|Rampage 1, Aeros 0 (OT)
| Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas – Karl Goehring picked up where teammate David LeNeveu left off last night with 41 saves and Yanick Lehoux scored the game’s lone goal 25 seconds into overtime, as the San Antonio Rampage knocked off the Houston Aeros 1-0 at Toyota Center in the back end of a home-and-home. San Antonio, which earned a 3-0 victory at AT&T Center last night behind 53 saves from LeNeveu, has earned three straight victories against Houston, and snapped a nine-game losing streak at Toyota Center. Houston hasn’t scored on 94 shots against Rampage netminders in the last two nights, and has scored only one even strength goal in the last four meetings against San Antonio.
Seamus Kotyk was strong in defeat, making 15 saves for the Aeros (45-19-2-2), who still clinched a spot in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs while pushing their lead over second-place Milwaukee to four points. Houston kicks off a five-game road trip Thursday in Omaha at 7 p.m.
The Aeros have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since January 8 (Milwaukee) and January 9 (Worcester), 2005. Tonight marked Houston’s first 1-0 overtime/shootout game since losing at Hartford on November 1, 2004.
Like Saturday’s game, when the Aeros outshot San Antonio 53-23, Houston again dominated play early. A night after getting 10 of the game’s first 11 shots, the Aeros had a 12-1 shot advantage midway through the first and finished the stanza with an 18-5 lead in shots. But this time it was Goehring putting up zeroes.
Houston’s Scott Ferguson crashed the net and got a bouncing puck on Goehring five minutes into the first, but the goalie covered up.
With the Aeros on a power play a minute later, Goehring just got a shoulder on Patrick O’Sullivan’s crank from the left circle.
Houston heavyweight Joey Tetarenko earned a clear-cut decision over veteran Steve Gainey with 5:14 left in the first. Tetarenko was called for roughing in the corner, and on his way to the box, Gainey skated by him. Tetarenko, a former Rampage winger, landed no fewer than 10 straight rights but was also called for a 10-minute misconduct.
Kotyk just got a piece of Rampage leading scorer Layne Ulmer’s point-blank power play shot with one minute left, and the puck then glanced off the post before Clayton Stoner got it our of harm’s way.
Houston got a power play to begin the third when the Rampage got a bench minor, but it was San Antonio that got the best chance. In a play strikingly similar to Saturday’s first goal, Yanick Lehoux stole the puck at the Aeros blueline and skated in all alone on Kotyk. But this time, Kotyk made the glove save.
Kotyk made another great save on Houston’s next power play, as Jakub Koreis let go of a 2-on-1 slapshot. Kotyk got the puck with his shoulder and floated it wide of the net.
The Aeros got 55 seconds of a 5-on-3 when Matthew Spiller went for high-sticking at 5:18 of the second, but Goehring didn’t have to make a save on the two-man advantage. Matt Foy sent a deflection just wide of the net at the end of Spiller’s penalty.
Ferguson helped save the day midway through the second, when he blocked Chouinard’s shot from the right circle with a dive as Kotyk was recovering from the other post.
Seconds later on the other end, Goehring made back-to-back dynamite saves on two boomers from Adam Courchaine and Erik Reitz.
Houston’s Roman Voloshenko and Kirby Law then had two great chances to score with 7:30 left. Voloshenko pushed a 4-on-1 attempt just wide. Law gathered the rebound, deked Goehring out of position and let loose, but Goehring recovered with his left pad enough to kick out the attempt.
With Goerhing out of position after making three outstanding saves with four minutes remaining in the second, Reitz sent a shot from along the goal line in the right corner that skidded through the crease untouched.
Thirty seconds later, the Aeros found themselves with another lengthy 5-on-3, this one for 1:40, after back-to-back penalties to defensemen Spiller and Brad Tiley. Houston got one shot in that span, but Goehring made a stick save.
Foy broke out of the box and in on a partial breakaway in the opening minute of the third period, but Goehring again stood his ground.
San Antonio sniper Pavel Brendl, a former first-round pick, snuck behind the defense on a Rampage power play with 11:30 remaining in regulation, but he snapped a shot well wide.
The Rampage got another power play less than three minutes later, when Ferguson was whistled for his second straight hooking minor. Early on, Kotyk kicked out a Tiley blast from the right point, and Pascal Rheaume pushed a rebound just wide. Soon after, Lehoux deflected a Tiley drive just over the net.
Kotyk stoned Justin Cox from the left doorstep with 2:24 left in regulation.
Goehring saved his best for late in regulation, with 1:10 left. Erik Westrum, in the left circle, slid a pass to a cutting Law in the right circle. Law had a great look, but a diving Goehring made the save.
Just 25 seconds into overtime, Lehoux scored his 15th goal – third in the last two nights against Houston. Lehoux took a pass from Joel Perrault, danced around an Aeros defender in the right circle and unleashed a high drive over Kotyk’s left shoulder.
Houston finished 0-for-8 on the power play, while San Antonio went 0-for-6.
Notes: Not dressing for the Aeros were Colin Peters, Bill Kinkel, newcomer Greg Mauldin and Andrei Nazarov. O’Sullivan, the AHL’s leading rookie scorer, has been held without a point in three straight games for the first time since a stretch of four straight from October 21-28. Houston had beaten San Antonio nine straight times at Toyota Center. Its regulation unbeaten streak is still intact at 14 straight meetings (12-0-2-0). The Aeros have now dropped two straight one-goal games after winning six in a row. Still, Houston is 21-6-2-2 in one-goal games and 28-10-2-2 in games decided by two goals or less.