Aeros-Bulldogs Game 1 Preview
Friday, 05.13.2011 / 8:36 AM CT / News
HOUSTON AEROS (2nd seed, West Division)
vs. HAMILTON BULLDOGS (1st seed, North Division)
BEST-OF-7 (Game 1)
TOYOTA CENTER (7:35 p.m. CST)
The Houston Aeros and Hamilton Bulldogs clash in the Western Conference Finals, a best-of-seven series in which the Aeros have home ice.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Houston swept the Peoria Rivermen 4-0 in the first round and edged Milwaukee in seven games in the second round. Hamilton edged OKC 4-2 in round one and then defeated Manitoba in seven games in round two. Both teams won their respective Game 7’s to reach the Conference Finals. For the Aeros, Casey Wellman’s deciding goal on Tuesday came with 1:21 left in regulation. Dustin Boyd scored the winning goal for Hamilton six seconds into the third OT on Monday. The Aeros are in the conference finals for the second time in three seasons and fourth time since joining the AHL. The Bulldogs are making their second straight appearance and fifth in the last 10 years.
AEROS TEAM NOTABLES
--- This is the fourth time the Aeros have faced a Canadian team in the playoffs. Houston defeated Hamilton in the 2003 Calder Cup Finals. The other two series were against Manitoba.
--- Houston has not lost a series in which it owned home-ice advantage since dropping a best-of-three qualifying series to Cincinnati in 2004.
--- Houston joined the Maine Mariners (5-0) as the only franchises in AHL history to win five Game 7’s in their history without a loss, and the Aeros became the first team ever with five Game 7 road victories to its credit.
--- Games 4, 5 and 6 versus MIL went to overtime, which set an Aeros playoff record.
--- Houston has outshot their opponents in 10 of 11 playoff games including the last seven straight
--- Game 5 versus MIL was the 14th-longest overtime game in Aeros history.
--- Opponents have scored first eight times, but the Aeros have won six of those games.
--- The Aeros are 4-1 in games decided by one goal.
--- Houston is 3-0 when leading after two periods, 2-2 when trailing after two and 3-1 when tied after two.
AEROS PLAYER NOTABLES
--- Robbie Earl's two-goal effort in Game 5 versus MIL was the 30th time an Aeros player has scored twice in a postseason game. Earl notched three assists in Game 3 versus MIL, just one shy of a team playoff record. He has six assists in the last five games.
--- Patrick O'Sullivan had 12 shots in Game 5 versus MIL and set a new team record in the process. He has at least a point in all but two games.
--- Colton Gillies scored twice in Game 3versus MIL and became the 29th Aeros player to record two goals in a playoff game. No Aero has ever scored a hat trick in postseason play.
--- Carson McMillan has two overtime game-winners this postseason and is the first Aero to ever record multiple OT game-winners the playoffs.
--- Brett Bulmer, Minnesota’s second round draft pick in 2010, made his pro debut on April 28 at MIL in Game 1.
Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens)
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
Game 1 – Fri., May 13 – Hamilton at Houston, 7:35 PM
Game 2 – Sun., May 15 – Hamilton at Houston, 4:05 PM
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Houston at Hamilton, 6:30 PM
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Houston at Hamilton, 6:30 PM
*Game 5 – Fri., May 20 – Houston at Hamilton, 6:30 PM
*Game 6 – Sun., May 22 – Hamilton at Houston, 4:05 PM
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Hamilton at Houston, 7:05 PM
--- ALL TIMES CST
PLAYOFF HISTORY VERSUS HAMILTON
Houston meets Hamilton for a berth in the 2011 Calder Cup Finals, the teams’ first postseason collision since the Aeros won a seven-game Calder Cup Finals series in 2003.
--- Matt Hackett went 4-0 in the first round versus PEO with a 1.68 GAA and .932 SV%.
--- Hackett was 4-3 versus MIL in the second round with a 2.66 GAA and .881 SV%.
--- Overall, Hackett is 4-2 on the road with a 2.25 GAA and .897 SV%. At home, Hackett is 4-1 with a 2.23 GAA and .896 SV%.
--- Hackett’s 21-save shutout in Game 2 versus MIL as his first as a pro in the postseason and Houston’s first since May 7, 2009, when the Aeros blanked the Admirals 2-0 at Toyota Center in Game 4 of the West Division Finals. It was their 14th shutout overall.
--- Hackett went 1-0-0 against the Bulldogs with a 0.69 GAA and .973 SV% in two appearances during the regular season.
--- Josh Tordjman was 4-1-0 in six overall appearances during the regular season.
LAST GAME QUICK RECAP
Casey Wellman scored with 1:21 left in regulation and Warren Peters added an empty-netter to lift the Houston Aeros past the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2 on Tuesday at Bradley Center in Game 7 of the American Hockey League’s West Division Finals.
AEROS SPECIAL TEAMS
POWER PLAY --- Went 6/32 versus MIL in round 2… Went 3/24 versus PEO in the opening round… Ranked 6th (20.2%) in the regular season… Jon DiSalvatore led the team with 14 PPG… Finished the season with goals in six-straight to set a season-high streak (18/45)…Also had goals in six-straight from Feb. 22-Mar. 4… Had multiple PPG in 16 games and was 12-2-0-2 in those games.
PENALTY KILL --- MIL went 4/30 in round 2… The Ads scored a SHG in Game 5… PEO went 3/12 on the PP in the first round… Ranked 22nd (81.0%) in the regular season… Carson McMillan led the team with three SHG… Opponents were 16/46 on the PP in the final eight games of the season… Allowed at least a goal in a season-high seven straight (Mar. 22 – Apr. 2)… Held opponents to one or no PPG in 15 straight games until TOR went 2-for-5 on Jan. 23.
REGULAR SEASON SERIES NOTES
--- The teams met twice in a one week span in December and split the games (Dec. 14 at HAM, 3-1 HOU win; Dec. 21 at HOU, 5-0 HAM win).
--- HOU went 0/7 on the PP while HAM went 1/7. HAM scored a pair of SHG on Dec. 21.
--- Matt Hackett earned the win on Dec. 14 and entered the game on Dec. 21 in a relief role.
--- Curtis Sanford appeared in both games in goal for HAM. He is out with a shoulder injury and has not played since Feb. 26.
AEROS BROADCAST INFO
Follow the Aeros on News Talk 1070 KNTH and online at AEROS.COM with Joe O’Donnell providing the play-by-play call. Watch every game online at www.ahllive.com.
AEROS REGULAR SEASON NOTES
The Aeros finished the regular season with a 46-28-1-5 (98 pts.) record for the No. 2 spot in the West Division. The Aeros had the most wins in both the division and the Western Conference. Only two other teams finished with more wins (WBS – 58, Portland -47). Milwaukee won the West Division title for the fourth time in eight years and topped 100 points for the fifth time since 2003-04. They finished with a 44-22-6-8 record.