Official Box Score PEORIA, Illinois - Rem Murray and Bill Kinkel scored 1:08 apart midway through the first period and Miroslav Kopriva (kop-CHEEV-kah) outdueled veteran NHL goaltender Patrick Lalime for the second time in a week with 26 saves, as the Houston Aeros edged the Peoria Rivermen 2-1 at Carver Arena to snap a two-game losing streak. Houston (33-12-1-1) moved to 68 points - still six up on second-place Milwaukee, which scored in the final two minutes for a 5-4 victory in Cleveland tonight. The Aeros won for just the second time in 13 games (2-9-1-1) when scoring two goals or fewer.
The Aeros return home Saturday at 7:35 p.m. to face arch-rival Chicago on Boy Scout Night. Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player Vince Young will drop the ceremonial first puck. Click here
to buy tickets. Young’s appearance will kick off the Vince Young Scholarship Fund for the Mount Horeb Missionary Baptist Church. The Aeros are encouraging fans to arrive early. The game will mark Houston’s seventh in nine nights in four cities.
Mike Glumac scored his team-best 23rd goal and Lalime posted 24 stops for Peoria, which lost for just the second time in eight games. Both defeats have come at the hands of the Aeros.
Houston broke on top at 8:12 of the first. Matt Foy stole the puck inside the Aeros zone and raced up ice 3-on-2. He left a drop pass for Patrick O’Sullivan at the right point. O’Sullivan hit Foy on the fly in the right circle on the give-and-go, and he walked on net before sliding a cross-crease pass for Murray, who touched the puck into the open net for his ninth goal of the season. It marked Houston’s first goal at Carver Arena in 128:15, dating back to a 3-1 win on October 14.
Kinkel’s first goal since a hat trick last March 30 gave the Aeros a 2-0 lead, 1:08 later. Aaron Schneekloth found Kinkel in the right circle, and the big winger ripped a top shelf shot over Lalime’s blocker.
The Rivermen got back within a goal 41 ticks later, at 10:01. Aeros centerman Bryan Lundbohm’s clearing attempt through the slot was intercepted by Jon DiSalvatore
. He slid a pass to Glumac between the circles, and the Rivermen’s leading scorer made a great catch with his skate, then tucked the puck under Kopriva with his stick for his 23rd goal of the season.
Kopriva stoned Lee Stempniak on a shorthanded breakaway late in the first.
In their last five victories, the Aeros have outscored their opponents 12-2 in the first period. In the last 12 games overall, Houston has a 23-8 goal margin in the opening 20 minutes, and overall on the season the Aeros are an AHL-best plus-25 (58-33).
Stempniak had another shorthanded breakaway three minutes into the second, but Kopriva came out into the right circle to pokecheck the puck away, stunning Stempniak.
Kopriva was awesome again six minutes in, stoning D.J. King’s redirection attempt. The horn went off, but the puck didn’t come close to crossing the line.
Lalime stopped Aeros captain Kirby Law on back-to-back occasions with 6:45 left in the middle period.
It was Kopriva’s turn again with less than a minute remaining in the second, making two acrobatic saves with Peoria on the power play.
Peoria, which didn’t get a shot in the opening 10 minutes of the third period, got a power play when Foy went for tripping at 10:01. Glumac fired a shot just wide of the net at the end of the man advantage.
Kopriva covered up King’s wraparound attempt with 56 ticks left. Peoria pulled Lalime but couldn’t get the equalizer.
The teams combined for just eight shots - five by Peoria - in a defensive third period.
Houston finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while Peoria also went 0-for-5. The Rivermen are 36-for-37 on the penalty kill in their last eight games. Notes: Not dressing for the Aeros were Josh Harding, Aaron Schneekloth, Joel Ward, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov. Houston won for the first time this season (1-6-0-0) when the top-scoring trio of Law, Erik Westrum and Roman Voloshenko were held off the scoresheet. It’s the second straight game in Peoria that none of the three had a point. Kopriva made 35 saves to Lalime’s 16 in a 5-1 win over Peoria last Saturday at Toyota Center. Lalime was replaced after allowing four goals. Aeros defenseman Scott Ferguson, who played in his 500th AHL game, assisted on Kinkel’s goal, giving him three points (1-2=3) in the last two games. It’s his first point streak with Houston. O’Sullivan leads all AHL rookies with 48 points (24-24=48). Houston improved to 1-5-1-0 lifetime against Peoria/Worcester when scoring two or fewer goals. The Aeros are 13-4-1-1 in one-goal games, and an impressive 19-6-1-1 in games decided by two goals or less. Kinkel has four goals in 48 career games with the Aeros. His hat trick came at Toyota Center versus Cincinnati. Two of his four goals have been game-winners.