January 16, 2004 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Houston Aeros
Houston, TX ¬Ė Eric Beaudoin scored twice and added a helper and Brent Cullaton supplied three assists, as San Antonio beat the Houston Aeros 6-3 in front of 13,342 (including Roger Clemens) at Toyota Center, the largest Aeros crowd in nearly five full seasons since 15,242 watched Game 7 of the 1999 Turner Cup Finals. The crowd was also the largest to see an AHL game this season by more than 500 fans. Gregory Campbell, Greg Koehler, Sean O¬íConnor and Mike Green also scored and Travis Scott made 36 saves for San Antonio, which has won back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month. The Rampage (39 points) moved into a tie for fourth place with the Aeros in the West Division and will play host to the Aeros Saturday at 7 p.m. Christoph Brandner scored his first two goals as an Aero and Erik Reitz added a goal and an assist for Houston, which is winless in a franchise-record nine games (0-2-6-1). The Aeros played without head coach Todd McLellan, who missed the game with the flu. Assistant Matt Shaw ran the team in McLellan¬ís stead, while defenseman Travis Roche also missed the game with the flu. The Aeros also played without leading scorers Kyle Wanvig (Minnesota) and Rickard Wallin (injury), and defenseman Zbynek Michalek (Minnesota).
The Aeros¬í next home game is Saturday, Jan. 24, against Syracuse on Johan Holmqvist Bobblehead Night. The Aeros got an early boost from the return of second-year center Mark Cullen. Cullen, who missed the first three games of the season after cancer treatment late in the summer, had sat out the last 22 games due to a badly separated shoulder.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 22-of-25 shots before being replaced by Kyle Kettles, who turned aside eight shots while allowing three goals in the third period. Kettles was tagged with the loss, snapping his five-game unbeaten streak.
Houston looked in control after one, leading just 1-0 but outshooting the Rampage 18-7. San Antonio, though, outshot the Aeros 29-21 over the remainder of the game.
San Antonio scored three times in a span of 5:04 in the second period to take the lead and pad it. The Rampage controlled the stanza overall, outshooting the Aeros 18-10.
The Rampage evened the score with 9:12 left. Petr Taticek sent the puck in from the right circle. Holmqvist stopped the puck with the inside of his pads, but it lay untouched in the crease until Campbell poked it past the fallen netminder.
San Antonio then went ahead at 15:37, on a great individual play by the Rampage¬ís All Star, Beaudoin. Cullaton centered the puck from the left circle, and Beaudoin cut in front of Holmqvist and tipped the puck backwards between his legs for his 18th goal of the season.
The Rampage scored again just 15 seconds, to push the lead to two. Cullaton threw the puck on net from the corner, and it hit off Holmqvist to a cutting Green, who got the puck right past the goalie for his 10th of the season.
Houston¬ís Chris Heid, one of six healthy Aeros defensemen, took a five-minute high-sticking call (and the game misconduct) with 1:07 left in the second period. The Rampage would score twice on that man advantage to take full control.
Koehler scored for San Antonio just 1:20 into the third period to make it 4-1, and with 3:11 gone O¬íConnor tallied.
The Aeros answered back, as Reitz capitalized on an assist by Matt Foy 56 seconds later.
San Antonio went back up four goals with 10:43 left in the game. Cullaton rifled one from the left point, and Beaudoin tipped the puck up and over Kettles into the net.
The Aeros refused to collapse, scoring on the power play with 8:57 left in the third, as Brandner scored his second of the game. Brandner took a puck along the boards behind the net, skated into the right circle and popped one by Scott to draw the Aeros within 6-3. Brandner was assigned to the Aeros by the Minnesota Wild Wednesday.
The Aeros dominated the opening period on both ends of the ice, outshooting San Antonio 18-7 and tallying the game¬ís first goal.
Brandner¬ís first as an Aero made it 1-0 with 1:01 left in the stanza, with the Rampage¬ís Matt Dzieduszycki in the box for hooking. Marc Cavosie ripped a shot on net that got knocked down in front. Brandner¬ís massive 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame was there to tap the rebound past Scott. The goal snapped the Aeros overall and home scoreless streak at 178 minutes, 52 seconds.
Houston went 1-for-3 on the power play, while San Antonio finished 2-for-3.
The Aeros drew a sold-out 15,242 on June 5, 1999, at Compaq Center versus Orlando in the 1999 Turner Cup Finals. Game 6 of the series two days earlier also sold out.
The previous top crowd in the AHL this season was 12,818, at Chicago, which hosted Grand Rapids on November 1.
"The Rocket" addressed the team prior to the game, telling him he admired a team that has fought through sickness and injuries this season.
Wanvig posted his first point of the season with the Wild, assisting on Filip Kuba¬ís third-period game-winner in a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh. Minnesota rallied from two goals down to score four times in the third period.