Week 19 West Division AHL recaps-Aeros flying high

Houston Aeros (MIN)

The Houston Aeros took control of first place in the West Division and Western Conference with 68 points and a 32-20-1-3 record starting with a Wednesday against the Rockford Icehogs. The Aeros scored four unanswered goals in a 4-1 victory with netminder Matt Hackett making 24 saves. Nate Prosser scored at 17:59 of the second to end his near two month drought and J.M Daoust followed up with another for Houston at 19:17. Carson McMillan sealed the win for the Aeros with a 6-on-4 short-handed goal, his 10th of the season and third short-handed, with 26 seconds left in the game.

The Aeros continued their win streak, taking their sixth straight victory against the Peoria Rivermen 4-3 on Friday. It was the Aeros 12th win in 14 games, the six-game winning streak a season-high. Tender Anton Khudobin made a season-high 40 saves in net, his personal winning streak extended now to six games. Nate Prosser got the scoring started in the game at 9:14 into the first period. After two goals by Peoria, Patrick O’Sullivan evened things up for Houston in the second on a power play chance. Houston took the lead with a goal from Colton Gillies who converted a penalty shot at 4:54 of the third period. The game would be tied and head to a scoreless overtime, leading to a shootout were Cody Allmond scored for Houston, taking the win for the Aeros.

Houston’s streak ended on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to the Rivermen. Cody Almond scored the lone goal for Houston, his 12th goal of the season, at the 11:19 mark of the second period,converting on the second of two 5-on-3 opportunities. Khudobin made 18 saves, taking the loss.

Houston will see Chicago on Thursday, Friday Milwaukee and Rockford Saturday.

Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)

After taking control of most of the game, the Admirals faltered in the third, giving three unanswered goals in the third period to the Peoria Rivermen, sending the game into overtime. Peoria went on to take the win in the shoot out, 4-3, snapping the Admirals win streak at four. Chris Mueller helped Milwaukee draw first blood at 5:16 into the first period. Ryan Thang also scored in the first at 12:27 on a power-play chance. At 11:03 in the second period, on the power play Roman Josi scored his sixth of the season. Mark Dekanich did post an impressive 37 saves in the loss.

The Ad’s fell 5-2 to the Chicago Wolves on Friday, the seventh game of the Amtrak Rivalry. What Milwaukee did do was shut down the Wolves strong power play unit, stopping all six shorthanded chances. The Admirals scored first with a goal by Aaron Johnson at 8:25 in the first. Kelsey Wilson netted Milwaukee’s other goal at 16:05 in the third period. Jeremy Smith and Dekanich shared tender duties in the loss, Smith stopping 11 Chicago attempts and Dekanich stopping 10.

Mikwaukee made up for Friday’s loss by turning the score around in Rockford, beating the Icehogs 5-2 Sunday afternoonC. All five Admirals’ goals were scored in the first period,the most goals the Admirals have recorded in a period since vs Chicago in December of 2008. Chris Mueller and Mark Van Guilder each tallied a pair of goals, with Jonathan Blum scoring the final Milwaukee goal at 16:45 on a power play chance. The Admirals seemed to take the rest of the game off, tallying just three shots on goal in the second and third periods, giving them 16 on the night, their lowest total of the season. Mark Dekanich turned aside 28 shots for his 20th win of the season.

Friday Milwaukee will face Houston, with Peoria on Saturday and Texas on Sunday.

Peoria Rivermen (STL)

The Rivermen, even trailing by three goals, managed a comeback on Wednesday to earn a 4-3 shootout victory over the Milwaukee Admirals, their 30th win of the season. It was the second time Peoria was able to come back and force overtime against Milwaukee when down by three or more goals this season. Ben Bishop made 39 saves and stopped five of six in the shootout for his 14th win of the year. Derek Peltier scored his first goal of the year and sparked the Rivermen comeback just 1:10 into the third period. T.J. Hensick then scored a shorthanded goal and power-play goal, tying the match and sending it into overtime and eventual shootout.

