Official Box Score SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
Reigning AHL goal champion Donald MacLean scored two goals in regulation and added a score in the shootout, as the San Antonio Rampage rallied from two goals down to defeat the Houston Aeros 5-4 at AT&T Center to finish off one of the longest days in Aeros team history. Yanick Lehoux added a goal and three assists, Logan Stephenson also scored and Phil Sauve made 28 saves as San Antonio (2-3-0-0) snapped a three-game skid.
Wyatt Smith and Josh Olson scored 40 seconds apart midway through the second period, and rookies Ryan Hamilton and Alex Leavitt (pictured) scored their first pro goals for Houston (0-4-0-1), which picked up its first point of the season. Josh Harding
made 22 stops.
It was a long day of travel for Houston, which saw its flight out of Des Moines this morning cancelled. Instead, the Aeros left Iowa in a bus for Omaha at 4:45 a.m., and flew from Omaha to Dallas. The Aeros took a 4 ½-hour bus ride from Dallas to San Antonio, arriving at AT&T Center at 4:44 p.m. – one minute shy of 12 hours from the beginning of their journey and 46 minutes away from warm-up time.
But none of that mattered early on.
Hamilton’s first pro goal put Houston on top just 3:01 into the game. Joey Tetarenko took a feed from Leavitt in the left circle and neatly found Hamilton untouched at the right doorstep. Hamilton redirected the puck into the open net.
MacLean was wide open with an empty net eight minutes into the first, but he ripped a shot high and wide on the power play.
But seconds later, MacLean got his revenge to tie the game. MacLean backhanded a bouncing rebound by Harding for his first goal of the game.
The Aeros got 1:35 of a 5-on-3 at the midway point of the first, but got just two shots on Sauve.
After the two-man advantage ended, Sauve somehow stopped Matt Foy’s apparently wide open rebound attempt.
MacLean’s second of the game, again on the power play, gave San Antonio its first lead just 1:14 into the middle period. MacLean grabbed a Bryan Helmer feed in the left circle and blistered a rising rocket over Harding.
Houston took the lead with two goals in a 40-second span, and three in a 3:31 span, midway through the second.
Smith got the Aeros even with the team’s third power play goal of the season at the 7:17 mark. Roman Voloshenko kept the puck alive along the left wing boards to Shawn Belle at the point. Belle stepped into a shot through traffic, and Sauve made the initial save, but the rebound went straight up into the air. An off-balance Smith slid the rebound by the netminder for his second of the season.
Only 40 seconds later, Olson finished a great steal by Danny Irmen. Irmen stole the puck along the hashmarks on the right wing side, and hit Olson with a 2-on-1 pass. Olson missed most of his first shot, and a falling Sauve got a piece of the puck with his stick. Sauve, fooled by the soft shot, was on the ground as Olson lifted a rebound up and over him for his first goal of the season.
Just 10 seconds after the Aeros killed off a San Antonio power play, Leavitt gave Houston its first two-goal lead of the season at 10:48. Belle stole the puck at his own blueline and went coast to coast up the right side. He shot from the circle, and Sauve let the puck get under his shoulder. It squirted right to a cutting Leavitt low in the left circle, and the rookie put the puck in the net while getting pushed to the ice for his first AHL goal.
NHL veteran Tyson Nash got loose up the left wing side late in the second, but with Curtis Murphy closing in on him, Nash shot the puck right at Harding.
Stephenson cut the lead to 4-3 with 1:38 left in the second. Lehoux caused a turnover deep in the Houston zone and flipped the puck to Stephenson floating in at the point. Stephenson had time to walk in and rip a high shot by Harding for his first goal of the season.
Lehoux took advantage of miscommunication by Harding and rookie defenseman John Scott to tie the game 2:13 into the third. Lehoux took the puck right off Harding’s stick behind the net and wrapped it into the net for his second goal of the season and fourth point of the night.
MacLean broke in alone with 11:40 left in regulation bidding for the hat trick. But Harding turned aside MacLean with his right arm, keeping the game tied.
Olvecky just pushed a Murphy pass wide of the net midway through overtime. The Rampage outshot Houston 3-2 in the extra session.
San Antonio chose to let Houston go first in the shootout. Voloshenko led off for the Aeros and tried to go low, but Sauve made a pad save. Harding sat through a pair of fakes and gloved aside Lehoux’s attempt.
Smith scored low on Sauve in round two, and Harding made a glove save on Jeff Taffe
Ben Thomson, the Aeros’ 5-foot-7 rookie, tried to go under Sauve, who stayed with the shot to squeeze the shot between his pads. MacLean countered for San Antonio, and put a quick backhander under Harding to tie the shootout.
No. 1 pick Benoit Pouliot shot just wide of the far left post for Houston, and Bill Thomas went inside the far post with a snapshot to push the Aeros to the brink of elimination.
Foy shot high over the crossbar, giving San Antonio the victory.
Houston finished 1-for-7 on the power play, while San Antonio went 2-for-5. The Aeros are 3-for-46 with the man advantage this season. There wasn’t a penalty called in the third period or overtime after 12 combined in the first and second periods. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Tony Quesada, Steve Shields, Erik Reitz, Bryan Lundbohm, Chris Ovington, Joel Ward and Clayton Stoner. Because Shields was injured last night, the Aeros signed goalie Miguel Beaudry, currently in camp with CHL Austin, to a pro tryout before the game. Houston skated with five defenseman – one fewer than normal. The Aeros held a lead in the second and third periods for the first time this season. Belle’s two assists were a career-high, and his two points tied a career-best.