7-2-1 in its Turner Cup title season of 1998-99. The Aeros had their streak of getting at least one point snapped at six games (5-0-1-0) Tuesday, when they were beaten 5-1 at home by Chicago. It was Houston’s first regulation loss since a 3-2 decision at San Antonio, 10/8.
Despite being held off the scoresheet in each of the last two games, Aeros C Erik Westrum is in a four-way tie for the AHL’s scoring lead with 15 points (4-11=15). RW Kirby Law’s 12 points (6-6=12) tie him for sixth in the AHL. D Kurtis Foster (3-7=10) and D Curtis Murphy (0-9=9) rank third and fourth in the league in defensemen scoring, respectively. All told, the Aeros have five of the league’s top 20 scorers. LW Roman Voloshenko (7-2=9) is tied for the AHL’s rookie scoring lead, and his seven goals are tied for second among all players. The all-time record for goals by an Aeros rookie is 32, set by Cory Larose in 2001-02.
Thanks in large part to netminder Brian Finley (who hasn’t played since Opening Night due to injury), the Aeros have been blanked in each of the last two meetings versus Milwaukee, both at Bradley Center, and they haven’t scored a goal there or overall in the series in the last 129:31 since a 2-1 OTL at Milwaukee. After beating the Ads 5-2 in the first Milwaukee meeting last season on 11/13/04, Houston has been outscored 12-1 in four games at Bradley Center.
Tonight, the Aeros kick off a grueling stretch of 10 games in 17 nights. Fortunately for Houston, six of those games are in the friendly confines of Toyota Center immediately following this three-game road trip that continues tomorrow in Grand Rapids and finishes Sunday in Peoria.
Aeros at Admirals (Aeros are 29-33-7-1 all-time, Aeros are 13-18-2-0 at Milwaukee)
The teams meet for the 71st time tonight - 34th meeting in Milwaukee.
Brian Finley is 15-6-1 with a 2.10 gaa versus Houston, including a 14-4-0 mark in the last two seasons. Finley’s 15 wins over the Aeros are four more than any other goalie and six more than any active goalie, and his gaa trails only Jason LaBarbera (1.81) among active netminders (minimum five decisions). Finley is the only goalie ever to shut out the Aeros three times in one season, and his four overall shutouts against Houston are the most of any goalie.
Milwaukee is the only active AHL team that the Aeros have an overall losing record against.
After a 1-7-1-1 mark against Milwaukee in 2003-04, the Aeros were 3-6-1-0 against the Ads last season. Five of the 10 meetings ended in a shutout.
The Aeros are 3-13-2-0 in the last 18 meetings since a 5-1 win 10/17/03.
Despite going 2-6-2-0 in the last 10 meetings in Milwaukee, the Aeros are 12-8-2-0 in their last 22 trips to Bradley Center after a 1-10-1-0 start there.
Since beating Milwaukee 7-0 at Toyota Center 1/11/05, the Aeros are 1-4-1-0 against the Admirals, getting outscored 18-7.
Milwaukee shut out Houston three times in 2004-05, joining Grand Rapids (2002-03) as the only teams to accomplish that feat in one season.
Houston was also shut out in two straight games at Bradley Center 3/22-3/24/95. The Ads, Grand Rapids and Hartford are the only teams to blank the Aeros two straight times at home.
The Aeros have been blanked in three straight games with a single team just once in team history. Hartford turned the trick 11/29/03-11/1/04.
Scouting the Aeros
The Aeros are off to a 6-2-1-0 start, and their 13 points are the second most in the AHL...Only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (7-0-0-0) has more points and a better winning percentage...C Erik Westrum has 15 points (4-11=15) to tie for the AHL lead in scoring...RW Kirby Law is tied for sixth in the league with 12 points (6-6=12)...D Kurtis Foster has 10 points (3-7=10), while counterpart D Curtis Murphy has nine (0-9=9)...G Josh Harding is 5-3-0 with a 3.16 gaa but left Tuesday’s game due to injury...G Miroslav Kopriva won his North American debut 10/20, making 29 saves plus four-of-six in the shootout in a 4-3 win at Omaha...G Seamus Kotyk was recalled from ECHL Augusta Wednesday to replace Harding.
