Dan Cavanaugh snapped a 28-game goal drought with his fifth career two-goal game and Josh Harding made 25 saves for his third straight win as the Houston Aeros defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-1, in a key West Division matchup on Monday night.
The game was played in front of 12,204 fans at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., home of the Aeros’ parent club, the Minnesota Wild.
Matt Foy also scored and Marc Cavosie tied a career high with two assists as fourth-place Houston moved six points clear of Grand Rapids and within a point of third-place Cincinnati with three games in hand.
Joey MacDonald turned aside 26 shots and Ryan Barnes scored for Grand Rapids, which has lost two straight after a 4-0-1-0 stretch.
Harding earned his first three-game winning streak while lowering his goals-against average to 1.99. Harding, 14-12-1, now ranks fifth in the AHL in GAA and second among rookies to Lowell’s Cam Ward (1.95).
HARTFORD 3, UTAH 2 (OT)
Jeff Hamilton scored with less than 45 seconds remaining in overtime as Hartford escaped with a 3-2 win over host Utah on Monday.
Eight of Hamilton’s 18 goals this season have been game-winners. He set an AHL record in 2003-04 with 15 game-winning goals.
Jed Ortmeyer had two assists and Steve Valiquette made 24 saves for the Wolf Pack, who regained a share of first place in the Atlantic Division with the win.
Kiel McLeod and Erik Westrum scored for the Grizzlies.
The teams meet again at The “E” Center on Wednesday night.