Official Box Score WINNIPEG, Manitoba –
Dieter Kochan made 44 saves and Bryan Lundbohm and Benoit Pouliot posted a goal and an assist apiece, as the Houston Aeros snapped a 15-game road winless streak by stunning the red-hot Manitoba Moose, 3-1 at MTS Centre. Erik Reitz added a power play goal for Houston (23-35-3-6), which was 0-12-2-1 on the road – including nine straight losses in regulation – since a 3-1 win Iowa on January 12. The Aeros were outshot 45-17, but still handed the North-leading Moose (39-18-7-4) just its second loss in 19 games.
The Aeros finish off a five-game road trip Wednesday in Manitoba, where the Moose had won nine in a row. Jannik Hansen scored a goal and Drew MacIntyre made 14 saves for Manitoba, which had won eight straight overall.
The Aeros took a 1-0 lead for just the third time in 12 games, with Reitz’ power play goal 5:32 into the game. Mattias Weinhandl fed Reitz at the right point, and the defenseman powered into a slapper that beat MacIntyre for his sixth goal of the season.
MacIntyre made a great save on Peter Olvecky midway through the first, when Matt Foy (two assists) sidestepped a defender and slid the puck to Olvecky at the right doorstep.
Kochan was excellent in the opening period, as the Aeros were outshot 13-6. He helped the Aeros take a lead after one period for the first time in the last 12 games.
Lundbohm’s seventh goal of the season made it 2-0 Houston at the 8:23 mark of the second period. Foy fed Lundbohm behind the net, and with a penalty upcoming on the Moose, Lundbohm banked the puck off MacIntyre and into the net.
Kochan was again brilliant in the second period, helping the Aeros knock down back-to-back Moose power plays – including his own high-sticking call – past the midway point.
Manitoba veteran sniper Lee Goren broke in alone shorthanded late in the second, but Kochan made a great save. Kochan snared former Aero Maxime Fortunus’ power play blast in the final seconds of the middle period.
Lundbohm set up Pouliot’s 19th goal of the season, 2:48 into the third, to give the Aeros more breathing room. Lundbohm streaked in on the right wing, put a shot on MacIntyre, who made the original save. But Pouliot crashed the net and poked the puck past the netminder for just his second goal in 16 games.
Hansen was credited with his 11th goal, 8:41 into the third period, to get Manitoba within 3-1. He broke in on net from the left wing and put a backhander on Kochan. The netminder made a skate save, and the puck went off Aeros defenseman Ryan Stokes’ stick and into the net.
The Aeros went shorthanded with an interference call to Olvecky with 4:25 remaining, but the Manitoba power play was cut short with a tripping penalty on Jason Jaffray. But Reitz then went for tripping, with 2:24 left. With the teams 4-on-4, Kochan made one of his best saves of the night, robbing Jesse Schultz from point blank range.
Manitoba pulled MacIntyre for the extra attacker with a minute left, but the Moose could get no closer.
Houston finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while Manitoba went 0-for-8. After allowing a man advantage goal in 11 straight games, the Aeros are 11-for-11 on the penalty kill in the last two games. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Ryan Hamilton, Curtis Murphy, Josh Olson and Clayton Stoner. Foy, the Aeros’ leader in points (47) and goals (24) after notching two assists tonight, has one goal in his last 13 games. Rookie defenseman Mike Madill, playing in just his second AHL game, was plus-two with defensive partner Reitz. The Aeros are 2-12-2-1 in their last 17 March games dating back to last season. Houston improved to 5-20-2-2 this season in games in which goalie Josh Harding doesn’t play. Harding remains on recall to NHL Minnesota. The Aeros’ 15-game road winless slide was the longest in one AHL season since Springfield’s 16-game skid from December 31, 2004-April 3, 2005. Houston’s nine straight road regulation losses tied Binghamton’s AHL season-high. The Aeros have not held a scoring advantage in the third period in 17 of their last 20 games. Reitz’ sixth goal tied his career-high, set in 2002-03. His 29 points are a new career-best, bettering the 28 he had last season. Houston had lost three of its first four trips to MTS Centre, which opened in 2004-05.