Robbie Earl scored at 8:45 of the first overtime to lead the Houston Aeros to a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 5 of the American Hockey League’s West Division Finals on Friday night at Toyota Center.
Casey Wellman added a pair of assists for the Aeros, who won their 11th straight overtime playoff game dating back to 2003. The Aeros took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, which shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 6 on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Houston rallied for a pair of goals in the final 4:22 of regulation to force extra time.
Milwaukee’s Ryan Thang scored his fifth goal of the playoffs at 11:28 of the second period. Thang’s shot that popped up off of Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett
and then dropped in behind the surprised netminder. Steve Begin made it a 2-0 Admirals advantage with five seconds left in the middle stanza with a shorthanded goal and his third of the series.
The Aeros fired back in the third period, starting with a 5-on-3 power play goal by Earl at 15:38. Chad Rau
’s goal with 1:21 left in regulation sent the game into overtime for the second consecutive night.
Houston outshot the Admirals for the fifth straight game and barraged goaltender Jeremy Smith with 36 shots through the first 40 minutes of play. He finished with 50 saves, while Hackett stopped 23 of 25.BOMB DROPPINGS
Houston has outshot their opponents in eight of nine playoff games including the last five straight. Tonight, the Aeros held advantages of 19-6 in the first period and 17-12 in the second and 11-3 in the third… This was the 14th-longest overtime game in Aeros history... Patrick O'Sullivan had 12 shots and set a new team record in the process... Earl's two-goal effort was the 30th time an Aeros player has scored twice in a postseason game.
F – Gillies, Ortmeyer, Peters
D – Prosser, Falk
G - HackettAEROS SCRATCHES
Fraser, Penner, Lofquist, Foucault, Campbell, Fredheim, Morency, Buck, Kassian, Broda, Cuma, DaoustNEXT GAME
West Division Finals, Game 6
Sunday, May 8 (5 p.m.)
Bradley CenterDECIDING GOAL
Earl (8:45, OT)POWER PLAYS
HOU: Hackett (23/25, W)
MIL: Smith (50/53, L)SERIES
HOU leads 3-2