Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
Mattias Weinhandl tallied two goals and an assist, Jason Morgan and Benoit Pouliot each scored a goal and Josh Harding
made 23 saves, as the Houston Aeros snapped the San Antonio Rampage’s four-game winning streak, 4-1 at Toyota Center. Matt Foy and Erik Reitz added two assists apiece for Houston (16-18-0-4), which is now four points behind fifth-place Milwaukee. The Aeros improved to 17-1-2-0 in the last 20 home meetings with San Antonio.
Randall Gelech scored a power play goal and David LeNeveu made 42 stops for San Antonio (14-21-1-1), which is a league-worst 2-10-1-1 on the road.
The Aeros begin a three-game road trip Friday in Iowa at 7 p.m.
Morgan’s second goal of the season got Houston on the board 2:51 into the game. Foy whacked at a bouncing puck in front of the net, and Morgan backhanded the rebound over LeNeveu.
Aeros winger Roman Voloshenko, in the right circle, ripped a puck just wide of the far post two minutes later.
Harding’s best save of the opening period came midway through, when he sticked aside Jakub Koreis’ deflection from the low slot.
The Aeros then got 1:23 of a 5-on-3. Rampage defenseman Joe Callahan prevented a goal early on by blocking Weinhandl’s open-net chance from the left doorstep, and LeNeveu made a nice body save on Reitz’ blast from the right point.
One second after the first penalty expired, Weinhandl’s power play goal – his sixth of the season – extended Houston’s lead to 2-0. Curtis Murphy, at the left point, fed Reitz in the right circle. Reitz fired a perfect pass to a waiting Weinhandl low in the left circle, and the winger put the puck into the upper corner before LeNeveu could respond. With the assist, Reitz became just the fifth defenseman in Aeros history to reach 100 points in his career.
Houston had faced a 2-0 deficit in five of its previous eight games, and was outscored 9-2 in the first period of its last five contests.
Voloshenko missed an open net with a Murphy rebound with LeNeveu down and out and Houston on the power play again late in the first.
LeNeveu kept the deficit two goals early in the second period, when he stoned Benoit Pouliot’s 2-on-1 attempt off a Foy pass.
San Antonio’s Bill Thomas has an open net to flip the puck into with the Rampage on the power play 3:30 into the second, but he couldn’t connect.
But on that same man advantage, Gelech’s ninth goal got San Antonio within 2-1. Taking a pass from Tyler Redenbach in the right circle, Gelech rifled a one-timer high over Harding’s shoulder.
Redenbach fired a shot just wide from the low slot with 12:50 remaining in the second.
Pouliot pushed Houston’s lead to 3-1 with 11:18 left in the middle stanza. Bryan Lundbohm took a pass from Foy at the center point and let loose of a shot. LeNeveu made the save up high, and most of the players on the ice thought the puck was dead. However, it dropped behind LeNeveu a second later, and Pouliot was there to easily swipe the puck into the open cage for his 14th goal of the season.
Aeros defenseman Peter Ratchuk hit the post with a shot from the low right circle with Houston on the power play late in the second.
The Aeros dominated most of the third period. Weinhandl finished the scoring with 3:33 left, seconds after he hit the outside of the net.
Aeros defenseman Ryan Stokes duked it out with San Antonio toughman Ryan Flinn less than a minute later. Flinn landed most of the punches early, but Stokes came back with a half dozen roundhouse rights. Flinn picked up an instigator penalty on the play.
Houston went 1-for-5 on the power play, while San Antonio finished 1-for-6. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Tony Quesada, John Scott, Josh Olson, Chris Ovington and Joey Tetarenko. Harding improved to 15-3-1 in his career against San Antonio, including a perfect 9-0-0 home mark. Aeros defenseman Shawn Belle returned to the lineup after missing four games due to injury. LeNeveu, who is 1-10-0 since winning his first start of the season, made his first appearance since December 27. His last win was December 17 versus Manitoba. Houston was 0-2-0-1 in its last three home games. The Aeros improved to 15-6-0-3 when scoring three or more goals. They are 1-12-0-1 when scoring two or fewer. Foy has 10 points (8-2=10) in nine games against San Antonio this season. Aeros rookie Danny Irmen had his four-game point streak snapped. Houston is 9-4-0-3 when scoring first. Reitz has 14 points (2-12=14) in his last 17 games.