Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
For the second consecutive game, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights triumphed in a shootout over the Houston Aeros at Toyota Center. The Knights used goals from Andrei Taratukhin and Carsen Germyn to escape a two-goal, third period deficit with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, and then they outlasted the Aeros in a 13-round shootout for a 4-3 victory. Rookie Dustin Boyd notched a goal and two assists, plus the deciding shootout tally.
Peter Ratchuk tallied a goal and an assist, rookie Ryan Hamilton also scored a power play goal and Josh Harding made 37 saves for Houston (10-13-0-3), which is 0-2-0-2 overall against Omaha this season after beating them in all five home meetings last season. Joel Ward added a goal.Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan and Joey Tetarenko. The Aeros held a moment of silence before the game for Chelsey Campbell, a 16-year-old high school student who served as the honorary Aero on Opening Night. The Minnesota Wild assigned RW Mattias Weinhandl to the Aeros this afternoon after he cleared waivers. Weinhandl has two points (1-1=2) in 13 games with the Wild this season. He missed several games with a concussion. McIlhenny is expected in Houston in the next two days. Olvecky last scored in Game 1 of last season’s West Division Semifinals, April 21 against Peoria. The Aeros are 5-0-0-2 all-time at home versus Omaha. Ratchuk has 10 points (3-7=10) in the last 11 games. The Aeros allowed two power play goals - matching their total from the last nine home games combined.
The Aeros face Manitoba on Wednesday at Toyota Center. You can buy tickets by calling 1.866.GO.AEROS, or online 24/7. It’s also a Maple Leaf Pub Happy Hour Game.
Curtis McElhinney made 28 saves for Omaha (16-7-2-0), which had shut out Houston in each of the teams’ first three meetings this season. McElhinney had earned two of those shutouts.
The teams have played overtime and/or a shootout in nine of the 14 all-time meetings.
Hamilton, playing his second game back after missing 10 with an upper body injury, scored a power play goal 3:03 into the game. It marked Houston’s first goal versus Omaha in 188:03 this season. Curtis Murphy, at the center point, lobbed the puck off the end boards, and Ben Thomson caught up with it in the left corner. Skating back towards the net, Thomson fed Hamilton in the left circle, and the rookie rifled a one-timer high glove side and by McElhinney for his third goal of the season.
Boyd’s team leading 11th goal, also on the power play, got Omaha even 5:45 into the first period. Mark Giordano, at the left point, found an unmarked Boyd at the right doorstep. Boyd touched the puck easily into the net.
Aeros winger Peter Olvecky, who has gone 30 games since his last goal, had two golden opportunities with eight minutes gone in the first. But McElhinney stopped his first attempt, and Olvecky’s whack at the bouncing rebound was also turned aside.
The Aeros got two full minutes of a 5-on-3 with 11:16 left in the second period after a massive altercation in the Aeros’ defensive zone. Houston’s Erik Reitz fought Brad Ference, while Ryan Stokes duked it out with Derek Couture, with both of those players drawing game misconducts.
Houston didn’t get a shot, but 31 seconds into the 5-on-3, Giordano picked up a hooking penalty. That infraction didn’t go on the board until both the other penalties were over, and Ratchuk put Houston ahead with 8:44 remaining in the second.
Chris Ovington, in the left circle, flipped the puck to Ratchuk at the center point. With Roman Voloshenko providing a screen, Ratchuk slapped the puck by McElhinney, stick side, for his third goal of the season.
Houston’s hard-working third line made it 3-1 just 1:13 into the third. Josh Olson took a Clayton Stoner feed in the left circle and whistled a shot wide of the near post. The puck caromed off the boards to Ward at the right post, and the second-year winger popped the puck into an open net for his third goal of the season.
Harding made a nice save 3:30 into the third. David Moss got loose in the right circle and tried to go five hole, but Harding closed the gap while sliding to his left.
McElhinney stoned Olvecky on a breakaway with 6:30 gone in the third.
Aeros winger Roman Voloshenko also broke in alone with 6:00 remaining, but McElhinney made the pad save. That turned out to be a huge point in the game, keeping Houston’s lead at two goals.
Boyd set up Taratukhin with a nice play out of the corner to get the Knights within 3-2 with 4:13 left in regulation. In the right corner, Taratukhin flipped a blind pass to Taratukhin, who deflected the puck by Harding for his third goal of the season.
Ovington picked up an interference penalty with 2:35 left, setting up Omaha for the tying goal. Twenty-three seconds into the power play, Omaha called timeout and pulled McElhinney with 2:11 remaining.
On the ensuing faceoff, Germyn’s sixth goal of the season tied things up at 3-3. Boyd, in the left corner, flung the puck to a wide-open Germyn at the edge of the goal crease. Germyn got the puck by Harding stick side.
Houston got called for too many men on the ice with 4:13 left in overtime. Ward stole the puck at center ice and caused a hooking penalty on Giordano with 51 ticks left in the bench minor.
That set up 1:09 of 3-on-3 hockey, and Taratukhin ripped a shot just over the crossbar.
Houston picked off a failed clear when the power play began, and Irmen wound up from the right circle, but McElhinney made a sprawling glove save.
After the man advantage expired, Voloshenko snapped the puck out of the left corner, and McElhinney trapped it between the post and his right skate.
Aeros rookie Danny Irmen won a key faceoff to Harding’s right against Moss with 10 seconds left in the extra session.
After having his own team shoot first in Thursday’s shootout loss against Omaha, Daum opted to have the Knights go first tonight. Germyn led off for Omaha and tried to deke Harding to the ground, but the netminder made a pad save. Voloshenko countered for Houston and saw his shootout record fall to 4-for-6 on the season when McElhinney got a piece of his attempt with his glove.
Moss went for Omaha in round two, but Harding made an outstanding skate save. Alex Leavitt had his attempt get pokechecked away from McElhinney.
Taratukhin faked the same move he scored on Thursday night, but snapped the shot just wide of the left post. Ward’s shot got under McElhinney, but also went just wide of the right post.
Giordano tried to go low on Harding, who got a piece of the puck with his stick. Curtis Murphy countered with a top shelf goal, putting Omaha on the brink of elimination with Houston’s first goal of the shootout.
Boyd went high blocker side to even the score, knocking the water bottle out of the air. Irmen backhanded a shot that just missed the near post, setting up sudden death.
Taratukhin did the same move as Thursday, deking left and scoring right. Voloshenko, Houston’s last hope, went five hole to even the shootout at 2-2.
Harding got Boyd’s attempt with his glove, and Murphy backhanded a shot wide.
In round seven, Germyn rang a shot off the post, and Leavitt shot it into McElhinney.
Giordano went for Omaha, and Harding made the stick save. McElhinney did the same with Irmen’s attempt.
Moss, the Knight’ shooter in the 10th round, went glove side, and Harding was up to the task. But McElhinney made a pad save on Harding.
Harding downright robbed Taratukhin with the glove in round 11, and McElhinney got a piece of Voloshenko’s shot with his glove.
Germyn’s attempt hit Harding’s blocker, and Leavitt went over the crossbar with a slapper.
Boyd went with a backhander top shelf and scored in round 13, and Irmen’s shot hit McElhinney’s pad and ricocheted into the corner.
Houston finished 2-for-8 on the power play, while Omaha went 2-for-7. The Aeros entered the game 1-for-21 with the man advantage in their last three games.