Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas – Josh Harding
made 38 saves and Josh Olson and Bryan Lundbohm (pictured) scored first period goals, as the Houston Aeros earned their second straight win, 3-1 over the Manitoba Moose on Teddy Bear Toss Night at Toyota Center. Peter Olvecky snapped a 32-game drought without a goal for Houston (12-14-0-3), which is a point behind Milwaukee and Iowa, two teams tied for fourth. The Aeros have won back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game run November 4-17.
Brandon Reid scored a goal and Drew MacIntyre made 21 stops for Manitoba (14-12-3-2), which had won four in a row.
The Aeros are off until next Friday, when they play host to division-leading Chicago at Toyota Center at 7:35 p.m. You can buy tickets by calling 1.866.GO.AEROS, or online 24/7
. For the final three December games, get $20 center ice seats (normally $30) or $15 corner seats (normally $22). This offer is only available through the Aeros office at 713.974.PUCK.
Houston had scored just four goals in its three-game home winless streak, but didn’t take long to score tonight.
The Aeros scored twice in the first period to take the lead, including Olson’s Teddy Bear Toss goal – his fifth goal of the season only 3:28 into the game. Erik Reitz, at the right point, fired a shot that MacIntyre stopped. But Olson, in the right circle, popped the rebound by the netminder, touching off an array of stuffed animals onto the ice at Toyota Center .
Houston, which killed off three penalties in the first period, nearly scored shorthanded with 5:15 left. Mattias Weinhandl broke in alone, but MacIntyre made a pad save.
But less than a minute later, Weinhandl set up Lundbohm’s third goal. Weinhandl, in the right circle, fed Lundbohm in the mid slot, and Lundbohm ripped a shot by MacIntyre.
Aeros veteran defenseman Curtis Murphy picked up a 10-minute misconduct late in the first period for flipping the puck into the stands.
Harding misplayed the puck early in the second with Houston on the power play, but just made it back in time to stop J.J. Hunter’s stuff attempt at the left doorstep.
Houston got nearly a full minute of 5-on-3 time but Manitoba ’s penalty kill was strong, not allowing a shot.
Just after the two-man advantage expired, Manitoba ’s Jannik Hansen got the puck behind Harding, who rolled on his back to make the save.
The teams traded goals 67 seconds apart past the midway point of the second, with Olvecky striking first with his first goal in 27 games this season and first in 33 games dating back to last season’s Calder Cup Playoffs. John Scott, a rookie who picked up his first career point on the play, whacked at the puck in the crease, keeping it alive to Olvecky, who poked it into the net at the 13:00 mark.
But Reid scored his seventh goal, cutting to the net off a Nathan Smith feed, 1:07 later to get Manitoba back within 3-1.
Tempers flared with 4:31 left in the second, as Matt Foy duked it out with ageless veteran and former Stanley Cup winner Mike Keane, at the same time Clayton Stoner
fought Adam Keefe.
Manitoba dominated most of the third period, outshooting Houston 17-4, but Harding was perfect.
Harding made his best save of the night with 12:42 remaining in the third and Manitoba on the power play. Harding made the initial stop on Brad Moran, and then dove back to make a great stick save on his side on Lee Goren’s rebound.
Mike Brown jumped Reitz with 2:42 left in regulation, after Reitz minutes earlier laid out Smith with a clean hit at center ice.
The Aeros’ forecheckers didn’t allow MacIntyre out of the net in the final minute.
Houston finished 0-for-5 on the power play, while Manitoba went 0-for-4. The Aeros are 4-for-40 on the power play in their last seven games, while the Moose has killed off 30-of-30 shorthanded chances in the last six games. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan, Jason Morgan, Chris Ovington, Benoit Pouliot and Joey Tetarenko. Aeros second-year winger Joel Ward made his NHL debut tonight with Minnesota, which played in Vancouver. Ward was in the Wild’s starting lineup. Houston is 11-4-0-2 when scoring three goals or more, and just 1-10-0-1 when scoring two or fewer. Aeros right wing Matt Foy saw his five-game point streak snapped. It was a team season-high, and also tied the longest streak of his career. Houston was 0-1-0-2 in its last three home games, its longest winless slide at Toyota Center in more than two seasons. Weinhandl has two points (1-1=2) in his first two games with the Aeros. Olvecky has three points (1-2=3) in his last three games. Houston has held a lead after one in back-to-back games for the first time since November 15-17.