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It Comes Down To Game 7

by Staff Writer / Minnesota Wild

MAY 24, 2011
HOUSTON AEROS (2nd seed, West Division)
vs. HAMILTON BULLDOGS (1st seed, North Division)
BEST-OF-7 (TIED 3-3)
TOYOTA CENTER (7:05 p.m. CST)


OVERVIEW
The Houston Aeros and Hamilton Bulldogs clash in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals at Toyota Center. The series is a best-of-seven series with a 2-3-2 format in which the Aeros have home ice advantage. The Aeros won the first three games of the series but the Bulldogs battled back to win Games 4, 5 and 6.

HOW THEY GOT HERE
HOU --- Swept the Peoria Rivermen 4-0 in the first round…Defeated Milwaukee in seven games in the second round.
HAM --- Hamilton defeated OKC 4-2 in round one…Nipped Manitoba in seven games in round two.
Both teams won their respective Game 7’s in round two to reach the Conference Finals.

DID YOU KNOW?
--- The Bulldogs are just the third AHL club ever to force a Game 7 after losing the first three games of a series. The previous two teams - the 1960 Rochester Americans and the 1989 Adirondack Red Wings – successfully completed the comeback. Both of those teams, however, had the luxury of playing Game 7 at home. Both the 1960 and 1989 series were for a berth in the Calder Cup Finals.

AEROS PLAYOFF NOTABLES
--- Houston’s 61 shots in Game 6 vs. HAM tied a team record for the second-most shots in one playoff game and were the most since Houston peppered Hamilton’s Ty Conklin with 84 shots in Game 2 of the 2003 Calder Cup Finals.
--- The Aeros are 5-0 all-time in Calder Cup Playoff Game 7’s. This is the first Game 7 at home since the team began play in the AHL.
--- With the Game 7 win over Milwaukee, Houston joined the Maine Mariners (5-0) as the only franchises in AHL history to win five Game 7’s and  became the first team ever with five Game 7 road victories to its credit.
--- The Aeros are 5-2 when scoring first.
--- When leading after 20 minutes, Houston is 3-0. They are 6-0 when leading after two periods.
--- Houston has outshot their opponents in 12 of 17 playoff games. They are 7-5 when doing so.
--- Opponents have scored first 10 times, but the Aeros have won six of those games.
--- The Aeros are 7-2 in games decided by one goal.
--- The Aeros are 11-10 all-time in Calder Cup Playoff games in which they can eliminate an opponent. This playoff season, the Aeros are 2-4 when they can oust an opponent

AEROS PLAYER NOTABLES
--- Maxim Noreau appeared in his 42nd playoff game as an Aero in Game 6 vs. HAM and cracked the top five for games played in team history. He finished with an assist on Earl's second period goal to pull into a third-place tie with 16 all-time helpers along with Stephane Veilleux.

NHL AFFILIATES
Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens)

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
Game 1 – Fri., May 13 – Hamilton 1 at Houston 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 15 – Hamilton 2 at Houston 3
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Houston 3 at Hamilton 2
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Houston 1 at Hamilton 8
Game 5 – Fri., May 20 – Houston 2 at Hamilton 2
Game 6 – Sun., May 22 – Hamilton 5 at Houston 4 (2OT)
Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Hamilton at Houston, 7:05 PM
--- ALL TIMES CST

PLAYOFF HISTORY
--- Houston defeated Hamilton in seven games to capture the 2003 Calder Cup.
--- The Aeros are in the Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons and fourth time since joining the AHL.
--- The Bulldogs are making their second straight Conference Finals appearance and fifth in the last 10 years.

AEROS GOALIES
--- Matt Hackett went 4-0 in the first round vs. PEO with a 1.68 GAA and .932 SV%.
--- Hackett was 4-3 vs. MIL in the second round with a 2.66 GAA and .881 SV%.
--- On the road, Hackett is 5-4 with a 2.94 GAA and .884 SV%.
--- At home, Hackett is 6-2 with a 2.26 GAA and .910 SV%.
--- Hackett’s 38-save effort in Game 1 vs. HAM included 20 stops in the third period alone. The 21 shots he faced were one short of a franchise playoff record for shots allowed in a period.
--- Hackett’s 21-save shutout in Game 2 vs. MIL was his first as a pro in the postseason and Houston’s first since May 7, 2009, when the Aeros blanked the Admirals 2-0 at Toyota Center in Game 4 of the West Division Finals. It was their 14th shutout overall.
--- Hackett went 1-0-0 against the Bulldogs with a 0.69 GAA and .973 SV% in two appearances during the regular season.
--- Josh Tordjman was 4-1-0 in six overall appearances during the regular season.

LAST GAME QUICK RECAP
Nigel Dawes scored at the 9:11 mark of the second overtime to lift the Hamilton Bulldogs past the Houston Aeros 5-4 in Game 6 of the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals on Sunday at Toyota Center. The Bulldogs forced a decisive Game 7 with the victory. That contest is set for Tuesday, May 22 at Toyota Center at 7:05 p.m. Down 4-2 with under 10 minutes left in the third period, the Aeros rallied for a pair of goals to force extra time.

AEROS SPECIAL TEAMS
POWER PLAY --- Is 6/29 vs. HAM… Went 6/32 vs. MIL in round 2… Went 3/24 vs. PEO in the opening round… Ranked 6th (20.2%) in the regular season… Jon DiSalvatore led the team with 14 PPG… Finished the season with goals in six-straight to set a season-high streak (18/45)…Also had goals in six-straight from Feb. 22-Mar. 4…  Had multiple PPG in 16 games and was 12-2-0-2 in those games.

PENALTY KILL --- HAM is 4/24… MIL went 4/30 in round 2… The Ads scored a SHG in Game 5… PEO went 3/12 on the PP in the first round… Ranked 22nd (81.0%) in the regular season… Carson McMillan led the team with three SHG… Opponents were 16/46 on the PP in the final eight games of the season… Allowed at least a goal in a season-high seven straight (Mar. 22 – Apr. 2)… Held opponents to one or no PPG in 15 straight games until TOR went 2-for-5 on Jan. 23.

REGULAR SEASON SERIES NOTES
--- The teams met twice in a one week span in December and split the games (Dec. 14 at HAM, 3-1 HOU win; Dec. 21 at HOU, 5-0 HAM win).
--- HOU went 0/7 on the PP while HAM went 1/7. HAM scored a pair of SHG on Dec. 21.
--- Matt Hackett earned the win on Dec. 14 and entered the game on Dec. 21 in a relief role.
--- Curtis Sanford appeared in both games in goal for HAM. He is out with a shoulder injury and has not played since Feb. 26.
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