ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Fatigue was not a factor for Maxim Noreau on Friday night.
The Aeros defenceman scored twice and added an assist in Houston’s 7-1 drubbing of the Abbotford Heat in American Hockey League action. Noreau, who endured exhausting travel schedule as a result of the AHL all-star game earlier in the week in Portland, Maine, showed no signs of rust.
He opened the scoring on the power play in the first, restored Houston’s two goal-lead in the second and then set up all three of the Aeros’ goals in the third.
“We got a good start, the whole team played well tonight, it was just one of those nights when everyone was kind of going,” said Noreau. “We got a couple flukey goals there in the end, but it was a huge win for us.”
Special teams were critical as Houston went 4-for-7 on the power play and killed off all six Abbotsford man-advantage chances.
The Aeros opened up a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to power-play goals from Noreau and Petr Kalus.
Abbotsford got on the board in the second when John Negrin one-timed a point shot past Aeros netminder Wade Dubilewicz, but the Heat would get no closer.
“For sure it was frustrating,” said Heat assistant coach Steve O’Rourke of the team’s inability to build on Negrin’s goal. “Our penalty killing wasn’t sharp. We cut it down to 2-1 there, but we took another penalty and had our backs against the wall again.”
Houston regained the two-goal lead just over seven minutes later when Noreau scored his second of the night, also on the power play. Before the period was out the Aeros opened up a 4-1 lead on Jean-Michel Daoust’s team-leading 15th of the season.
Houston got third-period goals from Carson McMillan, Nathan Smith and Cody Almond to round out the scoring.
“Guys were making plays, just making hard passes. We were all already up so we just tried to keep it simple and the puck just kept going in,” Noreau said of his three third-period assists.
“It was just a pretty lucky night.”
Heat netminder Leland Irving allowed all seven goals on just 23 shots in taking his 15th loss of the season. Dubilewicz made 26 saves to pick up his 10th win.