On another shootout game, the third in their last four, the Rivermen on Friday night fell 4-3 to the Houston Aeros, the first of back-to-back games. Slava Trukhno put Peoria on the board first at 17:19 in the first period with a power play goal. Phil Mcrae gave the Rivermen the lead shortly after at 19:20 with another power play goal. Nicholas Drazenovic tied the game at 3-3 at 12:16 in the third, sending it to overtime. Jake Allen made 24 stops in the loss.

With the rematch on Sunday, the Rivermen took the win this time from Houston, the final score 3-1. Chris Porter scored the games first goal with a shorthanded chance at 9:03 in the first period. Dave Spina got the game winner in the seocnd period at 2:37. On a power play chance, Drazenovic again scored the last goal of the game at 15:28 in the third. Ben Bishop had the start in net, making 24 stops.

Peoria will face Rockford on Wednesday, Saturday Milwaukee and Grand Rapdis on Sunday.

San Antonio Rampage (PHX)

Parent team Phoenix traded for a sixth-round draft choice with the New York Islanders in exchange for goaltender Al Montoya. In 21 games with the Rampage, Montoya had posted an 11-8-0 record with a 3.19 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

Coming into Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Barons, the Rampage were on a seven-game point streak. The Barons snapped that streak with a 2-0 shutout. Head coach Ray Edwards pulled Matt Climie in favor of a sixth attacker with 1:38 remaining in the contest, though neither team was able to light the lamp in the third period. Climie made 27 saves on 29 Barons shot attempts.

The Rampage were able to beat the Manitoba Moose 2-1 on Friday night off two goals by Viktor Tikhonov who recorded his third multiple-point game of the season, in his fourth game back from a six-week absence due to a broken hand. Climie finished the game with 25 saves in the win.

San Antonio comtinued with their troubles, getting shut out 5-0 by the Manitoba Moose on Saturday night. The Rampage claim a 32-20-2-0 record good for 66 points. After allowing three goals in 31 minutes, head coach Ray Edwards substituted Climie for backup goaltender Joe Fallon. Climie ended with 22 saves while Fallon made 14 stops. The Rampage put up 22 shots in the loss.

San Antonio travels to Syracuse on Friday and Saturday to Hamilton.

Chicago Wolves (ATL)

While the Wolves managed to fall into a 5-0 hole in the opening 25 minutes, they pulled out a four-goal third period rally before eventually taking a 7-5 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins at the home Wednesday night. Drew MacIntyre started in net, making 15 saves during the first period, before being replaced by Peter Mannino to start the second who stopped 11 shots on goal. Five different Wolves players scored a goal, starting with Nigel Dawes at 17:35 on a 5-3 power play chance in the second period. Riley Holzapfel started the third period score fest at 2:59, followed by Andrew Kozak at 7:02, Ryan Garbutt at 14:31 and Darren Haydar at 17:18 with another power play goal.

The Wolves got their win on Friday at Milwaukee by way of a 5-2 score. Darren Haydar at 8:55 scored directly after an Admirals’ goal, tying it up. Ferdrik Pettersson gave the Wolves a 2-1 lead 5:51 into the second period. At 7:25 in the second, Tim Miller was able to score his second goal of the season. Mark Matheson started the scoring in the third at 1:44, with Nigel Dawes getting one at 12:45. Peter Mannino stopped 24 shots in the win.

Thursday the Wolves will see Houston, Rockford on Friday and Texas on Saturday.

Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)

The Barons managed to shut out the San Antonio Rampage by a score of 2-0 on Wednesday morning in the Barons first “kids game”. Due to a snow storm hitting Oklahoma City the night before and Wednesday morning, very few kids attended the game with the schools being closed. Although AHL listing posted a number of slightly over 2000, in reality, only around 300 fans were able to attend the game. The Barons staff treated those fans to an after game pic with the players and coaches on the ice.

