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Aeros 4, Stars 6

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild
Stars 6, Aeros 4

Official Box Score

DES MOINES, Iowa - Krys Barch snapped a tie with 9:04 left in regulation - just 12 seconds after Houston tied the score - and Loui Eriksson netted his second goal of the game 1:24 later, as the Iowa Stars held off the Aeros 6-4 at the Iowa Events Center. Kyle Brodziak, Yan Stastny and Jamie Johnson each scored 3:30 apart early in the second period and former Aero Mike Smith made 32 saves for the Stars, who have won two straight after a three-game skid.

Matt Foy scored two goals, Patrick O’Sullivan and Scott Ferguson each added one and Seamus Kotyk made 21 stops for Houston (32-12-1-1), which lost back-to-back games for the second time this season and for the first time on the road. The Aeros’ West Division lead remained at six points over idle Milwaukee.

Houston finishes off its four-game road trip Friday in Peoria at 7:30 p.m., trying to avenge a 3-0 loss at Carver Arena on Tuesday. The Aeros return home Saturday at 7:35 p.m. to face arch-rival Chicago on Boy Scout Night. Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player Vince Young will drop the ceremonial first puck.
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Eriksson’s first goal of the game came 6:49 into the first period, and was set up by a tripping penalty to Ferguson. Smith, one of the better puck-handing goalies in the league, sprung Eriksson on a long breakaway. The Sweden native went forehand-backhand-forehand and slipped the puck under Kotyk.

The Aeros got 1:29 of 5-on-3 time later in the first, and they cashed in on both minor penalties.

O’Sullivan’s 24th goal - seventh on the power play - got Houston even at 14:14 with the teams 5-on-3. Curtis Murphy, at the right point, fed O’Sullivan along the goal line. O’Sullivan walked in and tried to center a pass to Kirby Law at the left doorstep, but the puck went off Smith and into the back of the net.

Just 23 ticks later, Foy scored to give the Aeros their first lead. Peter Olvecky (two assists) headmanned a pass to Foy, who broke in behind the defense. Foy deked his former teammate to the ground, and then tucked it just between Smith’s pads and the right post for his seventh goal of the season. Foy had missed the last two games due to injury.

The Stars didn’t have a shot in the final nine minutes of the opening period.

But it didn’t take Iowa long to score in the second, tallying three times in a span of 3:30.

Brodziak’s sixth of the season made it 2-2 at 1:53. Brodziak tipped Jim Fahey’s point blast by Kotyk. Just 1:55 later, the Stars took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to reclaim the lead. Johnson pushed the puck to Stastny in the left corner. Stastny centered a pass to the low slot, but the puck went off Houston’s Erik Westrum and by a stunned Kotyk.

Johnson scored his seventh of the season 1:35 later, with Houston’s Bryan Lundbohm in the penalty box for high sticking. Johnson picked off an errant clearing attempt at the right point and skated into the circle. Johnson made a move on a defender and shot high over Kotyk, short side, for the two-goal advantage.

Kotyk stoned Stastny on a shorthanded breakaway with 12:15 left in the second, keeping the deficit at two.

The Aeros nearly got within one with 5:06 left in the second, when the puck sat just an inch from crossing the goal line. But Toby Petersen hooked an Aero to keep the puck out of the net, setting up Houston’s second straight power play.

Houston didn’t connect on that advantage, but four seconds after Petersen was released from the box, Foy potted his second of the game and eighth of the season. Rem Murray cycled the puck low to Olvecky in the right corner. Olvecky walked towards the net and centered a feed for Foy at the left doorstep, and the third-year winger put a shot by Smith with 3:02 remaining in the middle period.

The Stars received 43 seconds of a 5-on-3 early in the third after penalties to Ferguson and O’Sullivan, but didn’t get a quality scoring chance

Midway through the third and with Houston on the power play, Smith kicked out Murphy’s point blast, then dove back to get a piece of Foy’s wraparound rebound attempt.

Ferguson’s first as an Aero knotted the score at 10:44 of the third, just four seconds after the power play expired. Law hit Ferguson at the top of the right circle, and the veteran defenseman - playing in his 499th AHL game - ripped a shot through traffic and by Smith.

Iowa quickly reclaimed the lead, just 12 seconds later, as Barch took a Nicklas Grossman feed and deposited it by Kotyk for his second goal of the season - and second in as many games versus the Aeros.

Foy went for tripping 42 seconds later, leading to Eriksson’s second of the night and 13th of the season, with 7:40 left.

Houston finished 2-for-8 on the power play, while Iowa went 3-for-8. Houston fell to 20-3-0-0 when scoring two or more power play goals. The Aeros had killed off 44-of-45 shorthanded chances over the last eight games since Grand Rapids went 5-for-10 on January 6. Houston was also perfect on 23 chances in the last four road games.

  • Not dressing for the Aeros were Josh Harding, Aaron Schneekloth, Joel Ward, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov.
  • Iowa has scored first in each of the last three meetings. The last team other than the Stars to take a 1-0 lead on Houston was San Antonio on December 31.
  • O’Sullivan, who leads all AHL rookies with 47 points (24-23=47), tied teammate Roman Voloshenko for the rookie goal lead.
  • Murphy moved into a tie for the AHL lead in defensemen scoring with 39 points (7-32=39).
  • Foy has a pair of two-goal games this season in just 20 games, equaling his total from 120 games in his first two campaigns.
  • Olvecky notched his second two-assist game and his third two-point contest.
  • Over their last 20 games, the Aeros have scored on their first or second power play of the game 15 times. Three times now in that span, Houston has scored on both its first and second opportunities.
  • Houston allowed three power play goals on the road for the first time since November 17 in Manitoba.
  • The Aeros fell to 31-3-0-0 when scoring three goals or more. Houston is 3-8-0-0 when allowing three or more.
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