AEROS WEEKLY REPORT
Coming Attractions – Home games Friday, Sunday!
TUE, at SAN, 7 p.m.Notables – The Aeros have now killed off 27 straight shorthanded chances in the last five games, and 70-of-73 in the last 11 contests (95.9 percent). The run has catapulted the Aeros to second in the AHL on the penalty kill at 89.3 percent, trailing only Bridgeport (90.8 percent). Five of Houston’s 13 power play goals against have come 5-on-3. Aeros G Josh Harding ranks first in the league in games played (17), minutes (1008) and saves (488), tied for third in wins (seven), tied for eighth in gaa (2.32) and tied for sixth in save pct (.926). He didn’t appear in Saturday’s game in Omaha, snapping a string of 16 consecutive appearances to begin the season. Aeros D Curtis Murphy enters the week with 399 (123-276=399) career points in 611 games as a professional. The Aeros’ 14 shots Saturday in Omaha marked their lowest total since moving to the AHL in the 2001-02 season. The previous mark was 16, set several times, most recently November 9 in Iowa. Aeros rookie C Ben Thomson has three points (1-2=3) in his last three games, including his first career multiple point game Sunday, when he notched a goal and assist against Hartford. Thomson’s seven points (4-3=7) rank him tied for fifth on the Aeros.
The Aeros and Rampage have split two games this season, although the Aeros have three points in the series to San Antonio’s two since the Rampage’s 5-4 win October 15 came in a shootout. Houston is 33-8-6-3 in the series overall and 12-6-4-3 at AT&T Center. However, the Aeros are 0-2-0-1 in their last three trips to San Antonio.
San Antonio (6-11-0-0) has lost three of four overall, but has won its last three home games, including a 3-1 win over Hartford on Saturday. The Rampage is playing game two of a stretch where it spends 11-of-13 games on home ice. San Antonio is tied with Milwaukee for sixth place in the West.
FRI, vs. SAN, 7:35 p.m.
The Aeros begin their second straight weekend of three-in-three action, which will culminate eight games in 12 nights. The Aeros have just two home regulation losses against the Rampage in 25 attempts (21-2-2-0), including an unbeaten in regulation 14-0-2-0 mark since the last regulation loss, a 6-3 decision January 16, 2004. The 16-game home unbeaten in regulation mark is the longest in Aeros’ team history against one opponent and includes a 4-1 victory over the Rampage last Friday. Houston has outscored San Antonio 64-26 at home in the last 16 meetings.
SAT, at CHI, 7 p.m.
The Aeros make their first trip of the season to Chicago, where they split four games last season. The Wolves earned a 4-2 win over Houston in the teams’ lone meeting this season, November 1 at Toyota Center. The Aeros are 38-27-14-4 all-time versus the Wolves, including a 15-18-6-2 mark at Allstate Arena. Houston has lost three straight games in regulation to Chicago overall. The last time the Aeros lost four in a row in regulation to the Wolves was from November 6, 1999-March 19, 2000. Houston is also winless in its last two trips to Rosemont.
The Wolves (12-4-1-0) are tied with Omaha for first place in the West Division. Chicago has won three in a row and seven of eight, and plays at Omaha (Wednesday) and at Grand Rapids (Friday) of this week. Chicago is averaging six goals per game in its last six contests. The Wolves have scored an AHL-high 78 goals for an average of 4.59 goals per game.
SUN, vs. GR, 5:05 p.m.
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This game will wrap up the season series between Houston and Grand Rapids. The Aeros are 1-2-0-0, dropping a 3-1 decision on Opening Night, October 7, in the lone meeting at Toyota Center. Houston is 28-26-7-2 all-time versus the Griffins, including a 15-10-5-2 home mark.
The Griffins (6-9-2-1) are winless in their last seven (0-6-1-0) after a 6-3-1-1 start, slipping to fourth place in the North Division with 15 points. The first six of the seven losses during the current run came at home. Grand Rapids hosts Chicago on Friday, then plays in San Antonio on Saturday before this game.
All Aeros games are broadcast live on KNTH 1070-AM and through Aeros.com. For $6, you can also watch the game live via B2 Networks. Visit Aeros.com 10 minutes prior to gametime to order.
