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Aeros 5, Rampage 4 (OT)

Sunday, 04.09.2006 / 10:24 PM / News
Minnesota Wild
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Aeros 5, Rampage 4 (OT)
Official Box Score

HOUSTON, Texas – Curtis Murphy’s second goal of the game, with 18 seconds left in overtime, lifted the Houston Aeros to a stirring 5-4 victory over the San Antonio Rampage at Toyota Center. Murphy added an assist, while fellow All-Stars Erik Westrum, Kirby Law and Patrick O’Sullivan each chipped in a goal and a helper. O’Sullivan’s 45th goal tied an Aeros team record, and Seamus Kotyk made 26 saves for his 50th AHL win as Houston (47-23-3-3) moved to 100 points – four behind idle first-place Milwaukee with four games remaining. The Aeros have two games in hand and are up on third-place Peoria by three points.

The Aeros play host to Omaha Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Buy tickets. It’s a Young Professionals Night/Half Price at Center Ice Night. Get a center ice ticket for just $14! Log on to www.aeros.com/themenights to order. Username is Aeros, password is Tuesday. Or, call 713.974.PUCK to order. Special offer not available at the Toyota Center Box Office.

Murphy had been held without a goal in 17 games dating back to February 26. But the two-time Eddie Shore Award winner as the AHL’s top defenseman, came up big in this one. His first goal, a shorthanded score with 5:41 left in regulation, gave the Aeros a 4-3 lead exactly 11 seconds after he assisted on Law’s game-tying score. This week, Murphy was named First Team All-AHL for the third time, becoming just the seventh player in league history to accomplish the feat, and the first in 30 years.

He also earned $700 tonight for Murphy’s Mission benefiting I Have a Dream, bringing the total raised to $1,800.

Pavel Brendl scored twice, Jakub Koreis also scored and Yanick Lehoux forced overtime with 10 seconds left for last-place San Antonio, which is 1-8-1-0 in its last 10. Scott Stirling made 24 saves for the Rampage.

San Antonio took a 3-2 lead at 4:14 of the third, when Brendl’s rip from the left circle went off Kotyk’s glove and into the net.

The Aeros kept the pressure up, finally evening the score for a third time with 5:52 left in regulation. With the teams 4-on-4, Murphy banked the puck off the boards near the benches to Law, who caught up with the puck and rang a blistering shot off the water bottle and quickly back out of the net for his 41st of the season and league-leading 106th point.

Law went to the bench quickly after he slid hard into the boards after the goal, but saw fellow veteran Murphy put the Aeros ahead just 11 seconds later. Just after a San Antonio penalty expired, giving the Rampage a power play, Joel Ward stole the puck and sprung Murphy up the right wing. Murphy used a similar move as Law to beat Stirling for his 11th of the season.

But the Rampage scored a dramatic goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Joe Callahan’s point blast was knocked down in traffic, and with a crush of bodies around Kotyk, Lehoux tapped the puck into the net for his 18th goal of the season.

However, Murphy showed why he’s one of the leading candidates for a third Eddie Shore. Westrum, just back from NHL Minnesota, stole the puck at center ice and fed Murphy streaking up the left wing. Murphy snuck a quick shot just between Stirling and the post, bringing the Sunday crowd of 5,592 to its feet.

The teams ended a relatively quiet first period tied at 1-1.

Brendl tallied his 18th goal of the season to get San Antonio on top exactly four minutes into the game. Kotyk stopped Matt Jones’ attempt from the left point, but Brendl hopped on the rebound and pushed it under Kotyk.

Just 1:19 later, O’Sullivan tied Jeff Christian’s 1998-99 team record of 45 goals. Matt Foy stole the puck at his own blueline and slid a long pass to O’Sullivan, springing the rookie up the middle for a breakaway. O’Sullivan went high on Stirling for the goal.

San Antonio took a 2-1 lead at 3:31 of the second when Koreis rebounded a John Zeiler attempt by Kotyk, but Westrum’s power play goal – his 32nd goal of the season – got the Aeros even at 6:17, setting up the dramatic third period.

Houston finished 1-for-7 on the power play, while San Antonio went 0-for-4. The Aeros are 3-for-58 on the power play in the last 10 games.

Notes:
  • Not dressing for the Aeros were A.J. Thelen, Colin Peters, Bill Kinkel, Josh Olson, Brendan Bernakevitch and Andrei Nazarov.
  • Law has an eight-game point streak (5-8=13). He’s just three points behind Brian Wiseman’s 1998-99 team record of 109 points, with four games left.
  • Houston earned its 20th come-from-behind win, but its first in the last eight games in which it has allowed the first goal.
  • Westrum is still third in the league with 94 points (32-62=94). Grand Rapids’ Jiri Hudler is second with 97 (36-61=97).
  • Murphy is second in the AHL among defensemen in scoring with 63 points (12-51=63).
  • O’Sullivan has the third-most goals of any rookie since 1990-91, and the fifth most points.
  • O’Sullivan has an AHL rookie-best 87 points (45-42=87), the fifth-highest total of any Aero in a single season in team history.
  • Houston had been shut out in each of the last two meetings with San Antonio.
  • The Aeros improved to 28-6-2-2 at home, the second-best such record in the AHL.
  • Houston was 0-2-2-1 in its last five one-goal games. The Aeros improved to 22-7-3-3 in such contests.
  • Copyright © 2006 HOUSTON AEROS, All rights reserved.
    Visit us online at www.aeros.com

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