Scott Henninger, Communications Manager
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
AEROS COME-BACK LEADS TO A 3-2 OVERTIME WIN OVER PEORIA FOR SERIES LEAD
HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Aeros score two goals within the final five minutes of the game to force overtime and move the Peoria Rivermen to the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win. The victory was Houston’s third come-from-behind win over the Rivermen this season. Game Six is slated for Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. when the Aeros could end Peoria’s season and move on to face Milwaukee with a win. Fans are invited to the Maple Leaf Pub to watch the contest for another Calder Cup Playoff viewing party.
Anton Khudobin backstopped the Aeros with 30 saves in his third win of the post season. Matt Beaudoin led Houston with two points, the team’s first goal and an assist on the overtime game-winner. Manny Legace stopped 16-of-19 shots for the Rivermen in 72:14 of ice time, the entire contest. Jeff Cowan and Steve Regier netted the goals for the Rivermen.
Houston earned two power plays in the first half of the opening period, but couldn’t convert and the momentum slowly shifted in Peoria’s favor. The Rivermen outshot the Aeros 12-5 in the period, and had a couple good chances on the final power play of the period when Aeros’ defenseman Brandon Rogers went to the box at 17:08. Goaltender Anton Khudobin stayed strong in the Aeros net and stopped all 12 shots he faced. It was the most shots in a period for the Rivermen since the third period of game two when they had 13 shots.
At the halfway point of the second period, the game was still 0-0 and marked the longest 0-0 game of the series. Peoria was held without a shot until the 13-minute mark of the period, but the visitors kept coming and buried the first goal of the contest at the 17:18 mark. After a shot and ensuing scrum in front of the net, Danny Richmond kicked the loose puck over to Cowan who one-timed it into the open net to unlock the scoreless tie and give the Rivermen a 1-0 lead. Houston outshot the Rivermen 8-5 in the period, and neither team was able to convert on five power plays apiece.
Peoria added to their lead at 12:48 in the final period when the Aeros turned the puck over just outside of their zone to Steve Regier who skated the disc in and rifled a shot over Khudobin’s shoulder and in. The shot came so hard it hit the netting in the top of the net and flew right back out for a 2-0 lead.
The Rivermen provided a power play for the Aeros with 4:28 left in the game which the Aeros took advantage of quickly bringing the team within one goal. Houston won the faceoff and sent it along the right-wing boards where Corey Locke picked it up. A Peoria defenseman tied Locke up and as he fell to the ice flipped the puck to Tony Hrkac. The centerman quickly passed to Beaudoin on the far side of the net and slammed the puck home just 11 seconds into the power play.
Houston controlled the puck following the goal and just 1:30 after scored the tying goal that eventually forced overtime. After a series of passes that led to Peoria intercepting the puck, Robbie Earl stole the puck back and sent it to Justin Falk who put the shot on net. The ensuing rebound was snagged by Earl who stuffed it in to tie the contest at two apiece.
The game was decided over 12 minutes into the extra session after some big special teams’ action. Houston was called for the first penalty in the sudden death when Locke went to the box with a cross-checking penalty. 54 seconds later Early was penalized for hooking, giving Peoria a five-on-three advantage for 1:06. Houston was able to kill off both penalties with some good chances for the Rivermen to seal the deal. At the 10:00 minute mark Peoria returned the favor putting Houston on a power play and provided a two-man advantage for a brief period near the end of the initial call. Only 14 seconds into the ensuing five-on-four Maxim Noreau was set up by Beaudoin for the game winning wrist shot from just inside the blue line.
- The game was the longest 0-0 tie to start a game in the series. The first goal came 37:18 into the game eclipsing the previous longest scoreless time in Game 2 that lasted 29:13.
- Three Aeros extended their point streaks to three games: Corey Locke with four points (2-2=4), Tony Hrkac also with four points (1-3=4) and Matt Beaudoin with five (1-4=5) of his six playoff points.
- Beaudoin (1-5=6) and Locke (3-3=6) lead the Aeros this post season with six points.
- Houston leads the series 3-2 and has an all-time record of 5-1 when leading a best-of-seven series three games to two.
- Through five games in this series Houston has not allowed more than seven shots in the third period.
- The Aeros improved to a record of 8-37 when trailing after two periods in playoff games.
– HOUSTON AEROS: The Calder Cup, Our Reason –