Player of the Week LW Benoit Pouliot
Aeros LW Benoit Pouliot
11/15 at MIL 1-1=2, +1, W 4-2
11/17 vs. SAN 2-1=3, +1, W 4-1
11/18 at OMA 0-0=0, -2, L 0-3
11/19 vs. HAR 1-0=1, E, L 3-4
Totals – 4gp, 4-2=6, E
Totaled team-best six points (4-2=6) in four games last week...Tallied pair of multiple-point games, and scored four times in four games…Notched goal and assist in 4-2 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday, then scored twice (including a PPG) and added a helper in 4-1 win over San Antonio on Friday…Finished week off by scoring goal in 4-3 loss to Hartford Sunday…Has nine points (6-3=9) in last six games and nine goals in last 10 games…Is a team-best plus-six…Tied for second among AHL rookies in goals (11), and is 10th among rookies in points (15)…Tied with Matt Foy for team lead in points.
The National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild went 1-2-0 last week but continues to lead the Northwest Division with a 12-7-0 record…C Wyatt Smith, who began the season with the Aeros, has two PIM’s in seven games…Former Aero LW Pierre-Marc Bouchard leads the Wild with a plus-eight, and is tied for second on the team in scoring with 15 points (3-12=15)…Minnesota plays four games this week, visiting Ottawa on Monday, Montreal on Wednesday, playing a home matinee versus Phoenix on Friday before traveling to Columbus on Saturday.
The ECHL’s Texas Wildcatters went 1-0-1 last week, with both games against Augusta…Texas is 7-2-2-0 for 16 points – tied for fourth in the South Division...The Wildcatters have games in hand on the rest of the division, and their .727 points percentage is tops in the entire conference and second in the ECHL…F Kevin Baker (12-7=19) is tied for first in the league in goals and tied for fifth in points… F Marco Rosa (8-10=18), who attended Aeros’ camp, is tied for eighth in the AHL in scoring …D Mike Madill (0-9=9) and D Paul Albers (3-4=7), both Minnesota Wild contracts, are enjoying strong rookie starts… F Mark Rooneem has four goals in 10 games…F Riley Emmerson has 22 PIM’s in six games… G Miroslav Kopriva is 1-0-0 with a 6.10 gaa and a .826 save pct. in three games…G Matt Yeats, who attended Aeros camp, is 6-2-2 with a 2.96 gaa.
The Central Hockey League’s Austin Ice Bats are 3-5-4 and in are in fourth place in the Southeast Division. RW Michael Tucciarone, who attended the Aeros’ training camp in September, is third on the team with 11 points (4-7=11).
Aeros split four games
HOU 4, MIL 2; HOU 4, SAN 1; OMA 3, HOU 0; HAR 4, HOU 3
Wednesday: Rookie Benoit Pouliot and Bryan Lundbohm each tallied a goal and an assist and Josh Harding made 28 saves, as the Houston Aeros raced to a three-goal lead and held off the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2 at Bradley Center. Rookie Ben Thomson and Josh Olson also scored for Houston.
Friday: Benoit Pouliot continued his torrid streak with two more goals and an assist, Peter Ratchuk tacked on a goal and a helper and Alex Leavitt added two assists, as the Houston Aeros continued their home dominance of the San Antonio Rampage with a 4-1 victory in front of 6,673 at Toyota Center. Josh Harding made 20 stops and Matt Foy had an empty-net goal for Houston.
Saturday: Brent Krahn made 14 saves for his 10th career AHL shutout, and David Moss and Eric Nystrom scored a goal apiece in the game’s opening 7:41, as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights ruined a fine performance by Tony Quesada in his pro debut with a 3-0 victory over the Aeros at Omaha Civic Auditorium.
Quesada was solid, making 34 stops for Houston.
Sunday: Dwight Helminen scored the game-winning goal with 27 seconds left in regulation, and veteran agitator Dale Purinton scored a pair of goals, leading the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 4-3 victory over the Houston Aeros at Toyota Center. The game featured four fights and three ejections in the first period alone.
Josh Harding made 28 saves and Benoit Pouliot scored his team-leading 11th goal for Houston.
Aeros’ Practice schedule:
Monday – 1-2 p.m., Sugar Land
Tuesday – at SAN, 7 p.m.
Wednesday – TBA
Thursday – 10-11:30 a.m., Sugar Land
Friday – 10:15-11 a.m., pre-game skate; vs. SAN, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday – at CHI, 7 p.m.
Sunday – vs. GR, 5:05 p.m.
Aeros non game-day practices are at Sugar Land Ice & Sports Center, the Official Training Facility of the Houston Aeros.