Scouting the Admirals
Milwaukee, AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, is 0-3-0-1 and joins Binghamton as the league’s only winless teams...The Ads lost 3-2 to Iowa in a shootout in their most recent game, one week ago...RW Scottie Upshall leads Milwaukee in scoring with four points (1-3=4)...RW Brandon Segal has a team-best three goals...Finnish G Pekka Rinne relieved Brian Finley in the first game and has gone 0-3-1 with a 2.45 gaa and a .922 save pct...The Ads were shut out in Rinne’s best game, a 1-0 loss to Manitoba 10/14...Finley hasn’t played since but is close to returning.
2005-06 meetings (1st of 8 meetings)
Tonight Houston at Milwaukee
November 25 Milwaukee at Houston
November 27 Milwaukee at Houston
February 4 Milwaukee at Houston
February 7 Milwaukee at Houston
February 25 Houston at Milwaukee
February 26 Houston at Milwaukee
March 17 Houston at Milwaukee
The Aeros have scored in 20 of 27 regulation periods through nine games, but they have scored only one goal in each of their last two games.
The Admirals rank 27th and last in the AHL in scoring at 1.75 gpg. Houston, meanwhile, is tied for sixth at 3.75 gpg.
Aeros looking for some finish
Houston has allowed 12 goals in the third, second most in the AHL, but it has scored 10 - just two off the AHL lead. One of the reasons Houston has had trouble defensively in the third period is the shot total. The Aeros have been outshot 129-79 in the third period. No other team has allowed more than 85 third-period shots.
Just how much is Aeros D Curtis Murphy enjoying his return to Houston? Entering this season, Murphy had one career three-assist game, but he’s had two in the last two weeks. He’s tied for eighth on the Aeros’ all-time assist list with Stephane Veilleux, just two behind Mark Cullen for seventh. Murphy is tied for 16th with Rickard Wallin in team history in points with 110. Kyle Wanvig is 15th at 113.
Power play update
Houston ranks fifth in the league on the power play at 22.5 percent, but the Aeros are just 1-for-15 (6.7 percent) since scoring a season-high four PPG vs. Grand Rapids 10/21.
The Aeros have at least one PPG in each of their five road games, and they are 8-for-36 (22.2 percent) with the man advantage away from Toyota Center.
The Admirals are 24th on the penalty kill at 76.7 percent, but in their lone home game, the Ads killed off all seven chances.
Penalty kill update
Houston ranks 16th in the league on the penalty kill at 83.7 percent, and it has yielded at least one man advantage goal in each of its nine games this season.
The Aeros are an improved 33-for-37 (89.2 percent) on the PK in their last four games.
Houston has gone shorthanded 86 times in nine games. No other team has been shorthanded more than 72 times. The Aeros have an AHL-high 96 minor penalties - 17 more than any other team.
Milwaukee ranks 24th in the league on the power play at 9.4 percent, but at home the Admirals haven’t scored a PPG yet (0-for-9 in one game).
Last Game (Tuesday)
Brian Maloney scored two goals and Scott Barney added a goal and an assist, as the Chicago Wolves defeated the Houston Aeros 5-1 at Toyota Center. Ramzi Abid and Kevin Doell also scored and Steve Shields turned aside 19 shots for the Wolves. Peter Olvecky scored and Josh Harding made 17 saves before leaving due to injury for the Aeros.
Wild roster has 11 former Aeros, including eight from 2004-05
The Minnesota Wild opened up the season with 25 total players on the roster, counting injured reserve. Eleven of those played for the Aeros at one point in their careers, and eight in 2004-05 alone.
Counting Dallas’ John Erskine and Phoenix’ Zbynek Michalek, 10 players off last season’s team began the season in the NHL.
Other notable Aeros opening up the season in the NHL are Robert Lang (Detroit) and Jeff Hoggan (St. Louis), a member of the Aeros’ 2002-03 Calder Cup winning team.
Milwaukee’s Chris Bala played 61 games for Houston in 2003-04, totaling 18 points (11-7=18) before Minnesota traded him to Colorado for Jordan Krestanovich.
Houston defenseman Erik Reitz played two seasons (1999-2001) with Milwaukee goalie Brian Finley at OHL Barrie.
Aeros centerman Patrick O’Sullivan played junior hockey with Milwaukee’s T.J. Reynolds in 2001-02 in Mississauga.
Houston goalie Seamus Kotyk went 10-6-1 with a 2.95 gaa in 23 games with Milwaukee in 2004-05.