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Aeros 4, Rampage 6

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild
Rampage 6, Aeros 4

Official Box Score

HOUSTON, Texas – Yanick Lehoux had a goal and two assists, and Donald MacLean, Bill Thomas, Jeff Taffe and Tyler Redenbach each tallied a goal and an assist, as San Antonio held on to defeat Houston 6-4 to earn its first regulation victory at Toyota Center since January 16, 2004. Pascal Rheaume also scored and Josh Tordjman made 27 for San Antonio (12-20-1-1), which is now an AHL-worst 2-9-1-1 on the road this season and hadn’t won in regulation in its last 18 trips to Toyota Center.

Matt Foy scored twice, Curtis Murphy had a goal and an assist and Roman Voloshenko also scored for the Aeros (14-16-0-3), who have lost two in a row after winning four of five. Tony Quesada allowed five goals on 23 shots. Aeros goalie Josh Harding, who played in 30 of his team’s first 32 games, missed his second straight game with the flu. Tonight’s game marked the first time all season a goalie other than Harding has appeared in a game at Toyota Center.

The Aeros are in Chicago on Wednesday before returning home to play three games in four nights, beginning Thursday, Jan. 4 against Peoria. It’s a Maple Leaf Pub Happy Hour Game. Buy tickets!

On an early San Antonio power play, Quesada was sharp, just getting enough of Taffe’s right point blast with his glove. With the help of that man advantage, the Rampage got the game’s first six shots in the opening six minutes.

Quesada was brilliant 7:30 in, stoning Redenbach, who found himself wide open at the left post. Quesada quickly ranged post-to-post to make a pad save.

Aeros winger Peter Olvecky had a great chance 90 seconds later, but Tordjman kicked out his attempt from low in the right circle.

Houston’s first power play of the game was cut in half due to a too many men on the ice penalty.

Quesada kicked out reigning AHL MVP MacLean’s attempt later in the period, but just seconds later MacLean netted his 10th goal, with 3:16 remaining. Chris Ferraro dug the rebound out of the corner and fed it to an unmarked MacLean at the right doorstep. All MacLean had to do was touch the puck into the net, and he did.

Taffe’s 11th goal extended the lead to 2-0 with 11 seconds left in the first. Quesada stopped Lehoux’s harmless looking shot from the left point, but he left the rebound on the deck for Taffe, who backhanded it over the goalie’s pads.

San Antonio, which twice scored in a period’s opening minute last night, took a 3-0 lead 48 seconds into the second. MacLean grabbed a rebound in front of his own net and headmanned a pass for Thomas up the right wing side. Thomas and MacLean broke in 2-on-1, and Thomas snuck a top shelf shot by both defenseman Ryan Stokes and Quesada for his 10th goal of the season.

Foy’s team-leading 14th goal got Houston within 3-1 at 5:39 of the second. Foy took a pass from Clayton Stoner, stepped into the offensive zone and inside the right circle. Foy blistered a slapshot so hard that it lodged into the netting.

Aeros rookie Ben Thomson got in 2-on-1 with Murphy with 8:31 gone in the middle period, but he snapped a shot just over the crossbar.

Lehoux’s team-best 15th goal restored San Antonio’s lead to three goals at 10:51 of the second. Taffe found Lehoux in the left circle, and the sniper one-timed a short side shot over Quesada.

Redenbach made it 5-1 with 5:17 remaining in the middle period, ending Quesada’s night. Miroslav Kopriva made his Aeros season debut in relief and was perfect on 10 shots.

Foy picked up a double minor for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct when getting jumped after trying to beat out an icing call late in the second.

Murphy got the Aeros within 5-2 just 1:13 into the third with a shorthanded goal. Danny Irmen got hauled down on the right wing side, but he got a shot off. Three Rampage players ignored the puck, which caromed of the end boards to a cutting Murphy at the left doorstep, and the veteran defenseman popped it inside the post for his fifth goal of the season.

Irmen then got called for tripping, and Ratchuk for interference, giving the Rampage more than a minute of 5-on-3 time.

Reitz blistered a shorthanded 2-on-1 shot off Tordjman’s mask, causing a brief stoppage in play.

Voloshenko’s fifth goal, a second after an Aeros power play expired, cut the lead to 5-3 with 10:42 remaining. He collected an Olvecky rebound in the right circle and flicked it by Tordjman for his fifth goal of the season.

Foy made things really interesting with 2:03 left, with his second of the game and 15th of the season. Murphy, in the right circle, touched a pass to Benoit Pouliot, who one-timed the puck to a cutting Foy in the left circle. Foy rifled a shot through traffic and by Tordjman.

But the Aeros couldn’t get Kopriva out of the net until there were 15 seconds left, and Rheaume scored into the empty net with three seconds remaining.

Houston went 0-for-5 on the power play, while San Antonio finished 0-for-6.

Notes:
  • Not dressing for the Aeros were Harding, Dieter Kochan, Shawn Belle, John Scott and Joey Tetarenko.
  • San Antonio had defeated Houston in regulation in two straight games just one other time – March 5 and March 18 of last season. Both those games came in San Antonio.
  • The Rampage scored first in each of the two games this weekend after having scored first in just 10 games all season.
  • The Aeros fell to 13-6-0-2 when scoring three or more goals. They are 1-11-0-1 when scoring two or fewer.
  • Houston was 16-0-2-0 in the last 18 meetings, and 8-0-2-0 all-time versus San Antonio at home in the month of December.
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