Kirby Law and Matt Foy each scored twice and Josh Harding made 45 saves as Houston rolled to a 6-1 win over Peoria on Monday night and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the teams’ West Division semifinal series.
The Aeros go for the sweep in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
Law added an assist for a three-point night, giving him five points in the series after leading the league with 110 points in the regular season.
Joel Ward and Josh Olson also scored for Houston, and AHL rookie of the year Patrick O’Sullivan recorded two assists.
But before the Aeros broke the game open with a four-goal third period, the story was Harding, who stopped all 32 shots he faced through two periods and allowed only a Blake Evans goal with 7:35 left in regulation. Harding, who went 2-1-0 in three NHL outings with Minnesota late in the regular season, has now won 18 of his last 20 AHL decisions.
Chris Beckford-Tseu made 19 saves, and Gregg Naumenko allowed three goals on four shots in relief.
GRAND RAPIDS 4, TORONTO 1
Tomas Kopecky scored a pair of power-play goals as Grand Rapids spoiled Ricoh Coliseum’s Calder Cup Playoff debut with a 4-1 win over Toronto.
The Griffins take a 2-1 series lead into Wednesday night’s Game 4.
Eric Manlow scored his 13th career Calder Cup Playoff goal – his first since 2001 – and Nate DiCasmirro added an empty-netter in the final seconds.
Jimmy Howard, battered for 11 goals over the first two games of the series, made 35 saves in the victory, including 18 in the third period.
Aleksander Suglobov scored for the Marlies, already his fourth of the postseason.
MILWAUKEE 3, IOWA 2
Simon Gamache scored twice and Darren Haydar added a goal and two assists as Milwaukee took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-2 win in Iowa on Monday.
Gamache and Haydar were the Admirals’ top two scorers during their 2004 championship postseason. Haydar is currently second in the league with seven playoff points (2g, 5a), while Gamache has picked up three goals in the series.
Brian Finley made 23 saves in the win.
Marius Holtet and Toby Petersen scored for the Stars, who had won six of their previous seven home games.
Game 4 is tomorrow night at the Wells Fargo Arena.