TORONTO, Ontario - Martin Sagat snapped a tie with 7:02 left in regulation and Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped 24 shots and helped kill off all 10 Houston power plays, as the Toronto Marlies held off the Aeros 4-2 at Ricoh Coliseum in the first-ever meeting between the teams. Ian White and Johnny Pohl scored 5-on-3 goals 1:32 apart early in the second period and Bates Battaglia also scored for the Marlies, who won for the fifth time in seven games. Pohl and Jeremy Williams each added two assists.
Toronto native Joel Ward scored his first pro goal and added an assist, Josh Olson also scored and Ontario native Seamus Kotyk finished with 26 saves for Houston, which went 2-2-0-0 on its four-game road trip and fell to 7-2-0-1 in its last 10.
The Aeros return to Toyota Center for a four-game homestand beginning next Friday at 7:35 p.m. versus Milwaukee. The first 3,000 fans will receive an envelope featuring either cash or prizes. Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5:05 p.m. against Milwaukee, the first 3,000 fans will receive Aeros coloring books. Click here for tickets. Click here for information on the Aeros’ online ticketing specials including $20 center ice and $15 corner seats for both holiday games.
Houston (14-6-1-1) played a league-high 22 games in the season’s first 44 days, and now enjoys a rare five-day break.
The Aeros totaled five first-period power plays against a Marlies team ranked last in the AHL on the penalty kill, but they couldn’t crack the net.
Houston, which earlier had 48 seconds of a 5-on-3, got two full minutes of a two-man advantage past the midway point of the first, but Aubin was up to the challenge. He made his best save of the opening period when he snared Erik Westrum’s right-circle blast.
After Toronto’s first power play late in the first, Ward’s first pro goal put Houston on top. Ward broke from the box, picked up a loose puck and went in 2-on-2 with Kirby Law, who was tripped. Ward unleashed a slapshot from the right circle, and the puck steamed high blocker side by Aubin.
Houston defenseman Curtis Murphy helped the Aeros keep the lead in the waning seconds of the first, when he blocked a 3-on-1 attempt.
Ward and checking linemate Bryan Lundbohm nearly put Houston ahead by two goals early in the second, with Toronto on a power play. Lundbohm’s 2-on-1 attempt from the left circle hit the post, and Ward pushed the rebound just wide.
Toronto, which outshot Houston 12-2 in the second, then scored a pair of 5-on-3 goals within 1:32 to take its first lead of the night.
With both Ryan Stokes and Erik Reitz in the penalty box, White’s first of the season got the Marlies even at the 2:13 mark. Pohl, Toronto’s leading scorer, pushed a pass from the left wing to White at the top of the right circle. White ripped a one-timer by Kotyk.
Pohl’s seventh of the season made it 2-1 Toronto at 3:45 of the second. With Reitz and Olson in the box, Pohl got loose in the left circle, and snapped a quick shot low short side by Kotyk.
Westrum, the leading scorer in the AHL, hit the post a minute later.
Early in the third, the Aeros had their ninth power play of the night cut short just nine seconds in, when Patrick O’Sullivan was called for hooking.
Ward’s attempt at a second goal, a follow of an Olson attempt, was stopped by Aubin with 12 minutes left in regulation. Aubin stoned Ward two more times two minutes later, just after an Aeros power play expired.
Houston got even with 8:54 remaining on Olson’s third of the season, and again Ward played a major part. Ward faked a shot from the right point and instead threaded a pass to a cutting Olson, who beat Aubin to knot the score at 2-2.
But the Marlies went back up 3-2 only 1:52 later, after the Aeros failed to clear their own zone. Sagat picked up a loose puck in the left circle and banked a shot off the crossbar and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Battaglia finished the Aeros off with 4:42 remaining, as the former Stanley Cup Finalist put in a Pohl rebound for his sixth of the season. The Aeros have allowed two or more third-period goals in five of their six regulation losses.
Houston went 0-for-10 on the power play, while Toronto finished 2-for-5. The Marlies entered the night last in the AHL on the penalty kill at 75.0 percent but were perfect on 10 chances.
The Aeros scratched Adam Courchaine, Roman Voloshenko, Mark Rooneem and Andrei Nazarov.
Murphy and O’Sullivan each had five-game point streaks snapped.
Aeros defenseman Kurtis Foster, recalled 48 hours ago by the Minnesota Wild, scored his first two NHL goals tonight against Nashville. Foster is the seventh former Aero to score a goal in the NHL this season alone. Foster, Barry Tallackson, Brian McGrattan and Brooks Laich give the AHL four former players who scored their first NHL goal tonight.
Houston is 1-2-1-0 when playing its third game in three nights.