AEROS WEEKLY REPORT
THU, vs. HAM, 7:05 p.m.
Bring out the Boys Night/Happy Hour
Get a $28 center ice ticket, $10 in Toyota Bucks and free parking, all for just $30! That’s a $45 value! Ladies – don’t think this package is just for the men! Log on to www.aeros.com/themenights to order! Username is Happy, password is Hour. Or, call 713.974.PUCK to order. Special offer not available at the Toyota Center Box Office.
Hamilton makes its first-ever regular season trip to Houston, but the Aeros claimed the 2003 Calder Cup title over the Bulldogs, winning in seven games. Houston won two of the three home games in that series, winning Games 3 and 4. The Bulldogs are flying high, having won four straight and seven of eight. However, a 19-31-0-3 start put Hamilton behind the eight ball. Despite their recent run, Hamilton (26-32-0-3) has 55 points, 11 out of the final playoff spot in the North Division with just 19 games remaining. Five of the Bulldogs’ top nine scorers are rookies, led by C Marc-Antoine Pouliot (15-28=43). Hamilton is without leading goalie Yann Danis (14-14-2, 2.88 gaa), who is in Montreal for most likely the rest of the season after an injury to Jose Theodore. Danis backstopped Hamilton to a 7-1 home rout of the Aeros on December 10. The Bulldogs are in San Antonio Tuesday before traveling to Houston.
SAT, vs. HAR, 7:35 p.m.
Trucker Hats (3K)
Wildcat Golf Club Night (Enter to win free rounds of golf, and there will also be golf activities on the concourse!)
Hartford is one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, with three straight wins, seven in its last eight games and a stunning 10-1-0-1 mark in the last 12 games. Included in that run was a 4-3 home win over the Aeros on February 11. The Pack (34-14-2-6) has 76 points – six behind first-place Portland in the Atlantic Division. The Aeros are 5-4-0-2 all-time against Hartford, including a 2-1-0-1 home mark. This game marks Houston’s last game against a non West Division opponent this season. Each of the Aeros’ final 20 games is against the West Division.
SUN, at SAN 4 p.m.
The Aeros are 7-1-0-0 this season against the last-place Rampage, including six straight victories. Houston has outscored San Antonio 35-20 overall this season, and in the last six games, the Aeros have 11 power play goals compared to just one for the Rampage. The Aeros have won six straight meetings and 12 of 13. Houston is 16-1-1-0 in the last 18 games against San Antonio. At SBC Center, the Aeros have a 12-4-4-2 lifetime mark, including 3-1-0-0 this season. Houston is 7-1-1-0 in its last nine trips to San Antonio. The Rampage enters the week with a league-worst 17-35-1-4 record for 39 points, although it has won two of its last four games – both via shootout. Each of the Rampage’s last three wins has come in the shootout. San Antonio last won a game in regulation back on January 27, 3-2 against Chicago. This will mark game five of a 10-game homestand that comes on the heels of a 10-game road trip.
All Aeros games are broadcast live on KNTH 1070-AM and through aeros.com. For $6, you can also watch the game live via B2 Networks. Visit aeros.com 10 minutes prior to gametime to order.
Egg auction online – Monday, November 21, your Houston Aeros players spent the afternoon at Mad Potter in Sugar Land, creating their own hand-painted ceramic spring eggs for Houston Aeros Charities. Click here to access the auction, which runs through March 17 at 12:01 p.m. Beginning bid is $100, and bid increments are $15.
In other Houston Aeros Charities news… – Houston Aeros Charities would like to tell fans that Golden Puck and Chuck a Puck will take place at each of the first four games in March (March 2, 4, 7 and 9). The March 2 game also kicks off the Aeros’ Third Jersey Auction. Also, the Celebrity Waiter Dinner is set for March 21. It’s not too late to book a table or sponsorship!
Player of the Week G Josh Harding
2/23 vs. IOW 35-38, W
2/25 at MIL 40-40, W
Totals 2gp, 2-0-0, 1.50 gaa, .962 pct.
Posted two wins in as many starts last week, with a 1.50 gaa and a .962 save pct…Didn’t allow an even-strength goal… Made 35 saves in 4-3 win over IOW Thursday, allowing three power play goals…Stopped a Mathias Tjarnqvist penalty shot, improving to 3-for-3 lifetime against penalty shots…Turned aside 40 shots for sixth career shutout – third against Milwaukee – on Saturday…Is 4-0-0 with a 2.00 gaa since missing 13 games due to a lower body injury and 5-0-0 with a 2.06 gaa and a .950 save pct. in his last five decisions and six games…Has faced 35 or more shots in each of his last seven complete games…Is 11-1-0 with a 2.50 gaa in last 12 decisions and 13 games since allowing five goals at HAM 12/10...Ranks second in league in wins (25), first in save pct. (.927) and eighth in gaa (2.55).
The Aeros (41-14-1-2) enter this week having won six straight – two off their season-high, set December 11-January 5. A victory Thursday over Hamilton would give Houston seven straight wins for the eighth time in team history.
Since losing three of five games November 17-27, the Aeros are 26-7-0-1 for a .779 points percentage.
