Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas - Kirby Law tallied a power play goal and two assists to reach the 400-point mark in his career, and Rem Murray and 20-year-old Patrick O’Sullivan each scored one of Houston’s three power play goals, as the Aeros knocked off the Peoria Rivermen 5-3 at Toyota Center in the first of two straight meetings between the teams. Nineteen-year-old rookie sensation Roman Voloshenko and Bryan Lundbohm also scored and Josh Harding made 32 saves for Houston, which has won five of six and moved to a West Division-best 20-8-1-1.
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Trent Whitfield, Mike Glumac and Blake Evans scored and Reinhard Divis made 29 stops for Peoria, which has dropped five straight after a 15-6-0-1 start.
Law has 400 points (194-206=400) in 573 career games in the NHL, AHL and IHL. He’s now just two points behind teammate Erik Westrum for the AHL’s scoring lead with 39 points (17-22=39). Westrum added two assists tonight for a league-best 41 points (12-29=41). Law has 14 points (7-7=14) in the last six games.
The combination of Voloshenko, Law and Westrum has scored 15 of the team’s 26 goals in the last six games. Throw in O’Sullivan, who joins Voloshenko and Law on the top power play unit with Westrum sliding to the point, and those four have 19 of the 26 tallies.
Harding was able to help keep the Rivermen off the board just prior to their first goal, when he kicked out Evans’ 3-on-1 attempt from the right circle.
But a minute later, Peoria went on top at 7:43 of the first. Andy Roach gathered the puck along the left wing boards and fed a cutting Whitfield in the low right circle. Whitfield one-timed the puck by a diving Harding and just inside the far post for his sixth goal.
Divis helped the Rivermen stay in front just seconds after the ensuing faceoff, as O’Sullivan broke in 2-on-0 with Matt Foy. O’Sullivan slid the left-to-right pass, but Divis ranged to the other post to stop Foy’s shot.
Law scored 17th of the season with 4:48 left in the first, with the Aeros on the power play. Law took a feed from Curtis Murphy in the left circle and waited before ripping a rising shot that went under Divis, with Voloshenko providing a jumping screen.
Foy made a dipsey-do move through two defenders with 2:26 left, but Divis stood his ground and got Foy’s backhander.
The entertaining, up-and-down first period featured 29 shots - 17 by Houston.
The Aeros again struck on the power play, 3:16 into the second, to take their first lead of the night. Murray won the faceoff in the right circle and headed to the net. Foy tipped the puck to Erik Reitz at the point, and Reitz got it right back to Foy, who rifled a shot on net. Divis made the save, but Murray hopped on the rebound and put it in the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Voloshenko’s second of the night put Houston’s cushion at 3-1, less than three minutes later at 6:11. Scott Ferguson headmanned a pass to Law streaking up the right wing. Law, in the circle, left a drop pass for an unmarked Voloshenko, and the sniper one-timed a shot under Divis for his 19th of the season.
Peoria got two minutes of a 5-on-3 with 11:55 left in the third when Joel Ward went for hooking and Scott Ferguson was whistled for interference. It took the Rivermen just nine seconds to capitalize, as Glumac one-timed a feed from Peter Sejna at the center point high over Harding’s glove for his 13th of the season.
The final 57 seconds of the second power play was wiped out when Glumac was called for tripping.
Houston then got 1:02 of a 5-on-3 when Jeff Woywitka went for hooking, and O’Sullivan pounced on a Law rebound with 8:58 left for his 12th of the season and Houston’s third power play goal of the night.
Evans scored on the power play for Peoria with 2:29 left to draw within one, but the Aeros got an empty-netter from Lundbohm with 15 ticks remaining.
Houston finished 3-for-7 on the power play, while Peoria went 2-for-7. The Aeros are 12-for-36 with the man advantage in the last six games, having scored at least one power play goal in each of those games. Notes: The Aeros scratched Colin Peters, Adam Couchaine, Peter Olvecky, Mark Rooneem, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov. The Aeros are 17-2-1-1 when Law has a point, 10-1-0-0 when Voloshenko scores a goal and 15-1-0-0 when Voloshenko has at least one point. Westrum (2-7=9) and Voloshenko (5-3=8) each extended their point streaks to six games, one off Westrum’s team season-high. Westrum’s five-game assist streak is a team season-high. The Aeros have trailed at some point in 10 of their 20 victories. Houston is two games above the .500 mark (7-5-0-0) when allowing the first goal. Murphy’s assist was his 123rd point with the Aeros, moving him into a tie for 10th place on the team’s all-time list with Scott Arniel. Stephane Veilleux is ninth with 124. Murphy’s assist was also his 85th with the team, tying Travis Roche for sixth all-time. Law’s goal was the first the Aeros have ever scored at Toyota Center against the Peoria/Worcester franchise. Shut out in each of the previous two meetings, Houston scored for the first time in 140:12 at Toyota Center versus the Rivermen/IceCats. Harding’s victory was his 36th with the Aeros, just one behind Derek Gustafson for second place on the team’s all-time list. Gustafson is the AHL leader for the Aeros with 37, while Frederic Chabot leads all goalies with 126. Houston is 12-1-0-0 when scoring two or more power play goals. The Aeros are 8-1-0-1 when not allowing a man advantage goal.