Official Box Score HOUSTON, Texas –
Matt Foy recorded his first career hat trick, all in the game’s final 7:25, and rookies Danny Irmen and Ben Thomson also scored, as the Houston Aeros rallied for a thrilling 5-3 victory over the San Antonio Rampage at Toyota Center. Josh Harding
made 22 saves in his 100th Aeros game, and Curtis Murphy reached the 400-point mark for his pro career for Houston (9-10-0-1), which snapped a three-game skid and improved to 15-0-2-0 in the last 17 home meetings with the Rampage. The Aeros are in Chicago on Saturday at 7 p.m. before returning home to face Grand Rapids at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
Houston improved to 1-7-0-0 this season when trailing after two periods; the Aeros hadn’t won a game when trailing after 40 minutes since December 31, 2005, a 4-3 overtime win over the Rampage. Houston rallied from a two-goal deficit to win for the first time since April 14, 2006, a 5-4 shootout win over Omaha.
Tyson Nash and Keith Yandle scored in the game’s opening 3:03, Jakub Koreis also scored and Josh Tordjman stopped 35 shots as San Antonio (7-12-0-0) continues to search for its first regulation win at Houston in 17 attempts dating back to January 16, 2004. The Rampage, which got three assists from former Aero Travis Roche, is 1-8-0-0 on the road this season.
Foy’s first of the game and seventh of the season tied the game with 7:25 remaining. Erik Reitz (two assists) launched a bomb from outside the blueline, and a streaking Foy picked up the rebound and went low on Tordjman.
Just 1:07 later, Foy gave the Aeros their first lead of the night, 4-3, with 6:16 left in regulation. Foy picked up a Shawn Belle pass just inside the left point, walked in two steps and ripped a furious slapshot that beat Tordjman clean, high glove side. The goal was Foy’s team-leading eighth of the season.
Foy took a pass from Roman Voloshenko and scored into the empty net to finish off the scoring.
The Rampage took just 44 seconds into the game to get on the board, as Nash scored his sixth of the season. Roche took the puck off Tjordman’s stick and went coast-to-coast, creating a 2-on-1 with Nash. Roche left a pass for Nash in the left circle, and the veteran agitator ripped a shot top shelf over Harding.
This marked the fourth time in five games the Aeros have allowed a goal in the opening 2:34. The lone time it didn’t happen, Houston yielded a goal in the opening two minutes of the second period.
San Antonio then took a 2-0 lead, snapping Houston’s penalty kill streak at 30 consecutive at 3:03 of the first. Yandle took a Roche pass at the right point and threaded it through traffic and under Harding for his first goal of the season.
A minute later, Houston circled the Rampage net, and Peter Olvecky just whacked a nice set up by Thomson wide of the near post.
Thomson temporarily moved into a tie for the Aeros’ active lead in goals with his sixth of the season, on the power play, with 10:28 expired in the first. Olvecky dashed his way between defenders in the right circle and fed Peter Ratchuk at the center point as he fell down. Ratchuk wound and fired, and Tordjman made a blocker save, but Thomson knocked the puck out of the air and into the cage.
Irmen’s seventh put him ahead of Thomson, and evened the game at 2-2 with 1:33 left in the opening period. Thomson, along the left wing boards in the neutral zone, sprung Irmen up the middle for a breakaway. Irmen streaked in, faked and put a backhander by Tordjman.
Bryan Lundbohm had a golden chance to give Houston its first lead with seven minutes remaining in the second. Josh Olson and Joel Ward both threw massive checks to free the puck in the corner to a waiting Lundbohm in the low slot. Tordjman just got a piece of Lundbohm’s bouncing puck with his glove to push it wide.
Late in the second, Nash broke in alone shorthanded and snapped a shot from the left circle, but Harding made a great glove save. However, Reitz picked up a slashing minor coming back to help, and on the ensuing 4-on-4, Koreis put San Antonio on top 3-2 with 57 seconds left.
Roche again went coast-to-coast to the left point, and found a cutting Yanick Lehoux in the left circle. Lehoux touched a pass to a waiting Koreis at the right post, and Koreis pushed the puck by Harding for his second goal of the season. Koreis has scored six of his 10 career AHL goals against Houston in three seasons.
Ward found Olson low in the right circle four minutes into the third, but Tordjman slid post-to-post to make the glove save.
The Aeros got their fifth power play of the night 8:34 into the third, when Logan Stephenson went after Foy near the goal. Tordjman made his best save of the period midway through the power play, when Voloshenko got the puck unmarked in the low right circle and ripped a one-timer low. Tordjman stayed close to the ground to make the pad save and cover up.
Houston finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while San Antonio went 1-for-3. The Aeros are now 32-of-33 on the penalty kill in the last seven games, and 75-of-79 in the last 13 contests. Notes:Not dressing for the Aeros were Steve Shields, Dieter Kochan, Ryan Hamilton, Marco Rosa and Chris Ovington. Rosa was signed to a PTO yesterday after being recalled from ECHL Texas. Harding is the second goalie to reach 100 games played for the Aeros, joining Frederic Chabot. Harding improved to 12-3-1 versus the Rampage in his career. Twenty-three of Houston’s 56 goals have come from rookies. Houston improved to 4-5-0-0 at Toyota Center. Foy’s hat trick is the first for an Aero since Patrick O’Sullivan accomplished the feat on March 7, 2006, in a 5-4 shootout win over Chicago.