From: Patrick Armstrong
, Director of Communications
713.361.7920 (Direct Line)
, Communications Manager
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Friday, March 27, 2009
GOALTENDERS SHINE IN 13-ROUND SHOOTOUT
AS ROCKFORD ICEHOGS BEAT HOUSTON AEROS, 3-2
HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Aeros fell in a 3-2 contest against the Rockford IceHogs after 13 rounds of a shootout Friday night at Toyota Center. Aeros’ goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped 33 shots faced in the first 65 minutes of action and 10-of-13 in his first shootout of the season. Rockford netminder Antti Niemi blocked 24-of-26 prior to the shootout and knocked aside 11-of-13 in the shootout for the win. Houston (36-25-1-9) earned one point giving the club a two point lead for second place as they hit the road for three straight games starting tomorrow in Peoria at 7:00 p.m.
The IceHogs recorded the first goal of the game when a shot deflected just wide of the net bounced off the backboards directly to Rob Klinkenhammer. The left winger quickly back-handed the puck off Khudobin’s side and in the net for a 1-0 lead just under halfway into the first period at 9:48 into the frame. Benoit Pouliot had a short handed breakaway with only the goaltender to beat with three minutes remaining in the first but the shot was knocked aside by Neimi’s left leg pad. Houston was able to kill off both short-handed situations in the period and would carry their second power-play chance into the second period.
Houston wasn’t able to convert on the remaining 1:25 of power-play early in the second period. The period was held scoreless as the Aeros killed off two short handed situation for their sixth and seventh consecutive penalty kill including all three Wednesday night. Houston outshot the IceHogs 11-9 in the middle period as they faced a 1-0 deficit heading to the final period of play.
Only 1:01 into the third period the Aeros tied the contest at one apiece when Paul Albers wristed a shot from the blue line into traffic in front of the net. The puck was deflected by Pouliot’s skate and between the leg pads of Niemi. Robbie Earl gave Houston their first lead of the game at 3:35 into the third when he stole the puck in the Aeros' offensive zone and wristed it top shelf over the blocker of the Rockford netminder.
Marco Rosa made an attempt to extend the Aeros lead with only Niemi to beat but a defenseman came up quickly to force Rosa to take a tough shot while crossing in front of the net but the puck was kicked aside with 8:20 left in the contest. With 2:14 remaining Rockford tied the contest as Jack Skille wristed the puck past Khudobin near the left wing faceoff circle on a power-play ending the Aeros streak at eight straight penalty kills. Houston killed a total of six-of-seven short handed situations on the night. The remainder of the contest was held scoreless, forcing overtime and the eventual shootout.
The first four shootout attempts for each team were unsuccessful. Evan Brophey netted the first goal for Rockford in the fifth round but Pouliot put the puck over Niemi’s right leg pad to keep Houston alive. The next five attempts for each team were all blocked until Tim Brent swung the puck wide around the left leg pad of Khudobin in the 11th round. Krys Kolanos answered by taking the puck over Rockford goaltender’s glove hand. Pete McArthur flicked the puck between Khudobin’s leg pads for the shootout winning goal in the 13th round.
-- HOUSTON AEROS: 15 Seasons, One Reason --