Official Box Score MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Rem Murray posted a goal and two assists, and Kirby Law, Curtis Murphy and Patrick O’Sullivan each added a goal and a helper, as the Houston Aeros stormed back from an early two-goal deficit for a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals at Bradley Center. Peter Olvecky’s goal late in the first period began the comeback, and Seamus Kotyk made 25 saves for Houston (41-14-1-2), which has bettered its 2004-05 win total and pushed its West Division lead over Milwaukee to six points after sweeping both games from the Admirals this weekend. The Aeros, who still have a game in hand on the Admirals, have won six straight overall and five in a row on the road – tied for the second-longest road winning streak in team history. Houston earned its 17th come-from-behind victory of the season, six times coming back from a multiple-goal deficit.
The Aeros return home to Toyota Center, where they are 6-0-0-1 in their last seven, on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. to face Hamilton in a rematch of the 2003 Calder Cup Finals, won by Houston in seven games. Click here
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Chris Durno and Kevin Klein each scored first-period goals and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for Milwaukee, which fell to 14-5-3-1 in its last 23 games and has lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since before Christmas.
The Admirals got a pair of early power plays, and Simon Gamache had the best chance, early in the second advantage. But Kotyk kicked out the left pad with Gamache wide open between the circles.
After the power plays, Durno scored his fifth goal in nine games and his 11th overall. Durno threw the puck on net from the left circle, and it went off the crossbar and into the net, by a surprised Kotyk at 8:12 of the first period.
Houston’s Bryan Lundbohm went down in a scary collision with Milwaukee agitator Jordin Tootoo with 9:05 remaining. Lundbohm looked up just in time to see the open-ice hit. No penalty was called on Tootoo, and the teams ended up 4-on-4 due to penalties called after the hit.
Klein made it 2-0 with 8:07 left in the first, skating in untouched from the left circle. Kotyk went down and Klein lifted the puck over the netminder’s shoulder for his eighth goal of the season.
Houston then had 36 seconds of power play time wiped out due to a too many men on the ice call.
The Aeros connected on a man advantage with 1:29 left in the first, as Olvecky scored his ninth goal. Moments after getting cross-checked to the ice, Olvecky tapped a cross-crease pass from Murray into an open cage.
Tootoo, who ended Erik Reitz’ season in 2004-05 when instigating a post-game fight, went after Kotyk after Olvecky’s goal, well behind the play. Reitz came to the goalie’s rescue. Last weekend, Tootoo clubbed Peoria goalie Reinhard Divis, again behind the play.
Houston trailed after one period for just the second time in the last 18 games.
Kotyk did the splits six minutes into the second period to rob Gamache’s stuff attempt, with Milwaukee on a four-minute power play. The Aeros were able to kill off the entire advantage and even got a great chance late, when Rinne swallowed up Erik Westrum’s 2-on-1 blast from the left circle.
Kotyk robbed Milwaukee leading scorer Darren Haydar on the power play later in the second, sliding post-to-post and stacking the pads to stop the one-timer.
The Aeros then scored twice in a span of 70 seconds, just after the previous Milwaukee power play expired, and three times overall in the final five minutes of the second to assume control.
O’Sullivan’s third in two games short-lived team-best 34th of the season got Houston even with 4:45 left in the second. Tootoo missed the puck in the Aeros zone, and Clayton Stoner
sprung O’Sullivan on a long breakaway up the right wing. O’Sullivan slipped the puck under Rinne for his new team rookie record 65th point of the season.
Only 1:10 later, Murphy gave Houston its first lead of the game. O’Sullivan, in the left circle, slid a pass to Murphy cutting into the right circle. Murphy, who won a Calder Cup with Houston in 2002-03 but Milwaukee a year later, stepped into the shot and ripped a slapshot top shelf over Rinne’s glove for his 10th of the season – third in the last four games.
A minute later, O’Sullivan snuck in alone again, but Rinne made the save.
Murray picked up his 11th of the season – shorthanded – with 1:02 remaining in the middle period, staying with the puck behind the Milwaukee cage and stuffing it by Rinne.
The Aeros got three straight power plays in the first half of the third period. They didn’t score, but they were able to maintain control of the game and hold Milwaukee to just one shot in 10 minutes and four overall in the stanza.
Law tied O’Sullivan for the team lead with his 34th goal, finishing off a 3-on-2 with a backhander from Murray with 9:03 remaining.
Houston finished 2-for-7 on the power play, improving to 23-4-0-1 when scoring at least two times with the man advantage. The Aeros have scored two or more power play goals in 18 of their last 33 games.
Milwaukee went 0-for-8 on the power play. The Admirals are 2-for-41 with the man advantage versus the Aeros this season, failing to score on the last 31 attempts. In the last 14 games against Houston dating back to last season, the Admirals are 3-for-72 with the man advantage. Notes: Not dressing for the Aeros were Colin Peters, Petr Taticek, Joey Tetarenko and Andrei Nazarov. Law (34-49=83) leads Westrum (27-54=81) by two points for the AHL scoring lead. Westrum assisted on O’Sullivan’s goal. Houston is 18-10-0-0 on the road, bettering last season’s win mark already (17-15-5-3). The Aeros’ franchise record for road victories is 23, set twice, most recently in 1997-98 (23-13-5) in an 82-game season. Houston’s franchise record for a road winning streak is nine games. The Aeros’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot dropped to 19 points, a combination of points gained by Houston and points lost by idle Omaha. O’Sullivan leads all AHL rookies with 66 points (34-32=66), tying Cory Larose’s team rookie assist total, set in 2001-02. O’Sullivan is riding a season-high seven-game point streak (6-6=12) and ranks fifth overall in the AHL in points. The Aeros are 21-2-0-1 when O’Sullivan scores a goal, and 32-6-0-2 when he has a point. Houston is 8-1-0-0 when Murray scores a goal and 19-4-0-1 when he has a point. Murray picked up his second three-point game of the season, the other coming December 17 against Peoria (2-1=3). Murray has six points (2-4=6) in the last four games. This series marked the 14th time this season that the Aeros have played a team in two consecutive games. Houston is 12-1-1-1 in the first meeting, and 11-3-0-0 in the second game. The Aeros have swept eight of the 14 back-to-backs against one team. The Aeros play the same team in back-to-back games four more times this season, with the next set coming March 7 and 9 against Chicago at Toyota Center. The teams meet for the final time in the regular season on March 17 in Milwaukee. Houston improved to 3-7-2-0 in its last 12 trips to Bradley Center. The Aeros have won three straight against Milwaukee overall for the first time since March 30-April 5, 2002. Houston is 39-4-0-1 when scoring three or more goals, and 36-4-1-1 when allowing three or fewer. Aeros defenseman Dustin Wood played in his 200th consecutive AHL game, the longest active run in the league.