From: Patrick Armstrong
, Director of Communications
713.361.7920 (Direct Line)
, Communications Manager
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Friday, May 15, 2009
SCHNEIDER STOPS 31 OF 32 IN WIN
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Manitoba Moose took Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 2-1 over the Houston Aeros at MTS Centre Friday night. Dusty Collins and Mario Bliznak each scored for the Moose, and Cory Schneider stopped 31 of 32 shots for the Manitoba’s eighth straight win in the playoffs. Matt Beaudoin tallied the Aeros only goal of the evening and Aeros' netminder Anton Khudobin stopped 16 of 18 shots in the loss. Houston outshot the Moose 32-18 in the contest and finished 1-3 on the power play while killing all four of Manitoba's chances.
The teams will face off again tomorrow night at MTS Centre at 7:30 p.m. for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) will all be in Houston on Monday, May 18, Wednesday, May 20 and Friday, May 22 respectively. Call (713) 974-PUCK to get tickets or visit AEROS.com. Listen live to all the action with Joe O'Donnell on KNTH 1070-AM or watch all the road games live at Maple Leaf Pub located at 514 Elgin Street.
After a hard fought opening 10 minutes of the contest, the teams settled into the game. It was Dusty Collins who opened the scoring at the 14:45 mark of the period. Newcomer Cody Hodgson came in on the right wing, dished the puck to the right slot to Greg Rallo who shot the puck far post. Khudobin made the initial save in Rallo with his blocker, but it bounced right to Collins' skate and the center buried the puck into the open net. It marked Collins’ first goal of the playoffs and gave the Moose a 1-0 advantage. Houston outshot the Moose 10-4 in the first period and controlled much of the play, but the visitors went to the first intermission down the goal.
After a scoreless and evenly played second period in which each team had 10 shots, the teams entered the third period with the Moose still leading 1-0.
Houston continued to pressure Manitoba’s zone in the third period and earned a power play at the 9:03 mark when Mark Fistric went to the penalty box for hooking. The Aeros capitalized on their third power play of the game on Matt Beaudoin’s fourth goal of the post-season. Aeros’ center and leading scorer Corey Locke controlled the puck from the left corner and made a quick pass to Tony Hrkac who was just above the crease. Hrkac went to his backhand, made goalie Schneider commit, and fed the puck to Beaudoin on the far post and he put it into the open net.
The 1-1 game didn’t last long as Mario Bliznak tallied the game-winning goal at the 11:58 mark of the third period. Guillame Desbiens corralled the puck in the left wing corner, moved it up the boards to Mike Keane who quickly centered the puck to Bliznak. The Moose center made Khudobin commit as the Aeros’ goaltender moved right to left and backhanded the puck under the glove of Khudobin.
Houston made a valiant effort in the final eight minutes to tally the equalizer but fell short. The Aeros outshot the Moose 12-4 in the final period and 32-18 overall in the game but remained winless when outshooting their opponent (0-4).
The Aeros will get a chance to even the series Saturday night at the MTS Centre when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
-- HOUSTON AEROS: The Calder Cup, Our Reason --