SAN ANTONIO, Texas -
Ryan Garlock snapped a second period tie with a shorthanded penalty shot, and Nick Martens added a third period goal, as the San Antonio Rampage knocked off the Houston Aeros 4-2 in the teams’ final pre-season game at the Ice Center at Northwoods. Yanick Lehoux and Randall Gelech also scored for San Antonio, which avenged a 5-4 shootout loss last night in Sugar Land. Phil Sauve made 12 saves for the Rampage, while Josh Tordjman got the win with 12 stops in relief.
Alex Leavitt and Ryan Hamilton tallied a goal apiece for Houston, which opens the regular season Saturday against Grand Rapids at Toyota Center at 7:35 p.m. (Buy Tickets
). Miroslav Kopriva made 13 stops, while Matt Yeats countered with 12 saves for Houston.
Lehoux got San Antonio on board just 97 seconds into the game, taking a loose puck in the left circle and sending a shot towards Kopriva. The puck snuck in between Kopriva’s right pad and the skate for a 1-0 lead.
The Rampage made it 2-0 at 11:51 of the first, with a perfect passing play. Bryan Helmer, in the left circle, slid a backhanded pass to Lehoux along the goal line. Lehoux touched the puck to Gelech in the low slot, and Gelech easily tapped the puck into the open net.
Leavitt’s second goal in as many nights got Houston within 2-1 with 1:51 left in the first. Danny Irmen dumped the puck in and chased to the right corner after it. The puck squirted to Roman Voloshenko along the goal line on the left side, and last season’s rookie sensation fed a cutting Leavitt on the doorstep. Leavitt showed nice touch, ripping a shot high over Sauve’s glove.
The Aeros tied it up 4:21 into the second, with Hamilton’s first goal of the pre-season. Curtis Murphy lofted a shot from the point, and Hamilton deflected it under a surprised Sauve.
Kopriva prevented the Rampage from reclaiming the lead just after that, robbing Lehoux of a second goal on a breakaway.
Aeros rookie Riley Emmerson (6-foot-8) took on Jason Beckett in the near corner at the 5:40 mark of the second, sending the former Aero to the ice with a big punch.
The goalies changed out midway through the second, and Garlock tested Yeats with a penalty shot with the Rampage shorthanded. Garlock intercepted a bad pass from Paul Albers with Houston on the power play, and Albers had to take Garlock down in the Aeros zone. Garlock walked in on Yeats and went high on the goalie.
Martens made it 4-2 with 9:05 left in the third. Kyle Wilson blocked a Murphy shot just inside the Houston blueline and skated up ice 2-on-2 with Martens, who rifled a one-timer from the left circle high over Yeats.
Each team went 0-for-8 on the power play. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Tony Quesada, Tom Lawson, Erik Reitz, A.J. Thelen, Peter Ratchuk, Kevin Baker, Jason Morgan, Ben Thomson, Alexei Smirnov, Mike Madill, Matt Foy and Mike Bayrack. Murphy, Bryan Lundbohm and Joey Tetarenko wore the "A" for alternate captain for the Aeros. At one point in the third period, both the 6-foot-8 Emmerson and 6-foot-7 John Scott were on the ice for Houston. Andrew Ferraro, the Aeros’ beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, sang the National Anthem while also serving as public address announcer and DJ for the Ice Center at Northwoods.