Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas - Erik Westrum snapped a tie with 5:55 left in regulation, and he and Kurtis Foster each finished with a goal and an assist, as the Houston Aeros defeated the Iowa Stars 5-3 at Toyota Center in the first-ever meeting between the teams. Clayton Stoner notched his first career goal, Kirby Law and Bryan Lundbohm also scored and Seamus Kotyk stopped 29 shots for the Aeros, who opened a six-game homestand that continues Friday at 7:35 p.m. against Manitoba. The first 3,000 fans will receive an Aeros cowbell. Click here
Vojtech Polak tallied two goals and an assist, Dan Jancevski also scored and former Aero Mike Smith turned aside 18 shots for the Stars, who have lost three of four.
Iowa came out with jump in its step, outshooting Houston 10-3 in a scoreless first period. The Aeros were outshot 21-2 in the first period of their last game, Sunday in Peoria. Two of Houston’s shots tonight came in the final four minutes of the period.
The Aeros broke through at 8:16 of the second period, getting Law’s seventh of the season, just five seconds after a Houston power play ended. Westrum fed a wide open Law at the blueline, and the Aeros captain rushed in on a breakaway against his former teammate. Law waited for Smith to commit, then slid the puck under his pads for the game’s first goal.
Iowa answered back with Polak’s shorthanded goal with 3:15 remaining in the second. Polak took a feed from Yan Stastny on the right wing and beat Kotyk high short side.
It took Houston only 33 seconds to answer back, on the same power play as Iowa put the puck in its own net. Westrum turned and fired from the left circle. The puck popped up in the air over a sprawled Smith. Both Stoner and former Aero Patrick Traverse went after the puck, and after Traverse nearly controlled it, Stoner tipped the puck into the net.
Polak’s second of the night, 2:05 into the third with the teams 4-on-4, evened the game at 2-2. Former Aero David Oliver skated up the left wing boards and slid a short pass to Polak, breaking across the blueline. Polak rifled a low shot under Kotyk for his second of the game and fourth of the season.
Again, the Aeros came right back, getting Foster’s fourth of the season 1:54 later. Patrick O’Sullivan took the puck into the Iowa zone on the right wing and dropped a pass for a streaking Foster. The lanky defenseman unleashed one of his patented 100 mph lasers up and over Smith.
Jancevski got the Stars right back even, rifling a shot from the left point at the 7:09 mark. It was headed well wide, but the puck kicked off an Aero and by Kotyk for Jancevski’s third of the season.
But Westrum scored the game-winner with 5:55 showing. He quickly picked the puck off a Star players’ stick behind the goal and, with Smith’s stick elevated, snuck the puck just inside the near post for his sixth goal of the season.
Iowa pulled Smith with 2:18 on the clock with a power play going on, but Kotyk made four saves before Jancevski was called for a penalty, ending the threat. With Smith again pulled, Lundbohm found the net for the power-play, empty net goal with nine seconds left.
Houston finished 2-for-9 on the power play, while Iowa went 1-for-7. Notes: The Aeros scratched Josh Harding, Anders Myrvold, Colin Peters, Adam Courchaine, Petr Taticek, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov. Houston has allowed a league-high 22 third-period goals, counting tonight. The Aeros are 2-3-0-0 against teams with losing records, but 6-1-1-0 versus teams at or above the .500 mark.