From: Patrick Armstrong
, Director of Communications
713.361.7920 (Direct Line)
, Communications Manager
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Monday, May 18, 2009
HOUSTON AEROS FACE SWEEP AFTER FALLING 4-3 TO MANITOBA MOOSE
HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Aeros couldn’t hold on to their comeback effort after falling behind two goals as the Manitoba Moose took a 4-3 decision at Toyota Center Monday night. The loss put Houston at a 3-0 deficit in the Western Conference Finals as the Aeros face elimination in Game 4 Wednesday night. Tickets for the contest are still available by calling (713) 974-PUCK or online at AEROS.com.
Houston goaltender Nolan Schaefer got his first start of the playoffs and stopped 15-of-19 shots faced. Moose netminder Corey Schneider knocked aside 21-of-24 shots, including 12-of-14 faced in the third period as the Aeros attempted their comeback.
Houston again came out and took the momentum from the opening faceoff, but the home team didn’t sustain the momentum. At the 7:30 mark of the period, Krys Kolanos went to the box for holding to give Manitoba their first power play opportunity of the game. Houston killed the penalty, but it was Moose captain Mike Keane that unlocked the scoreless tie. Keane came in on a two-on-two rush and batted a Mario Bliznak pass out of mid-air to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The goal came at the 13:47 mark of the period and Guillaume Desbiens earned the second assist.
Houston earned a penalty at the 15:36 mark of the first period when Raymond Sawada went to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Aeros had a lot of time in the Manitoba’s zone during the power play, but the home team was unable to convert and score the equalizer. Houston entered the first intermission trailing 1-0 and being outshot 9-7.
Moose defenseman Nathan McIver went to the penalty box early into the second period giving the Aeros a chance to tie the score. It was the Moose that took a 2-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Alexandre Bolduc at the 2:33 mark. Bolduc picked up the puck at his own blue line and skated in on a two-on-one. The passing lane was taken away by Aeros’ defenseman Maxim Noreau, so Bolduc wristed a shot five-hole past Schaefer.
Matt Beaudoin cut the lead in half for Houston on his fifth goal of the post-season. Kolanos took a slap shot from the top of the left circle and Beaudoin tipped it under the glove of Schneider to make it 2-1. Manitoba quickly responded and Michael Grabner tallied his third goal in the past two games to regain the two-goal lead for the Moose. Jason Jaffray made a nice pass across the slot to Grabner on the backdoor and he buried the puck into the open net.
Only a total of seven shots were recorded in the second period, four for Manitoba who scored on two of the shots. The Aeros scored one on three shots to give Manitoba a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Houston got off to a quick start in the third period bringing the game within one at 1:11 into the frame. Corey Locke added another goal to his league lead – his tenth of the playoffs – with Marco Rosa and Clayton Stoner earning the assists. Just about five minutes later into the final frame Benoit Pouliot was called for roughing, putting the Moose on a power play. Shortly after the ensuing faceoff the puck was dumped into the Manitoba defensive zone and Danny Irmen was able to stuff the puck in net at 6:30 in the final period. The goal, just 16 seconds into the Moose power play, was assisted by Rosa for the Aeros second short-handed goal of the playoffs and tied the contest at three apiece.
The contest remained tied for nearly 10 minutes until Grabner finished a tic-tac-toe play with Jaffray and Mark Fistric for the eventual game-winning goal with 3:49 remaining in the contest. Houston would get one last push when Bolduc earned a two-minute penalty for cross checking with 2:33 left on the clock. Schaefer was pulled in favor of an extra attacked with 1:10 remaining, giving Houston a 6-on-4 advantage for 43 seconds of the power play but it wasn’t enough to force overtime.
Houston finished with 24 shots on net compared to Manitoba’s 19. The Aeros converted on one of five power-play chances and killed off all three Moose man advantages as the Aeros slipped to a 3-0 deficit in the Western Conference Finals.
- Aeros goaltender Nolan Schaefer started his first game of the playoffs. Anton Khudobin had started all 16 games of the playoffs before tonight. Dating back to the regular season, Khudobin had started 18 straight games for Houston.
- Houston slipped to a record of 0-8 in the playoffs when trailing after the first period as the club was down 1-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.
- The 3-0 series deficit is just the second time the club has been in such a position in a best-of-seven series. The only other time Houston trailed 3-0 in a series was when the club was eventually swept by the Milwaukee Admirals in 2006.
-- HOUSTON AEROS: The Calder Cup, Our Reason --