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The San Antonio Rampage had their second-best crowd of the season at the AT&T Center, a showing of 9,166 fans, in their 5-2 loss to the Houston Aeros on Friday night.
Houston scored the game’s first goal 11:07 into the first period. Center Cody Almond took a centering feed from behind the net by left wing Joel Broda and one-timed the puck past Rampage goaltender Jacob Markstrom low and inside the right post to give the Aeros a 1-0 lead.
Center David McIntyre extended the Houston lead to 2-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the opening frame. After his penalty for interference expired, McIntyre jumped on the ice and joined center Chad Rau for a two-on-one rush into the San Antonio zone. MacIntyre took a pass from Rau at the top of the left circle and blasted a shot that beat Markstrom over his left shoulder for his eighth marker of the year.
The Aeros lead was widened to 3-0 at 7:52 of the second period as center Jeff Taffe sent a pass through the crease that caromed off the skate of a Rampage defender and into the net. Defenseman Jeff Penner and right wing Jon DiSalvatore picked up the assists on Taffe’s seventh goal of the campaign and Houston’s lone power-play goal of the night.
McIntyre made it a 4-0 game 59 seconds later with a deflection on a Kris Foucault wrist shot from the left circle that found its way past Markstrom. Center Harrison Reed registered the secondary assist on McIntyre’s second goal of the game. Rampage netminder Dov Grumet-Morris relieved Markstrom following the score.
San Antonio notched their first goal of the game 11:20 into the middle stanza when Angelo Esposito fired a shot from the slot that went off of Houston goaltender Matt Hackett and over the goal line. Esposito’s second marker of the season was assisted by Eric Selleck and Wacey Rabbit.
Left wing Evan Barlow brought the Rampage to within two goals with a power-play score late in the third. He took a pass from center Bracken Kearns and stepped into a wrist shot that eluded Hackett to make the count 4-2 with 1:46 remaining in the game. Forward Greg Rallo also assisted on Barlow’s fourth tally of the year.
Penner added an unassisted empty-net goal at 19:24 of the third to cap the scoring for the night at 5-2.
Hackett stopped 38 of the 40 Rampage shots he faced for his 12th win of the season while Markstrom made seven saves on 11 Aeros attempts in the San Antonio loss. Grumet-Morris denied Houston on all 12 Aeros shots he faced.
The Rampage (14-15-2-0) travel to Oklahoma City tomorrow night for a 7 p.m. (CST) contest against the Barons at the Cox Convention Center.