Goaltender Martin Gerber made 33 saves in the win and gets his fourth shootout. Alexandre Giroux scored the first goal at 10:10 in the first period, his 27th goal of the season. Chris VandeVelde scored at 13:25 of the second, assisted by newly aquired from Edmonton Zack Stortini, his first assist as a Baron after being assigned on Feb. 2.

Oklahoma City sits in sixth place, with the entire week off. The Barons haven’t been entirely idle however, volenterring with the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, building walls that will be taken on site for new home construction. Members from the front office and coaching staff were also on hand. The Barons players also held their “rookie dinner” this week at a local downtown steak restauant, no official word yet on the total bill.

The Barons will return to play in Abootsford on Friday and Saturday, being a part of the Hertige Classic weekend in Canada.

Rockford Icehogs (CHI)

The Rockford IceHogs gave up four unanswered goals to the Houston Aeros, going on to take a 4-1 loss Wednesday at home. Jeff Taffe was Rockford’s lone goal with a power play point at 17:43 in the first period. Alec Richards took the loss after turning away 27 of 30 shots.

It was more of the same for the Rockford IceHogs on Friday as they dropped a 6-5 decision to the Texas Stars in overtime, first taking an early lead, then collapsing. At just 34-seconds into the first period, Igor Makarov flipped in his sixth goal of the season, the quickest goal of the season for Rockford. Peter LeBlanc notched a power-play goal at 4:11 of the second, followed by Ben Smith at 9:17, his seventh goal of season. Rob Klinkhammer also scored one in the second perion at 10:24. Brandon Bolig scored in the third giving Rockford the lead, but texas was able to come back and take the win in OT. Richards made 14 saves after replacing Hannu Toivonen, who stopped nine for the loss.

Rockford fell yet again in a one goal game, taking a 2-1 loss by the Texas Stars on Saturday. Penalties destroyed the Icehogs, including giving the Stars five in the second period alone. Rockford had nearly seven-straight minutes of short-handed play. Ryan Potulny in for his 14th goal of the season at 5:56 in the third was Rockford’s only point. Richards made 23 stops before being pulled and replaced by Hannu Toivonen, who made only 1 save on 1 shot attempt.

Again, the IceHogs struggled in the first period, letting the Milwaukee Admirals put up five goals in the first on Sunday, handing Rockford yet another loss, 5-2. The goals allowed matched an IceHogs record for most goals allowed in a single period. Rookie Kyle Beach put Rockford on the board at 17:45 of the opening period, his 11th goal of the season. Jeff Taffe knocked in his own rebound at 15:31 of the second period, his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Richards was tagged with the loss after turning away 21 of 24 shots faced in the contest.

Rockford will try to break their losing streak when they see Peoria on Wednesday, Chicago on Friday and then Houston on Saturday.

Texas Stars (DAL)

With 5,545 fans in attendence, the Texas Stars defeated the Rockford IceHogs 6-5 on Friday. The Stars scored four goals in the last five minutes of the first period, with goals by Cody Chupp, Luke Gazdic, Brad Lukowich, and Michael Neal. Defenseman Dan Spang notched the game-tying goal to force overtime at 13:59 in the third. Forward Greg Rallo scored the decisive goal to lift Texas over Rockford with only 3.3 seconds remaining in overtime. Goalie Brent Krahn made 29 saves in the win.

In back to back games, the Stars also took back to back wins over the IceHogs, taking 2-1 win on Saturday night in front of 5,588 fans. Left wing Brandon Segal scored first with ten seconds remaining in the opening period. Left Wing Ondrej Roman scored the game-winning goal on the power play at 8:57 in the second period. Roman had a multi-point night after assisting on the previous Texas goal. Richard Bachman blocked 23 shots, bringing the Stars record at home to 16-8-3-2.

Texas travels to Lake Erie on Monday and Wednesday, Grand Rapids on Friday and Chicago on Saturday.

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