CLEVELAND, Ohio - Kirby Law tallied two goals and an assist in the third period, Erik Reitz and Josh Olson each scored a shorthanded goal and former Baron Seamus Kotyk made 25 saves, as the Houston Aeros rallied from an early deficit for a 4-1 victory over Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena. Law’s two goals came 2:01 apart early in the final period, and Houston killed off its final nine shorthanded chances to improve to 2-1-0-0 on its weekend road trip through three cities. One night after surrendering four third-period goals, the Aeros scored three times in the final 20 minutes to secure the victory.
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Garrett Stafford scored a power play goal and Nolan Schaefer made 24 stops for Cleveland, which had its two-game win streak snapped.
Law notched his fourth multiple-goal game of the season, and he has six goals and five assists in the last five games to move into a tie for second place in the AHL in scoring with 36 points (16-20=36) behind only teammate Erik Westrum (12-27=39). Law posted four points (1-3=4) in a 5-2 win at Rochester on Friday. He is second on the team and tied for third in the league with 16 tallies.
Cleveland outshot Houston 11-8 in the first and took a one-goal lead with the help of five power plays, including two 5-on-3’s.
Stafford’s third of the season, on the power play, put Cleveland on top 1-0 at 5:40 of the first. Stafford took a Patrick Rissmiller feed at the right point and faked an Aero to the ground. Stafford then stepped right and launched a shot that got through a screened Kotyk short side.
Schaefer stopped the red-hot Patrick O’Sullivan’s shorthanded attempt from the low left circle midway through the first.
The Barons had a pair of 5-on-3’s pas the midway point, the final one lasting 61 seconds, but the Aeros’ penalty killers were up to the task, not allowing Cleveland a shot on goal.
Schaefer stoned Joel Ward on a breakaway with five minutes remaining in the opening period.
The Aeros began the second penalty killing and got Reitz’ third goal to tie the game just 23 seconds into the period. Rem Murray pushed the puck from the right circle to Reitz at the point, and the defenseman beat Schaefer with a long shot for his first goal since October 20.
Kotyk rescued Houston 6:30 into the second, when Clayton Stoner’s cross-ice clearing pass was intercepted by Tom Cavanaugh between the circles. Cavanaugh’s quick wrister was swallowed up by Kotyk.
Cleveland was awarded its third 5-on-3 - this one 56 seconds - midway through the second, but it was Houston’s Murray who had the best chance when he broke in shorthanded on Schaefer who made the save.
Kotyk stoned Josh Hennessy on a shorthanded breakaway late in the second.
Law’s first of the night and eighth power play goal gave Houston its first lead, 2-1, at 3:56 of the third. Curtis Murphy took the puck from Kotyk outletted a pass to Law at center ice, and the Aeros captain stepped between defenders and across the redline. Law, with a defender still in front of him, ripped a shot high glove side by Schaefer.
Law’s 16th of the season pushed Houston’s advantage to two goals, 2:01 later. Roman Voloshenko chipped the puck to Law from the corner, and Law beat the netminder.
Olson scored Houston’s second shorthanded goal of the night with 8:00 left, stuffing home a Law rebound - the ninth shortie the Barons have allowed this season.
Houston kept the Barons off the board in the third period, allowing just five shots, improving to 10-0-1-0 when not allowing a goal in the final 20 minutes. Cleveland has allowed a league-worst 46 third-period goals. Houston is next-to-last with 39.
Houston went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Cleveland finished 1-for-10.
The Aeros scratched Colin Peters, Peter Olvecky, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov.
Law has totaled three or more points four times this season.
Olson had his second two-point game (1-1=2) in the last five contests.
The Aeros are 9-1-1-1 when Law scores at least one goal and 16-2-1-1 when he has at least one point.
Voloshenko (4-3=7) and Westrum (2-4=6) each have five-game point streaks. O’Sullivan’s four-game run was snapped.
Law’s 10 multiple-point games trail Westrum by two for the team lead.
Westrum’s four-game assist streak ties a team season-high.
Kotyk went 26-43-7 in three seasons for Cleveland 2001-04.
Houston is 3-0-0-0 against the Barons this season and has won four straight overall in the series. The teams meet for the final time on February 15 in Cleveland.
The Aeros have trailed at some point in nine of their 19 victories. Houston is above the .500 mark (6-5-0-0) when allowing the first goal.
Houston improved to 2-2-1-0 when playing its third game in three nights.
Murphy’s assist was his 122nd point with the Aeros, just one behind Scott Arniel for 10th place on the team’s all-time list.