Houston is 18-10-0-0 on the road, bettering last season’s win mark already (17-15-5-3). The Aeros’ franchise record for road victories is 23, set twice, most recently in 1997-98 (23-13-5) in an 82-game season. Houston’s franchise record for a road winning streak is nine games.
The Aeros are 23-4-1-2 at home, tied with last season’s total (23-13-1-3) with 10 games remaining at Toyota Center. Houston must win out to establish a new franchise record, thanks to a 32-6-3 mark in 1998-99. The Aeros are unbeaten in regulation in their last seven home games (6-0-0-1), tied for the season-high.
Houston is 41-14-1-2 overall, already eclipsing its 2004-05 win total (40-28-6-6). The Aeros have won 40 games for the eighth time in 10 seasons. The last time Houston won more games than it already has this season was in the 2002-03 Calder Cup championship season (47-23-7-3). The Aeros posted a franchise-record 54 wins (54-15-13) in 1998-99, when they won the Turner Cup. This season, Houston’s .733 points percentage ranks first in the AHL.
The Aeros’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 19 points, a combination of points gained by Houston and points lost by Omaha.
Houston has trailed in 17 of its 40 victories, including six rallies from two goals down. The Aeros are an impressive 14-8-0-0 when allowing the game’s first goal, including wins in each of the last four occurrences.
The Aeros are 23-4-0-1 when scoring at least two power play goals, and they’ve done that in 18 of their last 33 games. Houston ranks second in the league on the man advantage at 21.1 percent. The Aeros are third on the penalty kill at 85.7 percent and have scored a league-best 30 more power play goals than they’ve allowed.
RW Kirby Law (34-49=83) leads C Erik Westrum (27-54=81) by two points for the AHL scoring lead.
C/LW Patrick O’Sullivan is tied for sixth in the league at 66 points (34-32=66). O’Sullivan leads all rookies in points and has broke Cory Larose’s team records for goals and points in a season (32-32=64). O’Sullivan is riding a season-high seven-game point streak (6-6=12). The Aeros are 21-2-0-1 when O’Sullivan scores a goal, and 32-6-0-2 when he has a point.
Aeros G Josh Harding recorded Houston’s first shutout in Milwaukee in more than four seasons, and just the second overall in 36 games, on Saturday when he made 40 saves. Jamie McLennan blanked the Ads on January 30, 2002. Harding is 3-2-0 but with a 1.00 gaa and a .971 save percentage in his career against Milwaukee. Each of the three wins has come via the shutout. Harding is the first Aeros goalie to shut out the same team twice in one season since Johan Holmqvist blanked San Antonio twice in 2003-04. Harding is the first Aeros’ goalie with 25 wins since McLennan in 2001-02. No other Houston netminder has won 25 games since Frederic Chabot went 36-19-7 in 1999-2000.
Veteran C Rem Murray has six points (2-4=6) in the last four games, including a three-point performance (1-2=3) Sunday in Milwaukee.
Houston has played the same team in back-to-back games 14 times this season, with eight sweeps.
Houston is 39-4-0-1 when scoring three or more goals, and 36-4-1-1 when allowing three or fewer.
Sunday, Aeros D Dustin Wood played in his 200th consecutive AHL game, the longest active run in the league.
The Aeros’ blueline tandem of veteran Curtis Murphy and rookie Clayton Stoner ranks tied for fifth in the AHL in plus-minus (plus-18).
Aeros sweep the week
HOU 4, IOW 3; HOU 3, MIL 0; HOU 5, MIL 2
The Aeros won three games in four days last week, running their winning streak to six and their record to a league-best 41-14-1-2. Houston, at 85 points, leads second-place Milwaukee by six points. The Aeros also have a game in hand.
Thursday: Rem Murray and Curtis Murphy scored power play goals 90 seconds apart in the third period, as the Houston Aeros rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Iowa Stars at Toyota Center in the teams’ third straight meeting. Josh Harding outdueled former teammate Mike Smith with 35 saves, and Bryan Lundbohm and Peter Olvecky also scored for Houston.
Saturday: Josh Harding made 40 saves for his third shutout of Milwaukee in five career games – Houston’s first shutout at Bradley Center in more than four seasons and just the second in 36 games there – and Patrick O’Sullivan scored two third-period goals to establish a new team record with his 33rd goal as a rookie, as the Aeros knocked off the Admirals 3-0 at Bradley Center. Kirby Law chipped in three assists in his 600th professional game while moving ahead of teammate Erik Westrum for the AHL’s scoring lead. Rookie Roman Voloshenko added a power play goal for Houston.
Sunday: Rem Murray posted a goal and two assists, and Kirby Law, Curtis Murphy and Patrick O’Sullivan each added a goal and a helper, as the Houston Aeros stormed back from an early two-goal deficit for a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals at Bradley Center. Peter Olvecky’s goal late in the first period began the comeback, and Seamus Kotyk made 25 saves for Houston.
Aeros’ Practice schedule:
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 10-11:30 a.m., Sugar Land
Wednesday – 10-11:30 a.m., Sugar Land
Thursday – 10-11, pre-game skate, vs. HAM 7:05 p.m.
Friday – TBA
Saturday – 10-11 a.m., pre-game skate, vs. HAR 7:35 p.m.
Sunday – at SAN, 4 p.m.
Aeros non game-day practices are at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center, the Official Training Facility of the Houston Aeros.
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