|Rivermen 4, Aeros 0 |
Official Box Score
PEORIA, Ill. - Jason Bacashihua made 21 saves for his second straight shutout and his second blanking of Houston in as many tries, and Peter Sejna tallied two goals and an assist, as the Peoria Rivermen took over first place in the entire Western Conference with a 4-0 win over the Houston Aeros at Carver Arena. The Rivermen (8-2-0-0) avenged a 3-1 home loss to the Aeros earlier this month and have won four straight - three by shutout. Mike Glumac added a goal and two assists and Trevor Byrne chipped in a goal and a helper for Peoria, which has won those four games by an eye-popping 19-1 margin.
Seamus Kotyk stopped 36 shots - including 20 alone in the first period - for Houston, which trailed just 1-0 with seven minutes left in the game but fell to 1-2-0-0 on its three-game, three-night road trip. The Aeros (7-4-1-0) trail the Rivermen by one point for first place in both the West Division and the Western Conference.
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Bacashihua, who blanked San Antonio on 19 shots last night, also earned a shutout in his last game versus Houston. The former Dallas Stars draft pick made 29 saves in a 1-0 Worcester win at Toyota Center last January 9. He made two saves in the first period, 12 in the second and seven in the third to improve to 5-0-0 on the season and 6-5-1 in his career against Houston. Since allowing eight goals total in his first two starts of the season, Bacashihua has yielded just one goal over his last three outings.
The Aeros, who came into the game averaging almost 38 shots against per game, found themselves down only 1-0 after one, despite a 21-2 shot advantage for Peoria. The Rivermen, helped by four first-period power plays to none for Houston, got 16 of the game’s first 17 shots.
Peoria became the fourth team in as many games to get the jump on the Aeros, this time just 3:17 into the first.
Blake Evans threw a shot on net from the left corner. Kotyk made the save, but Sejna, cutting in from the right point, poked the rebound in the net for his first of the game.
Houston set season marks for most shots allowed in a period, as well as fewest shots for.
The Aeros were much improved in the second period, helped by two power plays of their own. Houston also stayed out of the penalty box until the final minute of the stanza, outshooting the Rivermen 12-6.
The Aeros got their first power play early in the second, but it was Peoria with the best shot. A misplay at the blueline saw Evans skate in on Kotyk 2-on-1. Kotyk stopped Evans’ rocket from the left point, but the rebound shot straight to the right circle. Glumac wound up at a seemingly open net, but Kotyk somehow recovered in time to snag the rebound attempt with his glove.
Two minutes later, Bacashihua somehow got a piece of Curtis Murphy’s rising slapper from the edge of the right circle.
Houston trailed just 1-0 with 7:02 left, but the Rivermen scored three times in a 3:01 stretch to put the game away.
Peoria extended its lead to two goals with 7:02 remaining in the third, as the Rivermen caught the Aeros in a line change. Glumac broke in alone in the right wing on a breakout pass from Mike Mottau, and he beat Kotyk for his sixth goal of the season.
Aeros’ leading scorer Erik Westrum picked up a double roughing minor, in addition to a 10-minute misconduct, with 5:57 left. He tried to fight Gavin Morgan (the two picked up roughing minors earlier in the period), but Morgan picked up no penalties on the play.
Just 14 seconds later, Sejna pounced on a rebound in front for his second goal of the game.
With the second penalty to Westrum still on the clock, Peoria scored on Byrne’s first of the season, with Bacashihua off the ice with another penalty upcoming.
The Aeros have now allowed an AHL-high 20 third-period goals in only 12 games.
Houston finished 0-for-3 on the power play, while Peoria went 2-for-7.
Notes: The Aeros scratched Josh Harding, Chris Heid, Erik Reitz, Anders Myrvold, Rem Murray, Bryan Lundbohm and Josh Olson. Houston veteran winger Joey Tetarenko returned after being a scratch for the last five games. He made his presence noticed right away, fighting Peoria toughguy Rocky Thompson 1:58 into the game. Peoria captain Brendan Buckley took a Murphy slapshot to the mouth in front of the net early in the second period. Buckley got up and skated immediately to the locker room. Houston was shut out for the first time since April 8, a 3-0 decision in Cincinnati. The Aeros have just one win in the last seven meetings with Worcester/Peoria. Westrum accrued 18 penalty minutes. The Aeros had 31 PIM’s, while Peoria finished with only 13. Evans finished with two assists. Tonight was Houston’s worst shutout loss since dropping a 5-0 decision in Milwaukee last March 10. Despite holding a 7-4-1-0 mark, the Aeros have been outscored 44-40 this season. Houston’s four regulation losses have been 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 4-0. Sejna finished with 10 shots.