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Aeros 4, Wolves 3 (SO)

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild
Aeros 4, Wolves 3 (SO)

Official Box Score

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Mattias Weinhandl tallied a goal and two assists, Josh Harding made 38 saves, and defenseman Shawn Belle scored the deciding shootout goal for the second time in as many nights, as the Houston Aeros rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a rare win at Rosemont Arena, 4-3 over the Chicago Wolves. Jason Morgan and Roman Voloshenko each scored a power play goal for the Aeros (14-15-0-3), who have won four of five overall and snapped a six-game losing streak against the Wolves. Houston improved to 6-16-3-2 in its last 27 trips to Allstate Arena and moved within three points of fifth-place Iowa.

Houston is next in San Antonio on Friday. The Aeros return home Saturday, when they play host to the Rampage at 7:35 p.m. For that game, get $20 center ice seats (normally $30) or $15 corner seats (normally $22). This offer is only available through the Aeros office at 713.974.PUCK beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Darren Haydar had a goal and two assists to move his AHL record point streak to 34 games, and former Aero Cory Larose posted a goal and a helper for Chicago (24-7-1-2), which leads the West Division by 11 points and is 6-0-0-2 in its last eight. After Weinhandl apparently gave Houston a victory with less than two minutes left in regulation, AHL leading goal scorer Brett Sterling forced overtime. Fred Brathwaite stopped 41 shots, but allowed four-of-five Aeros to score in the shootout.

Three minutes into the game, Harding robbed Haydar with his glove on a breakaway.

Aeros rookie standout Benoit Pouliot was awarded a penalty shot at the 4:15 mark when he was dragged down on a breakaway. But the rookie misplayed the puck and didn’t get a shot on Brathwaite.

Larose tallied his eighth goal of the season at 9:11 of the first to put Chicago on top. Haydar took a turnover deep in the Houston zone and fed a cutting Larose, who deposited the puck into the back of the net.

Weinhandl hit Brathwaite’s mask with a high shot with the teams 4-on-4 late in the first.

Haydar then scored his 20th goal – seventh on the power play – with 17 seconds left in the first. Haydar got a piece of Mark Popovic’s point blast, but Haydar hopped on the rebound and slid it by Harding.

Chicago has outscored its opponents in the first period by a league-best 50-26 margin.

The Aeros took it to the Wolves in the second period, owning a 12-8 shot advantage while scoring the lone goal – although it could have been more.

Early in the second, Brathwaite robbed Peter Olvecky on a breakaway. Seconds later, Weinhandl set up Voloshenko at the right doorstep, and Brathwaite went post-to-post to make the save.

But Voloshenko netted his fourth of the season, with three seconds left on the power play, at the midway point of the middle period to cut the Chicago lead in half. Erik Reitz shot well wide of the net, and Voloshenko redirected the puck by Brathwaite.

The Aeros got four minutes of consecutive power play time but couldn’t pull even. After Chicago’s Brian Fahey rammed Ryan Hamilton into the boards head first with no call, Aeros 6-foot-7 rookie wrestled with Chicago’s 6-foot-7 enforcer Boris Valabik. Pouliot exchanged punches with Fahey at the end of the period, but was also given a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down.

Harding stopped Haydar early in the third on a mini breakaway. Haydar threw a punch at Reitz, but and both went off. However, Reitz picked up a 10-minute misconduct as well.

The Aeros got 1:04 of 5-on-3 time after back-to-back penalties to Larose and Steve Martins before the period’s halfway point. Six seconds after the Larose penalty expired, Morgan got credit for a power play goal when his shot went in the net off Chicago defenseman Brian Sipotz’ skate. Morgan, who returned Tuesday after missing 22 games due to a call-up and a serious lower body injury, tallied his first goal of the season.

Harding helped keep the game tied with five minutes left, snaring Jordan LaVallee’s drive.

Former Aero Kyle Wanvig, who scored two goals including the game-winner late in regulation last Friday at Toyota Center, snapped a shot just over the post two minutes later.

Weinhandl gave Houston its first lead of the night, with 1:47 left and the teams skating 4-on-4. Weinhandl picked off a pass at the Chicago blueline, went around a defender and fired a wrister by Brathwaite for his second goal with the Aeros, completing the three-point night.

After the faceoff, Sterling couldn’t get a handle on Martins’ pass through the crease.

However, the rookie forced overtime with 59 seconds remaining and Brathwaite off for the extra attacker. Haydar floated the puck at the net, and Harding made the initial save. But the puck fell below, and Sterling whacked it into the net for his 33rd goal of the season.

Sterling’s goal marked the third extra attacker goal versus the Aeros in their last six games.

Chicago outshot Houston 3-1 in overtime, but neither team could score the winning goal.

Wolves head coach John Anderson elected to have the Aeros go first, and Voloshenko’s shot was stopped by Brathwaite, who had to reach back to keep the puck from going over the line. Larose countered for Chicago, and Harding made the save on the low shot at the post.

Weinhandl, who carved out San Antonio rookie Josh Tordjman last night, did it again, going backhand-to-forehand to beat Brathwaite. Haydar went five-hole on Harding to even things up.

Matt Foy went top shelf and scored for Houston, and Kevin Doell banked the puck off Harding’s pad and into the net.

Belle, a second-year defenseman who scored on his first shootout attempt last night, went over the blocker for his second goal in as many attempts. Alex Bourret, making his first attempt of the season, tried to go by Harding’s pad, but the goalie made the save.

Morgan scored in Houston’s last attempt, securing the victory. Houston improved to 4-3 in shootouts, while Chicago fell to 1-2. Six of the Aeros’ 14 victories have been in come-from-behind fashion.

Houston finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while Chicago went 1-for-4.

  • Not dressing for the Aeros were Dieter Kochan, Chris Ovington, Ben Thomson and Joey Tetarenko.
  • The Aeros loaned rookie center Alex Leavitt to ECHL Texas prior to the game. Leavitt led the ECHL in scoring last season while in Alaska.
  • Houston and Chicago played just their second OT/shootout game in their last 16 meetings. They once saw 14-of-20 games go to OT/shootout.
  • Aeros rookie Danny Irmen also missed a penalty shot last night at home against San Antonio.
  • Harding is 5-8-0 in his career against Chicago, and 58-29-6 versus the rest of the AHL. Three of his five victories have come in the shootout.
  • The Aeros improved to 13-5-0-2 when scoring three or more goals. They are 1-10-0-1 when scoring two or fewer.
  • Houston outscored Chicago 2-1 in the third period, just the second time the Aeros have “won” the third period in their last 10 games.
  • The Aeros are 6-4-0-3 in one-goal games.
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