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Aeros skate past Heat, 3-1

HOUSTON 3, ABBOTSFORD 1
Houston tallied two goals in a 2:43 span during the first period, and it proved to be the difference as the Aeros skated to a 3-1 win over visiting Abbotsford at the Toyota Center on Monday, improving to 3-0-0-0 against the Heat this season.

The Aeros previously swept a two-game set in Abbotsford on Jan. 22-23, and Monday’s victory moved them to 6-2-0-0 in their last eight contests overall. Houston now sits four points back of Chicago for the West Division’s final postseason spot.

Houston rookie Chad Rau began the night’s scoring with his 13th goal of the season at 14:27 of the opening frame, and Nathan Smith made it a 2-0 game at 17:10.

Heat defenseman Staffan Kronwall cut his club’s deficit in half with a power play strike just 51 seconds into the second frame, but Aeros rookie Cody Almond restored the two-goal advantage at the 10:43 mark.

Abbotsford fired 14 shots on goal to Houston’s one in the third period, but Aeros goaltender Wade Dubielewicz stopped them all and finished with 30 saves on the night. Dubielewicz improved his season record to 12-10-0.

The Heat are now winless in their last five contests (0-4-1-0) and have just one win in their last nine outings (1-6-2-0). At 21-22-4-3 overall, Abbotsford is below .500 for the first time all season.