Aeros 5, Rivermen 1
Sunday, 01.22.2006 / 1:15 PM / News
|Aeros 5, Rivermen 1
Official Box Score
HOUSTON, Texas - Roman Voloshenko notched two goals and an assist, Kirby Law tallied a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to a team-record-tying 15 games and Erik Westrum supplied four helpers to tie a career-high, as the Houston Aeros defeated the Peoria Rivermen 5-1 at Toyota Center in front of a season-high crowd of 7,752 on Girl Scout Night. Miroslav Kopriva made 35 saves and rookies Patrick O’Sullivan and Clayton Stoner each netted a goal for Houston, which has won 13 of 15 and kept its West Division lead at four points over Milwaukee, a 6-4 victor in Chicago tonight. The Aeros have won their last three games by a combined 14-3 margin.
Houston, two games into a grueling stretch of seven games in nine nights in four cities, travels to Chicago on Sunday for a 4 p.m. game to kick off a four-game road trip. It’s the Aeros’ first game outside the state of Texas since December 11.
The Aeros return home Saturday, Jan. 28 on Boy Scout Night against Chicago at 7:35 p.m. The Aeros will honor Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player Vince Young with a ceremonial puck drop.
Lee Stempniak scored and Patrick Lalime made 16 stops before being pulled for Peoria, which had won four in a row. Reinhard Divis stopped five shots in relief.
Law has tied the Aeros’ franchise record with a 15-game point streak (13-17=30), which is also a new career-high. Brian Wiseman also accomplished the feat from December 27, 1998-January 30, 1999.
Westrum, who also had four assists on Opening Night in a 6-5 win over San Antonio, has 65 points (20-45=65), two ahead of Law (27-36=63) for the AHL’s points lead.
The Aeros have faced Lalime twice, and fellow former NHL All-Star Chris Osgood once. The goalies are a combined 0-3-0 with a 6.62 gaa versus the Aeros. Lalime is 0-2-0 with a 7.00 gaa versus the Aeros this season.
Peoria had four shots on a power play midway through the first, but Kopriva - making his first appearance with the Aeros since October 28 - and the penalty killers were up to task. He gloved a Jeff Woywitka left point blast to secure the end of the kill.
Houston got its first power pay 12:09 into the first, and nine seconds later the Aeros capitalized, getting Voloshenko’s 22nd of the season. Curtis Murphy kept the puck in at the left point and slid a shot purposefully wide of the net to a cutting Voloshenko, who was all alone in the left circle and tipped it by Lalime.
The Aeros have outscored their opponents 8-1 in the first period over their last three games, and 17-6 in the last eight.
Lalime prevented the same power play goal early in the second, when Murphy slid a feed to Murray in the left circle. But the goalie kicked the redirection out.
Stoner scored a 4-on-4 goal 5:19 into the second, the rookie’s fifth goal of the season, to extend the advantage to 2-0. Westrum, flying up the left wing side, fired a cross-ice pass ahead of Law. Law picked up the puck in the corner and slid it to a cutting Stoner in the mid slot, and the defenseman ripped a top shelf shot by Lalime.
Voloshenko’s second of the night and 23rd of the season put Houston up 3-0 at 8:04 of the second. Westrum, behind his own net, hit Law in stride breaking out of the defensive zone. Law and Voloshenko skated in 2-on-1 on Lalime, and Law hit Voloshenko in stride on the right side. Voloshenko went top shelf on Lalime.
O’Sullivan’s third goal in the last two games extended the lead to 4-0 with 5:43 remaining in the middle period. Erik Reitz, at his own blueline, sprung the speedy rookie up the middle. O’Sullivan put a low shot by Lalime, despite Woywitka hanging all over him. A penalty was coming - and possibly a penalty shot - had O’Sullivan not converted. That ended Lalime’s night after 16 saves.
Stempniak followed a Trent Whitfield shot with 4:05 left in the second to get Peoria on the board and within 4-1.
Law’s team-best 27th of the season put the lead back at four with 39 seconds left in the middle period. He intercepted a pass at center ice and fed Westrum on the right wing. Westrum, leading a 3-on-1, passed to a cutting Law at the left doorstep, and the waiting Aeros captain put the puck by a beaten Reinhard Divis.
The Aeros have outscored their opponents 8-2 in the second period in their last six games.
Houston played a safe, simple game in the third period to close out the victory.
Houston finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Peoria went 0-for-4.
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