Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
Rookies Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Hamilton scored a goal apiece and Josh Harding
made 20 saves, as the Houston Aeros defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs, 2-1, at Toyota Center for their second straight win. The Aeros (2-5-0-1) have scored 19 goals this season – 11 from rookies, including an AHL rookie best five by Pouliot. Houston has played five straight one-goal games.
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Zack Stortini scored and Jaroslav Halak made 34 stops for Hamilton (2-5-0-0).
The Aeros got on the board with Pouliot’s AHL rookie leading fifth goal, 8:04 into the game. Peter Olvecky stole the puck behind the Hamilton net and fed Pouliot in the right circle, and the sniper roofed the puck over Halak for his third goal in three games.
Two minutes later, the Aeros lost winger Matt Foy to a scary collision along the right wing boards. Jonathan Ferland elbowed Foy’s head into the boards, with Foy then making a head-first collision into the glass. No penalty was called on the play, but Aeros defenseman Ryan Stokes dueled with Ferland off the ensuing faceoff and threw the Bulldog to the ground with a right. Foy returned to begin the second period.
Olvecky later helped save a goal, with 6:30 remaining in the first. With a delayed penalty upcoming on Houston, Kyle Chipchura let a shot loose from the right circle and beat Harding. The puck hit the pipe and sat in the crease, but Olvecky chipped it into the corner.
Harding kept the Aeros in the lead seven minutes into the second, when Ajay Baines got loose in front of the net. Harding snared Baines’ point blank shot.
Ryan Hamilton’s second goal of the season gave Houston its second two-goal lead of the season. He stole the puck along the left wing boards, and the power forward skated in on net. Halak got a piece of Hamilton’s first two backhanded attempts, but the rookie put the third try into the back of the net.
Harding made his best save of the young season with 4:57 remaining in the second, gloving a Mathieu Roy drive from the right circle while falling backwards.
Harding nearly equaled his earlier brilliance 6:40 into the third. Andrei Kostitsyn deked through two defenders and got in alone on Harding. The goalie did the splits, making a skate save on the breakaway.
Stortini ruined Harding’s shutout bid with 8:55 left, crashing the net with a backhander after Harding made a pad save on Kostitsyn.
Halak kept the Bulldogs in the game with 3:43 left, robbing Bryan Lundbohm on a shorthanded breakaway. Lundbohm stole the puck from Jancevski, who fell down at the Houston blueline, but Halak was dynamite.
The Bulldogs pulled Halak for the extra attacker with 40 seconds remaining, but couldn’t again solve Harding.
Houston went 0-for-6 on the power play, while Hamilton finished 0-for-5. The Aeros are 4-for-60 with the man advantage this season. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Steve Shields, Miroslav Kopriva, Dieter Kochan, John Scott, Alex Leavitt, Josh Olson and Chris Ovington. Tony Quesada, a rookie from Holy Cross coming off knee surgery, dressed for a game for the first time and backed up Harding. Houston defenseman Curtis Murphy played in his 600th professional regular season game. The Aeros snapped a four-game home losing streak dating back to last season’s playoffs. Houston was 0-3-1-0 in its last four home October tilts. Aeros defenseman Erik Reitz took a late hooking penalty, making him the fourth player in Aeros history with 500 penalty minutes. Reitz has more AHL penalty minutes than any other Aero.