|Aeros 4, Rampage 3 (OT)
| Official Box Score SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Rookie Ryan Stokes’ first goal as an Aero came 1:32 into overtime after former Rampage centerman Petr Taticek tied the game 27 seconds into the third period, as the Houston Aeros rallied from two goals down for their seventh straight victory, a 4-3 decision over the San Antonio Rampage at SBC Center. Taticek and Clayton Stoner each tallied a goal and an assist, Josh Olson also scored, Kirby Law chipped in two helpers and Seamus Kotyk had 26 saves for Houston, which has won seven straight for the first time since December 21, 2002-January 3, 2003. The Aeros, who at 25-8-1-1 have their most victories ever after 35 games, are off until Thursday, when they travel to SBC Center again for a 7 p.m. tilt.
Newly-acquired Pavel Brendl tallied two goals and an assist, Martin Sonnenberg added a goal and two helpers and David LeNeveu made 29 saves for San Antonio, which went 0-4-1-0 in a five-game stretch this week after winning five of its previous seven.
The Aeros’ top line started pressing early, and LeNeveu snared an Erik Westrum point-blank drive with his glove just 23 seconds into the game.
After San Antonio killed off two penalties, Brendl’s first as a member of the Rampage put his team on top at the 7:34 mark. Brendl took a pass in the low right circle from Sonnenberg, took a step in on Kotyk and ripped a high shot by the goalie.
Houston rookie Patrick O’Sullivan picked David Cornacchia’s pocket at center ice with the Aeros penalty killing with eight minutes left, and the rookie skated in alone on LeNeveu. The netminder kicked out O’Sullivan’s quick wrister, keeping Houston off the board.
Brendl’s second of the period put the Rampage on top by two goals with 2:31 left. Sonnenberg floated a 2-on-1, left-to-right pass to a streaking Brendl, who one-timed the puck by a sprawled Kotyk.
The Aeros were held off the board in the first period for the first time in six games, since December 11 in Cleveland.
Olson’s seventh of the season, with the Aeros shorthanded, got Houston within 2-1 at 5:05 of the second. Rem Murray hit Ray Schultz hard into the corner boards, leaving Olson, the former Rampage winger, and Erik Reitz on a 2-on-1 heading the other way. Olson, on the left wing, unleashed a furious drive off the crossbar and into the net.
Just 90 seconds later, Stoner’s third goal of 2005-06 got Houston even. Taticek sprung Law up the right wing, and LeNeveu stopped the Aeros’ captain. Law stayed with the puck and fed a cutting Stoner in the left circle. Stoner one-timed the puck just inside the near post for his first goal since November 11.
LeNeveu made a great toe save on Westrum with 3:10 left in the second, and the AHL’s leading scorer then ripped a shot high into the netting.
Seconds later on the other end, Sonnenberg’s team-best ninth goal put the Rampage back on top 3-2 with 2:46 left. Stoner crushed Brendl in the left circle, but the puck squirted between the circles to Sonnenberg, who pushed a backhanded five hole under Kotyk.
The Aeros evened things up with Taticek’s new career-best eighth of the season, only 27 seconds into the third. LeNeveu lost his stick, and with a crush of bodies in front of the goalie, Stoner threw a puck near the net from the left circle. Taticek gathered the puck and slid a backhander just inside the near post.
Kotyk made up for Sonnenberg’s goal, sliding post-to-post to rob him 1:55 into the third.
Aeros’ rookie defenseman Ryan Stokes made a diving play to break up a Brendl breakaway four minutes into the final period.
The teams played the entire final 20 minutes of regulation without a penalty.
In overtime, Kotyk kicked out the pads to stone Jakub Koreis’ point blast off an Eric Chouinard faceoff win.
On the ensuing play, Murray picked off a pass at his own blueline. He got the puck to O’Sullivan, who overskated the puck inside the blueline. Stokes, in his 38th game of his AHL career and 31st this season, snapped a quick shot top shelf by LeNeveu.
Houston improved to 2-1 in overtime games.
Houston finished 0-for-3 on the power play, while San Antonio went 0-for-6.
Notes: Not dressing for the Aeros were Josh Harding (flu), Adam Courchaine, Mark Rooneem, Peter Olvecky, Scott Ferguson and Andrei Nazarov. Houston has trailed in 12 of its 25 victories, including four deficits of two goals. The Aeros also rallied from two down for a 4-3 overtime win versus Omaha four games ago. Westrum had his 10-game point streak snapped. Law has 14 points (7-7=14) in a seven-game point streak, a season-high. Aeros winger Matt Foy had his career-high-tying, five-game point streak snapped. Taticek’s five-game point streak (2-6=8) is a season-high. Houston is 24-1-0-0 when scoring three or more goals. Houston is 14-1-0-0 when outshooting an opponent. Aeros winger Joey Tetarenko played in his 299th AHL game. Reitz became the 13th Aero and fourth defenseman in team history to play in 200 games. Olson tied Law for the team lead with two shorthanded goals.