made sure the Houston Aeros survived letting a 3-0 series lead slip away and advanced to the Calder Cup Finals anyway.
The Aeros captain stuffed in a rebound off a scramble in front of the net with 1:13 left in regulation Tuesday night for a 4-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 7 of AHL Western Conference Finals at Toyota Center in Houston.
Houston will now face Binghamton in the Calder Cup Finals and host Game 1 on Friday night.
The series mirrored two others that had already taken place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year -- Vancouver was forced to a Game 7 after taking a 3-0 lead over Chicago in the first round and San Jose had the same thing happen against Detroit in the second round, but both the Canucks and Sharks survived.
Three NHL teams have rallied from 3-0 deficits to advance in a playoff series. Hamilton was bidding to become the third AHL team to accomplish the feat.
and Casey Wellman
scored nine seconds apart in the first period to stake the Aeros to a 2-0 lead before the Bulldogs came back before the opening 20 minutes were up on goals by Dustin Boyd
and Mathieu Carle
Wellman's second of the game 2:42 into the second period put the Aeros ahead again, 3-2, but the Bulldogs had another rally left in them as Aaron Palushaj
connected on the power play and evened the score heading into the third.
Winning goalie Matt Hackett
stopped 24 shots for Houston, while Drew MacIntyre
finished with 30 saves for Hamilton.