From: Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Friday, April 14, 2006
713.361.7930 (Direct Line)
Photos by Kirk Sides
Not dressing for the Aeros were A.J. Thelen, Colin Peters, Bill Kinkel, Brendan Bernakevitch and Andrei Nazarov.
Top: Roman Voloshenko scores the shootout game-winner.
Bottom: Joel Ward celebrates one of his two goals in the Aeros Retro Night jerseys
Aeros 5, Knights 4 (SO)
Official Box Score
HOUSTON, Texas Joel Ward and Matt Foy each scored their second goals of the game 37 seconds apart late in regulation to force overtime, and Roman Voloshenko scored the clinching goal in the eighth shootout round, as the Houston Aeros kept control of their own destiny in the West Division with a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in front of 8,291 on Retro Night at Toyota Center. Josh Harding made 31 saves in his return for Houston (49-24-3-3), which stayed two points behind first-place Milwaukee, a 3-2 winner tonight over Chicago. The Aeros have two games left and Milwaukee one, and Houston holds the tiebreaker advantage of wins. Houston can win the West Division title with wins in its last two games, or a win in one game and the same number of points as Milwaukee in the other. The Aeros also clinched at least second place, and therefore home ice advantage in a West Division Semifinals series, with the victory.
Warren Peters scored twice, Carsen Germyn added a goal and two assists and Brent Krahn made 36 saves for Omaha, which is 0-4-1-2 in its last seven and was eliminated from post-season contention late in the third period thanks to Iowas 4-3 shootout win over Peoria. Brandon Prust also scored for the Knights.
The Aeros travel to Chicago for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Wolves on Saturday, before finishing off their regular season slate with a 5:05 p.m. Easter Sunday game in Iowa.
Seven of the 10 games between Houston and Omaha have been decided by one goal, including six that went to overtime or a shootout.
It appeared the string of close games would be broken when Germyn and Peters scored power play goals 15 seconds apart in the opening five minutes of the third, to take a 4-2 lead. But the Aeros scored a pair of 4-on-4 goals, 37 seconds apart, to tie things up with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation.
Wards second of the game and third in two games got the Aeros within a goal with 7:17 left in the second, with the teams 4-on-1. Rookie Danny Irmen, in his third pro game, drove to the net from the left circle and Krahn made the stop. Ward hopped on the rebound and pushed it by the netminder.
Foy then scored his second of the night, and also third in two games, and 14th of the season at 13:20. Clayton Stoner, along the left wing boards, hit an unmolested Foy at the doorstep. Foy beat Krahn for his sixth in six games versus the Knights.
Harding made a sprawling save on Peters with 5:43 left.
The Aeros outshot Omaha 5-3 in overtime, but neither goalie gave an inch.
Omaha got a power play with 1:05 left in the overtime session when Ferguson got called for high sticking behind the play. Harding kicked out Adam Cracknells bomb from the left circle with 45 seconds remaining, and on the other end Lundbohm drew a hooking penalty on Cracknell to even things up 3-on-3 for the final 30 seconds.
Defensemen Shawn Belle and Curtis Murphy led a 2-on-1 in the waning seconds, but Krahn poked the puck away from an acrobatic Murphy as time expired.
Houston went 1-for-8 on the power play, while Omaha finished 3-for-8.
Omahas Ajay Baines led off the shootout, and Harding got a piece of the attempt with his left pad. Aeros rookie Patrick OSullivan, the AHLs most outstanding rookie, deked Krahn to the ground but put a backhander wide.
Germyn, Baines former Norfolk Admirals teammate, had his shot blocked by Harding, and Kirby Law, the Aeros captain, came over the boards for head coach Rob Daum. Law tried to go five hole, but Krahn stood his ground to make the save.
Cracknell was the middle shooter for the Knights, and the rookie got Harding to commit and then slid the puck inside the far post. Voloshenko hit the water bottle with a top-shelf attempt to even things up through three rounds.
