Timely scoring and exceptional goaltending often represent the ideal recipe for success in a hockey game, especially the second game of a back-to-back home-and-home series. On Friday, both elements served the Rampage well as San Antonio beat the Houston Aeros, in overtime, by a 3-2 score at the AT&T Center.
A day after San Antonio and Houston combined for nine goals at Toyota Center in Houston, the two clubs reconvened for a defensive battle in the Alamo City. Seeking to prevent a duplication of yesterday’s contest, during which the Aeros jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the Rampage found the scoreboard first on Friday.
Working on the power play and controlling the puck near the left half wall of the Houston zone, San Antonio center Kyle Turris sent a pass down to right wing Chad Kolarik in the left corner. Kolarik then curled toward the net and fired a shot off the skates of Houston netminder Anton Khudobin and into the crease, where left wing Jeff Hoggan was waiting to knock in the rebound. Hoggan’s goal at the 13:31 mark of the first represented his sixth goal of the season and San Antonio’s third power-play goal in the last two games.
Houston outshot San Antonio by an 11-6 margin in the first frame and came close to tying the contest if not for a fantastic diving save by Tordjman on a one-timer by Houston center Peter Zingoni during a Houston power play late in the period.
Continuing to apply pressure in the second period, the Aeros tied the game at the 17:36 mark of the second on a goal by Jean-Michel Daoust. Holding the puck in the high slot of San Antonio’s zone, Houston center Andy Hilbert found Houston forward Chad Rau near the left faceoff circle before Rau released a shot that was tipped by Daoust past Tordjman to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Following the second intermission, San Antonio emerged from the dressing room determined to reclaim the lead and did so immediately, finding the back of the net at the 1:56 mark on a goal by left wing Brett MacLean. After gaining control of the puck near the left half wall, Turris sent a cross-ice pass to Rampage defenseman Jeff May on the right point. May then faked a shot to catch the Houston defense flat footed and fired a slap shot that was redirected off the skate of left wing Brett MacLean and into the Houston net to provide San Antonio with a 2-1 lead.
However, Houston tied the game slightly more than 11 minutes later, at the 13:13 mark of the third, on Daoust’s second goal of the game. After a shot from the left point by Aeros blueliner Maxim Noreau, Rau grabbed a rebound on the left post and sent a backhand pass over to Daoust, who one-timed the puck past a sliding Tordjman into the San Antonio goal to even the score at 2-2.
Neither team scored in the final 6:47, thus sending the contest to overtime. San Antonio entered the evening with two overtime wins and two overtime losses, while Houston entered Friday’s game with two overtime wins and one overtime loss in 2009-10.
In overtime, newly acquired Rampage defenseman Anders Eriksson, playing in his 1,000th career professional game, received a pass from San Antonio center Joel Perrault on the left boards in the neutral zone and held the puck for a split second before leaving a pass for a speeding center Kevin Porter. Porter then drove into the Houston zone and made a nifty move around the defender before deking Khudobin and beating the Aeros netminder through the five-hole to win the game for San Antonio and send the AT&T Center crowd into a frenzy.
San Antonio was 1 for 3 on the power play and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill in the game.
Rampage netminder Josh Tordjman made 34 saves on 36 Houston shots for his fourth win of the 2009-10 season. Aeros goaltender Anton Khudobin turned away 20 of 23 San Antonio shots for the loss.
With the win, San Antonio extended their current win streak to three games and now trail the Texas Stars by five points, with eight, in the “Lone Star Faceoff” standings.
The Rampage return to action on Sunday afternoon when they host the West Division-leading Texas Stars in another “Lone Star Faceoff” matchup at 5 p.m. at the AT&T Center.