Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
Marek Schwarz made 35 saves and was perfect on four shootout attempts, as the Peoria Rivermen outlasted the Houston Aeros 4-3 at Toyota Center. Michal Birner, D.J. King and Charles Linglet scored in regulation, and Peter Sejna and Jon DiSalvatore
netted shootout goals for Peoria (20-12-1-2), which has won four in a row and is two points behind second-place Omaha in the West Division.
Danny Irmen posted a goal and an assist, Peter Ratchuk and Roman Voloshenko also scored and Miroslav Kopriva made 28 saves for Houston (15-17-0-4), which picked up a point to get within four points of fifth-place Milwaukee and five of fourth-place Iowa.
The Aeros play host to Syracuse on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. It’s Curtis Murphy Bobblehead Night. Click here to buy tickets
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Kopriva was stellar 1:45 into the game. Cam Keith streaked up the left wing and hit a cutting Gavin Morgan in the low slot. Kopriva went down and just got enough of Morgan’s attempt to push it over the crossbar.
Irmen scored his 10th goal – and second in as many nights – at the 10:10 mark of the first to put Houston on top. Bryan Lundbohm carried the puck into the zone from the right side and banged the puck off the outside of the net. Lundbohm got the rebound in the left corner and fed Stokes at the point. Ryan Stokes fired on net, and Irmen tipped the puck under Schwarz.
It took Peoria just 32 seconds to answer, with King’s third of the season. King took a feed from Morgan, stickhandled through traffic behind the net and slid the puck between Kopriva’s right skate and the post, evening the score at 1-1.
Lundbohm had a shorthanded breakaway two minutes later after intercepting a Trent Whitfield pass, but Schwarz was up to the task.
Birner scored shorthanded to give Peoria its first lead with 4:42 left in the first. Sejna picked Mattias Weinhandl’s pocket in the Rivermen zone and raced up ice 2-on-1 with Birner. Sejna hit Birner cutting down the left side, and Birner redirected the puck past Kopriva for his fourth goal of the seasons.
Aeros’ leading scorer Matt Foy hit the post with a blind backhander as time wound down in the first.
The Aeros controlled much of the second period, but didn’t find the scoresheet until there were 42 seconds left in the frame. After Kopriva made an outstanding save and Stokes blocked a Mike Glumac attempt from point blank range, Irmen collected a rebound deep in the Houston zone. He headmanned a pass to Ratchuk, breaking out of the penalty box. Ratchuk collected the bouncing puck, went in on Schwarz and scored high glove side for his fifth goal of the season.
Peoria defenseman Roman Polak let loose on the power play early in the third, but Kopriva made a nice glove save. Shortly thereafter, Kopriva kicked out DiSalvatore’s blast from low in the right circle.
Linglet took over sole possession of the Rivermen team scoring lead with 18th goal of the season with 9:06 remaining. Glumac raced out of the Peoria zone after collecting a rebound, and slid a 3-on-2 pass from the left wing to a cutting Linglet, who poked the puck under Kopriva.
The Aeros got the equalizer from Voloshenko with 7:45 left in regulation, after Tomas Mojzis went after Foy for getting too close to Schwarz. On the ensuing power play, Voloshenko popped the puck short side on a pass from Olvecky, Voloshenko’s sixth goal of the season.
Polak ripped a point shot off the left post with 5:31 remaining.
Kopriva saved the game for the Aeros with a stick save short side on Morgan a minute later.
Olvecky picked up a holding call with 1:47 left, giving Peoria a chance to win it in regulation. Kopriva snagged Jeff Woywitka’s left point drive with 49 seconds remaining.
In overtime, Kopriva made a good stick save on former Hobey Baker winner Sejna, who broke around Stokes and in 1-on-1.
Ratchuk made maybe the play of the night with 3:20 left. Houston’s Clayton Stoner
fanned on a shot from the right circle, resulting in a 2-on-1 the other way. But a diving Ratchuk broke up the pass in front of Kopriva.
Kopriva made a point blank stop on Whitfield – Peoria’s leading scorer – with 28 ticks left.
Aeros head coach Rob Daum elected to have Peoria go first in the shootout. Glumac led off, hesitated and Kopriva got a piece of the shot with his glove. Weinhandl carved open Schwarz but slid a shot just wide.
Sejna went low blocker side to score on Kopriva in round two, and Voloshenko tried to go five-hole but was denied.
In round three, DiSalvatore scored low on Kopriva, and Schwarz stopped Foy.
Kopriva denied Linglet with the glove, and Morgan couldn’t solve Schwarz.
Houston fell to 4-4 in shootouts this season. The Aeros are the only AHL team to not have a goal decided in overtime. Peoria is 1-2 in shootouts.
Houston finished 1-for-6 on the power play, while Peoria went 0-for-7. The Rivermen, who entered the game tied for fourth in the AHL on the power play at 21.2 percent, are 1-for-19 with the man advantage versus Houston this season. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan, Josh Harding, Shawn Belle, Josh Olson, Ben Thomson and Joey Tetarenko. The Aeros have been outscored 9-2 in the first period of their last five games. Voloshenko has five points (3-2=5) in a five-game point streak, his longest since a seven-game run November 30-December 17, 2005 – just before he left for the World Junior Championships. In his last seven games, Voloshenko has eight points (4-4=8). The Aeros are 5-0-0-1 when Stokes has a point. He pushed his point total to a career-best seven (2-5=7). He had five (2-3=5) in 75 games last season. The Aeros are 14-6-0-3 when scoring three or more goals. They are 1-11-0-1 when scoring two or fewer. Murphy picked up an assist, his ninth point (2-7=9) in as many games. Houston is 8-4-0-3 when scoring first.