HOUSTON, Texas – Marty Sertich’s second goal of the game snapped a tie midway through the third period, and Joel Lundqvist added marker 40 seconds later, as the Iowa Stars used a pair of 5-on-3 goals and three power play tallies overall to defeat the Houston Aeros 6-3 on Gordie Howe Night at Toyota Center. Former Aeros Marius Holtet and Junior Lessard also scored and Dan Ellis made 32 saves for Iowa.
Matt Foy, Roman Voloshenko and Benoit Pouliot scored a goal apiece and Josh Harding made 23 stops for Houston, which has dropped its first two games. The Aeros kick off a five-game road trip Thursday and Saturday in Des Moines.
Foy got things going 3:52 into the game. Curtis Murphy kept the puck in the zone at the right point, and got it to Wyatt Smith in the right circle. Smith touched it to Foy, who came around the net and slid a wraparound attempt inside the left corner for his first goal of the season. The goal was Houston’s 3,000th in franchise history.
The Stars evened the game at the 7:51 mark, just after they failed to score on a power play. Houston nearly got the puck out, but Mark Ardelan kept it in at the blueline. He sent a seemingly harmless shot on net, but a cutting Sertich tipped the puck up and over Harding.
Houston went 0-for-12 on the power play last night, but cashed in on its first advantage of the night, a 5-on-3. Foy this time faked a wraparound, instead feeding the puck to Voloshenko low in the left circle. Voloshenko, who tied an Aeros team record with 20 power play goals as a rookie last season, popped the puck just inside the near post.
Holtet got the Stars even again with a shorthanded tally with 2:18 remaining in the first. Holtet stole the puck off Ben Thomson’s skate at center ice and broke in alone on Harding. Holtet got Harding down with a fake, then went high over the goalie for his second goal in two games.
Each team had three power plays early in the second, and it was almost Voloshenko again early on. Voloshenko got Ellis down with a fake from the right circle. The Russian hesitated, shot, but somehow Ellis reached up to push it wide.
The Stars cashed in a 5-on-3 power play 11:03 into the second to take their first lead of the game. Marty Wilford, at the left point, slid a pass to Toby Petersen between the circles. Petersen one-touched a pass to a waiting Lessard in the left circle, and the former Aero blasted a rocket low on Harding for his second goal in two games.
Harding helped prevent further damage less than two minutes later, with Iowa again on the power play. Sertich ripped a shot from the right circle, nearly by a beaten Harding, but the goalie just got enough of the puck with his glove to push it over the net.
Pouliot, Minnesota’s No. 1 pick in 2005, scored his first pro goal to tie it up with 5:07 left in the second. Pouliot, between the circles, deflected Chris Ovington’s right point drive by Ellis.
The Stars got a pair of power play goals – the first on a 5-on-3 – 40 seconds apart midway through the third to take control.
Sertich’s second of the game made it 4-3 with both Matt Foy and Shawn Belle in the penalty box. Lessard, in the left circle, threaded the needle with a pass to a waiting Sertich. Sertich completed the all Hobey Baker scoring play by placing an easy shot into the back of the cage.
With Belle still in the box 40 seconds later, Lundqvist extended the advantage to two goals. Mario Scalzo’s point shot from the right side got blocked in front, but Lundqvist put a nifty backhanded rebound into the net.
With under a minute to go, Dan Hacker dumped in an empty-net goal to end the night’s scoring with the Stars on top 6-3.
Houston went 1-for-10 on the power play, while Iowa finished 3-for-10.
Not dressing for the Aeros were Tony Quesada, Ryan Stokes, Peter Olvecky, Josh Olson, Joey Tetarenko and Clayton Stoner.
The Aeros are 0-2-0-0 for just the second time in team history, and have lost their first two home games for the third time.
Aeros rookie 6-foot-7 defenseman John Scott got an assist on Pouliot’s goal for his first career point in his pro debut.