Unshaken by a whirlwind Wednesday that saw four players dealt by the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks before the 2 p.m. CST NHL trading deadline, the San Antonio Rampage banded together to stage a 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory over the Houston Aeros at the AT&T Center.
San Antonio (28-25-3-6) entered Wednesday’s game tied with Houston in the West Division standings and one point behind the Aeros in the Lone Star Faceoff standings.
Houston opened the scoring at the 6:15 mark of the first on a goal by left wing Colton Gillies. Gaining possession of the puck on the right half wall of the Rampage zone, Aeros right wing Danny Irmen cycled the puck behind the San Antonio net to Gillies, where the winger quickly wrapped the puck around the right post to provide Houston with an early 1-0 lead.
The Rampage tied the game two minutes and 59 seconds into the second on a power-play goal by left wing Brett MacLean. With the Rampage set up in the umbrella formation, center Kyle Turris received the puck on the left point and fired a slap shot that was deflected high off the glass by Houston goalie Anton Khudobin to David Spina on the left post. Spina then tapped the puck out to the left corner of the crease where MacLean dove to jab the puck under the Aeros netminder.
MacLean’s power-play goal was his 12th of the season and moved him past center Joel Perrault and into first place in Rampage franchise history for power-play goals (20). Turris’ assist represented his 16th point (8g, 8a) in his last 16 games.
San Antonio outshot Houston by a 15-8 margin in the second stanza as the two clubs headed to the final frame tied at one goal apiece.
Houston reclaimed their lead at the 7:00 mark of the third, on the power-play, when Aeros defenseman Jamie Fraser fired a slap shot from the left point that deflected off the stick of a Rampage player in the slot and into the Rampage net.
The Aeros then added to their lead three minutes and nine seconds later on defenseman Maxim Noreau’s 17th goal of the season. Gathering the puck on the left point, Houston defenseman J.P. Testwuide sent a pass across the blueline to Noreau on the right point. Noreau then curled around the top of the right faceoff circle and into the high slot before beating Tordjman low to the glove side on a wrist shot to increase the Aeros lead to 3-1.
Refusing to give up, San Antonio closed the deficit to 3-2 when Turris pounced on a rebound near the left post and beat Khudobin high to the blocker side at 15:11 of the third.
Turris’ goal extended his current goal streak to six games, which ties Jeff Hoggan for the longest goal streak in Rampage franchise history and represents the longest active goal streak in the AHL.
Continuing to pour on the pressure, the Rampage tied the contest with 13 seconds remaining in regulation on a power-play goal by left wing Stefan Meyer. Receiving a pass from Turris the left point of the Houston zone, San Antonio right wing Mikkel Boedker fired a knee-high slap shot that was tipped by Meyer into the upper left corner of the Aeros net.
Neither team scored in the waning seconds, thus sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, Houston outshot San Antonio by a 2-1 margin, but strong defensive play by both clubs forced a shootout.
In the shootout Turris and Boedker found the back of the Houston net.
Tordjman stopped 22 of 25 Houston shots for the victory, while Khudobin turned away 29 of 32 Rampage shots in the loss.
San Antonio was 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill in the contest.
The Rampage and Aeros will reunite for a 7:30 p.m. matchup on Friday at Toyota Center in Houston.
Colorado Avalanche trade F Wojtek Wolski to Phoenix Coyotes for F Kevin Porter and F Peter Mueller
Phoenix Coyotes acquire D Matthieu Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks for D Sean Zimmerman and a sixth-round pick
Phoenix Coyotes acquire F Alexander Picard from Columbus Blue Jackets for F Chad Kolarik (Picard assigned to San Antonio)
New York Rangers acquire D Anders Eriksson from Phoenix Coyotes for G Miika Wiikman and a seventh-round 2011 draft pick (Wiikman assigned to San Antonio)