Bulldogs, Aeros post Thursday wins

Corey Locke recorded one goal and two assists on Friday night as the Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Toronto Marlies, 4-1, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The Bulldogs, who improved their record to 4-6-0-0, are a perfect 3-0-0-0 against the Marlies this season.

The Bulldogs opened the scoring with the man advantage at the 3:30 mark of the first period. Ron Hainsey’s point shot missed the net and bounced back off the boards and onto the stick of Locke, who snapped a shot past Marlies goaltender J.F.Racine from the side of the crease.

Toronto tied the game 2:20 later when Brett Engelhardt’s shot from the top of the face-off circle was tipped into an open net by Marlies forward Kris Newbury.

Hamilton regained the lead at 19:23 of the first period on the power play, when Hainsey received a cross-ice pass from rookie Andre Benoit and fired a slapshot from the point past a screened Racine.

Hamilton extended the lead to 3-1 at 3:10 of the second period when Duncan Milroy picked up a loose puck in the crease and tapped it into the net.

Hamilton rounded out the scoring in the game at 13:16 of the second period with a two-man advantage, when Brad Winchester scored his first goal as a Bulldog, deflecting in a Marc-Antoine Pouliot pass from the side of the net.

Hamilton goaltender Ty Conklin made 17 saves for the Bulldogs and earned the win. He was replaced in the second period by Olivier Michaud, who stopped all 23 shots he faced.

The teams meet again Saturday night at Copps Coliseum.

Erik Westrum snapped a tie with 5:55 left in regulation, and he and Kurtis Foster each finished with a goal and an assist as the Houston Aeros defeated the Iowa Stars, 5-3, at Toyota Center in the first-ever meeting between the teams.

Clayton Stoner notched his first career AHL goal, Kirby Law and Bryan Lundbohm also scored and Seamus Kotyk stopped 29 shots for the Aeros, who opened a six-game homestand.

Vojtech Polak tallied two goals and an assist, Dan Jancevski also scored and former Aero Mike Smith turned aside 18 shots for the Stars, who have lost three of four.

Iowa came out with jump in its step, outshooting Houston 10-3 in a scoreless first period. The Aeros have been outshot 31-5 in the first 20 minutes of their last two games.

Houston broke through at 8:16 of the second period, as Westrum fed a wide open Law at the blueline, and the Aeros captain rushed in on a breakaway. Law waited for his former teammate Smith to commit, then slid the puck under his pads for his seventh goal of the year.

Iowa answered back with Polak’s shorthanded goal with 3:15 remaining in the second. Polak took a feed from Yan Stastny on the right wing and beat Kotyk high short side.

It took Houston only 33 seconds to answer back, on the same power play, but Polak’s second of the night, 2:05 into the third, evened the game at 2-2.

Again, the Aeros came right back, getting Foster’s fourth of the season 1:54 later off a feed from Patrick O’Sullivan.

Jancevski got the Stars right back even, rifling a shot from the left point at the 7:09 mark. But Westrum scored the game-winner with 5:55 showing. He quickly picked the puck off a Star’s stick behind the goal and, with Smith’s stick elevated, snuck the puck just inside the near post for his sixth goal of the season.

Iowa pulled Smith with 2:18 on the clock with a power play going on, but Kotyk made four saves before Jancevski was called for a penalty, ending the threat. With Smith again pulled, Lundbohm found the net for the empty net goal with nine seconds left.