AEROS WEEKLY REPORT
WED, at CHI, 7 p.m.
The Wolves enter the week with 61 points – seven behind Omaha for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division with 16 games left. Iowa is in fifth with 63 points. Chicago was rolling along with three straight wins prior to last week’s trip to Houston, but the Wolves are 0-2-0-2 since, including a 5-4 shootout loss and a 4-3 regulation defeat at Toyota Center. The Aeros are 4-1-0-0 this season against the Wolves, including a 1-0-0-0 mark at Allstate Arena.
Houston is 4-12-3-2 in its last 21 regular- and post-season trips to Allstate Arena, with the 4-0 victory in the last trip on January 22 the lone regulation victory. The Aeros are 14-16-6-2 all-time in Rosemont. A Houston victory would give the Aeros their first set of back-to-back wins in Chicago in their five seasons in the AHL. They last won two in a row during a four-game streak from November 24, 2000-March 3, 2001. Overall, Houston has won four straight against the Wolves for the first time since a five-game run from April 9, 1995-January 11, 1997. Each of the last three meetings this season – all at Toyota Center – was decided by one goal.
FRI, at MIL, 7 p.m.
It’s a critical game for Houston and Milwaukee, which enter the week separated by just four points for first place in the West Division. The Aeros have one game in hand. The Admirals have won four of six to reach the 40-win plateau and play host to league-leading Grand Rapids on Tuesday. Houston earned a two-game sweep at Bradley Center last month, winning 3-0 behind a Josh Harding shutout, and then rallying from a two-goal deficit for a 5-2 win the next afternoon. It’s the final regular-season meeting between the teams. The Aeros are 4-2-0-1 versus Milwaukee this season, with a 2-1-0-0 road mark.
Houston has won three straight against Milwaukee for the first time since March 30-April 5, 2002, and it has won two in a row at Bradley Center for the first time since December 27, 2002-January 12, 2003. The Aeros’ last four-game winning streak versus the Admirals was the first four games after entering the AHL, from October 6-December 14, 2001. Houston won nine in a row at Bradley Center from January 26, 2001-January 12, 2003.
SAT, at SAN, 7 p.m.
The Aeros try to avenge a 4-2 loss at AT&T Center on March 5, giving the Rampage two regulation wins over Houston in one season for the first time since 2002-03. San Antonio is 19-37-2-4 for a league-low 44 points, but it has won two of three, including a 2-0 shutout of Iowa on Saturday behind 25 saves from David LeNeveu. Newcomer Joel Perrault, obtained from the Anaheim organization, tallied the game-winning goal in his Rampage debut. Houston is 7-2-0-0 this season against the Rampage, and 3-2-0-0 on the road.
The Aeros are 12-5-4-2 all-time in San Antonio, including a 7-2-2-0 mark in the last 11 trips. This game marks Houston’s final visit to AT&T Center this season.
SUN, vs. SAN, 5:05 p.m.
The Aeros’ Family Day package begins at $59. Get four tickets, four pucks, $20 in Toyota Bucks and free parking. Also, kids can take a shot on goal after the game. That’s all for $59! And packages can be upgraded. Log on to www.aeros.com/themenights to order! Username is Family, password is Days. Or, call 713.974.PUCK to order. Special offer not available at the Toyota Center Box Office.
The Rampage and Aeros meet in the back end of a home-and-home. The Aeros have beaten the Rampage nine straight times at Toyota Center and are unbeaten in the last 13 home meetings (12-0-1-0). Houston is 19-2-1-0 all-time at home against San Antonio, outscoring the Rampage 90-43 in the process. Houston’s nine-game home winning streak in a series is a new franchise record, having won eight straight versus IHL San Antonio April 11, 1997-March 20, 1998. San Antonio has only two regulation wins in Houston in 22 chances in its three-plus years in the AHL. The Aeros’ 13-game home unbeaten run versus the Rampage is their longest against any team.
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 12:01 p.m. TODAY. Beginning bid is $100, and bid increments are $15. A pair of Third Jerseys - Patrick O’Sullivan and Roman Voloshenko - are also being auctioned off at the same site. The rest of the Third Jerseys are available via auction at Aeros’ home games.
In other Houston Aeros Charities news… – Houston Aeros Charities would like to remind fans that Golden Puck and Chuck a Puck will take place at both home games this week. 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 LW Patrick O’Sullivan
3/7 vs. CHI 3-1=4, +2
3/9 vs. CHI 2-0=2, E
3/13 at OMA 0-1=1, E
Totals 3gp, 5-2=7, +2
Two-time reigning Rbk Hockey/AHL Rookie of the Month totaled seven points (5-2=7) and was plus-two in three games last week as Aeros went 2-1-0-0 to reduce their magic number for a playoff spot to seven points…Tallied team record third hat trick, including team record-tying seventh GWG, and added an assist in 5-4 win over CHI Tuesday…Scored two more goals in 4-3 victory over CHI Thursday, extending goal streak to four games, tying a team season-high…Assisted on lone Aeros goal in 6-1 loss at OMA Sunday…Has nine points (7-2=9) in five-game point streak, his sixth point streak of five games or more this season…Leads all rookies in goals (41) and points (76), and he ranks tied for fourth overall in the league in points…Third overall in AHL in goals…Has 68 points (38-30=68) in last 48 games, and 21 points (14-7=21) in last 13 games…Goal total is second most in team history, trailing only Jeff Christian’s 45-goal campaign in 1998-99.
