HOUSTON --- Colton Gillies’ goal early in the third period stood up as the game-winner as the Houston Aeros nipped the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 on Sunday at Toyota Center in Game 2 of the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals.
The series, in which the Aeros hold a 2-0 advantage, shifts to Hamilton for Games 3-5 starting on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. CST.
Robbie Earl gave Houston a 1-0 lead early in the second period. Warren Peters and Spurgeon earned the assists on Earl’s power play tally at 3:16. Earl has scored three of his four postseason goals on the man-advantage.
Hamilton tied it at 1-1 with Gabriel Dumont’s fifth postseason goal at 14:03, but the Aeros regained the lead on the power play with 10 seconds left in the middle period. Marco Scandella rifled a shot off the stickside post of Bulldogs goaltender Drew MacIntyre for his second goal of the playoffs.
Gillies scored his team-leading seventh playoff goal 5:10 into the third period to give the Aeros a 3-1 advantage.
Hamilton’s Ryan Russell pulled the Bulldogs with a goal at 12:06 of the third with his fifth postseason marker but Hackett and the Aeros stood tall the rest of the way.
BOMB DROPPINGS A moment of silence was observed prior to the game in memory of former Aero Derek Boogaard, who passed away at age 28 on Friday… The Aeros 9-9 in Game 2 Calder Cup Playoff action… When leading a Calder Cup Playoff series 2-0 the Aeros have gone on to win all three of those best-of-seven matchups… All-time, the Aeros are 6-1 when leading a series 2-0 (includes IHL and best-of-five series) and have a win/loss record of 24-5 (not including 2011)... Jared Spurgeon and Jed Ortmeyer ran scoring streaks to three games each... Matt Kassian made his first appearance in the lineup since Game 4 of the opening round series versus Peoria.
AEROS STARTERS F – DiSalvatore, O’Sullivan, Rau D – Spurgeon, Bagnall G - Hackett