Defenseman Tim Hambly, with one goal in 42 games, went glove side on Harding, who made the save. That brought up Foy, one of the regulation heroes with two goals. Foy also tried to go low, but Krahn stopped the shot.
Peters, with two goals in regulation for Omaha, had his glove-side attempt pushed wide by Harding, and Peter Olvecky skated out for the clinching attempt. Krahn, though, made the blocker save, bringing up sudden death.
Cracknell began the sixth round and shot the puck wide, and Krahn got his right pad out to stop OSullivans attempt.
Germyn was Omahas shooter in round seven, but Harding got a piece of the puck with his glove. Law went backhand, but didnt get a clear shot off.
Baines went for the Knights in the eighth round and deked Harding down, but the second-year goalie stuck the right pad out for the save. Voloshenko went five hole for the clincher, securing Houstons 21st come-from-behind victory out of 49 wins
Omaha got the games first power play two minutes in, and it took the Knights just 15 seconds to capitalize. Germyn sprung Prust on a breakaway, and the rookie stepped between the circles and fired a shot off Harding and into the net for his 11th goal of the season.
That started a string of seven straight shots for the Knights.
Houstons Greg Mauldin, set up by Foy, just missed the post 12 minutes into the first, and seconds later Mauldin forced Krahn to make a shoulder save short side.
Two minutes later, Krahn snagged a Murphy point blast with his glove, and Houston circling on the power play.
Foy evened the score 3:55 into the second, with the Aeros on the power play. Olvecky (two assists), low in the right circle, slid a pass to Mauldin in the low slot. A diving Krahn stopped Mauldins shot, but Foy backhanded the rebound by the fallen netminder from the left doorstep for his 13th of the season second in as many games.
Just after Aeros captain Law fanned on a shot deep in the Omaha zone leading to a 2-on-1, Zenith Komarniski missed a near open net shot that would have given the Knights the lead back.
Murphy hit OSullivan at the right doorstep with a centering feed with nine minutes left in the second, but OSullivan couldnt control the bouncing puck and chipped it over the net.
The Aeros got back-to-back power plays, including 14 seconds of a 5-on-3 immediately following, but Krahn stood strong and Omaha scored the go-ahead goal with 6:22 left in the second.
Foy collided with Ferguson while setting up the Houston power play deep in the Aeros own zone, and Peters took the puck and shot it by Harding for his 13th of the season.
Harding stopped Omahas Derek Couture on a breakaway as he was released from the box with 90 seconds left in the second, but Ferguson picked up a slashing minor on the play.
The Aeros failed to score on four second period power plays, but they scored on that Omaha power play. Ward stole the puck at center ice and skated ahead of the pack. Ward, with two Knights draped all over him and a penalty upcoming, slid the puck five hole under Krahn for his seventh goal of the season and second in as many games.
Omaha got 39 seconds off a 5-on-3 early on in the third period, and got Germyns team-leading 24th goal of the season and Peters 13th tally, 15 seconds apart, to seize control.
Germyn took a feed from Cracknell just outside the left circle and let one rip high on Harding for the go-ahead goal at 4:21, and Peters skated through the low slot and redirected a Baines pass from the center point by Harding.
Murphy set up OSullivan in the right circle seven minutes into the third with Houston on the power play, but Krahn pushed the puck up onto the protective netting. Law just missed the far post, and Krahn swallowed up his drive from the left circle.
At the midway point of the third, Krahn kicked out consecutive hard drives by Murphy and Olvecky.
Minnesota recalled goalie Miroslav Kopriva to back up Manny Fernandez tomorrow in Dallas, allowing Harding to return to the Aeros.
The Aeros finished the regular season 30-6-2-2 at home, the second-best such record in the AHL. Houston won 30 home games for just the second time in team history.
Law had a nine-game point streak snapped.
Houston improved to 6-3 in shootouts. Omaha has 11 shootout losses.
The Aeros went 4-1-0-0 on the homestand.
Houston won for just the ninth time when allowing four or more goals (9-17-0-2).