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The San Antonio Rampage dropped their second consecutive contest as the Houston Aeros scored two goals in the final minute of the game to rally for a 4-3 victory. The Rampage own a 23-11-1-0 record good for 47 points, tied for the lead in the Western Conference.
Brett MacLean etched his name at the top of the record books yet again playing in his 183rd Rampage game tonight to tie him with Sean Sullivan for most games played in franchise history.
Garrett Stafford recorded a three-point night as he scored two goals and had one assist for his sixth multiple point night of the season, while right wing Petr Prucha notched an assist to extend his point streak to six games.
San Antonio opened the scoring on the power play as they took a 1-0 lead after Andrew Ebbett assisted on Stafford’s shot from the high slot that sent the puck over Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett’s right shoulder 15:51 after the initial puck drop.
The Aeros responded just 1:37 later with a shorthanded goal by center Cody Almond to tie the game at 1-1. Almond received the puck off a Rampage turnover in the neutral zone producing a breakaway where he skated to the crease and backhanded a shot to the low glove side of Rampage netminder Al Montoya.
The Rampage claimed a 2-1 advantage at the 1:02 mark of the second period when Stafford fired a shot from the blue line that went high stick side over Hackett and into the back of the net for his second goal of the evening. Matt Watkins and Chris Summers provided the assists.
Houston netted the equalizer for a 2-2 score as rookie defenseman Tyler Cuma scored his first professional goal at the 4:04 mark of the middle stanza. Cuma’s shot from the left faceoff circle slipped by Montoya into the lower left corner of the net.
With two minutes remaining in the second period, center Bracken Kearns lit the lamp to give the Rampage a 3-2 lead. Prucha sent a cross-ice pass to Kearns under the right faceoff circle where his one-timer beat Hackett low glove side. Stafford supplied the additional helper for his third point of the night.
Houston head coach Mike Yeo pulled Hackett in favor of a sixth attacker with a little over one minute remaining in the contest as the Aeros capitalized on the man-advantage opportunity when center Chad Rau evened the score at 3-3 at the 19:05 mark of the third period. Rau skated behind the net and wrapped around the right post to snap the puck from the top of the crease behind Montoya.
Just 20 seconds after their last tally, the Aeros pulled ahead of the Rampage as center Warren Peters’ shot from the right faceoff dot beat Montoya low stick side to give Houston a 4-3 victory. Former Rampage player Jed Ortmeyer was credited with the lone assist. Ortmeyer signed with the Aeros today after being released from his contract by the Rampage earlier in the day.
Montoya ended the night with 26 saves on 30 Aeros shot attempts and Hackett stopped 19 of 22 Rampage shot attempts.
The Rampage conclude a three-in-three series tomorrow when they travel to Milwaukee to face the Admirals at 5 p.m. at the Bradley Center.