The Aeros enter this week 44-17-1-2 for 91 points. Their .711 winning percentage trails only Grand Rapids (.720), and Houston’s point total trails only the Griffins (95) and Wilkes-Barre Scranton (92). But the Aeros have two games in hand on Grand Rapids and one on WBS in the race for the AHL’s top regular-season record and home ice advantage throughout the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Houston’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is seven points, a magic number of points gained by the Aeros and points lost by Iowa, which is in Hamilton tonight for a rare Monday game. The Stars continue their road trip in Manchester on Wednesday and Rochester on Friday. The earliest the Aeros could clinch a playoff spot would be Friday. Houston’s magic number to clinch the West Division title, meanwhile, is 27 points, a combination of points gained by the Aeros and points lost by second-place Milwaukee. The Aeros own a four-point lead (91-87) with a game in hand entering the week. The Ads play host to league-leading Grand Rapids on Tuesday, before a huge home tilt against the Aeros on Friday.
RW Kirby Law has a two-point lead over C Erik Westrum in the AHL scoring race. Law has 91 points (35-56=91), two ahead of Westrum (31-58=89). Westrum leads Law by two in the assist race. Law has the third-highest point total in a single season by an Aero, while Westrum is fourth. Brian Wiseman notched each a 109- and 98-point season.
Houston has 93 power play goals this season, just one behind the franchise record, set in the Turner Cup-winning season of 1998-99. Rookie LW Roman Voloshenko has 17 PPG - just three off Jeff Christian’s franchise-record from 1998-99.
Aeros centerman Bryan Lundbohm played in his 300th AHL game Sunday in Omaha.
The Aeros have lost back-to-back road games for just the third time this season. Houston is in a stretch where it plays nine of 10 games away from Toyota Center. The Aeros’ last three-game road losing streak was during a franchise-record-tying four-game run 2/13-2/22/04. That streak was part of a franchise-record nine-game road winless streak.
Houston hasn’t scored an even strength goal in any of its last three losses.
The Aeros have allowed eight power play goals on 28 chances in their last four games for just a 71.4 percent kill rate. But Houston still ranks fourth in the AHL on the penalty kill at 84.9 percent.
The Aeros are 42-4-0-1 when scoring three goals or more, but they are 2-13-1-1 when scoring two or fewer. Three is also the magic number defensively, as Houston is 38-4-1-1 when allowing three of fewer goals and 6-13-0-1 when yielding four or more.
Houston has been outscored 9-1 in the third period over its last five games. It is just 2-3-0-0 in that stretch.
Aeros win two of three
HOU 5, CHI 4 (SO); HOU 4, CHI 3; OMA 6, HOU 1
Tuesday: Rookie sensation Patrick O’Sullivan netted his team record third hat trick – giving him 20 goals in the last 21 games – and added and an assist, AHL leading scorer Kirby Law supplied three assists and Roman Voloshenko and Matt Foy scored in the final two rounds of the shootout, as the Houston Aeros outlasted the Chicago Wolves 5-4 at Toyota Center. Josh Harding made 28 saves for the Aeros, and was recalled by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild the next day.
Thursday: Patrick O’Sullivan scored his 40th and 41st goals, becoming just the second rookie in the last 15 seasons in the AHL to reach the 40-goal plateau, and fellow All-Star Erik Westrum chipped in a goal and an assist, as the Houston Aeros completed a two-game sweep of the Chicago Wolves with a 4-3 victory at Toyota Center. Rookie Miroslav Kopriva made 27 saves in his return to Houston, and AHL leading scorer Kirby Law and Curtis Murphy each finished with two assists for Houston.
Sunday: David Moss scored one of Omaha’s four power play goals and added three assists, as the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights stormed back from an early deficit for a 6-1 victory over the Houston Aeros at Omaha Civic Auditorium. Tomi Maki, Erik Nystrom and Richie Regehr also scored power play goals, and Lynn Loyns and Ajay Baines also scored for Omaha, which is 9-2-0-1 in its last 12 and extended its lead over fifth-place Iowa to five points. Brent Krahn made 21 saves for Omaha, which beat the Aeros for the first time in six attempts this season.
Kirby Law scored an early power play goal and Seamus Kotyk finished with 30 saves for Houston.
Aeros’ Practice schedule:
Monday – Travel Day
Tuesday – in Chicago
Wednesday – at CHI 7 p.m.
Thursday – Travel Day
Friday – at MIL 7 p.m.
Saturday – at SAN 7 p.m.
Sunday – vs. SAN, 5:05 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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