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Houston falls 3-1 to Peoria Friday, could clinch playoffs Saturday

April 3, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Houston Aeros News Release

PEORIA, Ill. - The Houston Aeros fell 3-1 in Peoria as the Rivermen took sole possession of second place in the West Division Friday night. The loss, coupled with a Rockford win, slipped the Aeros into a tie for third place with the IceHogs. Houston could clinch a playoff berth in tomorrow's 6:30 p.m. CDT game at Lake Erie with a win and a loss by Quad City.

The Aeros (37-29-1-7) started Rejean Beauchemin in net for his first contest with Houston stopping 16 of 19 shots in the loss. Manny Legace backstopped Peoria (41-31-2-2) by making a number of big saves to keep the Aeros at bay for his 12th win of the season.

The Rivermen got off to a quick start going two-for-two on power plays within the first eight minutes. Steve Regier got the home club on the board 4:57 in during a five-on-four man advantage. The next power play the Aeros allowed put them at a 2-0 deficit when Julian Talbot wristed the puck five-hole between Beauchemin's leg pads at 7:50 in the opening period. Peoria finished 2-for-4 on power plays in the first while out-shooting the Aeros 6-5.

Danny Irmen brought the Aeros within one just over halfway into the second period moments after a 5-on-3 power play turned into a one-man advantage at the 10:20 mark. Irmen received a pass from Brandon Rogers along the goal line and brought it into the crease before stuffing it in on a second effort. Peoria took back a two-goal lead at 12:16 in the middle period when Jeff Cowan recorded the first even-strength marker of the game. Houston didn't go short handed during the second period and out-shot the home team 14-6 before heading to the second intermission down 3-1.

Houston appeared to control the third period, spending a majority of the 20 minutes in the offensive zone but couldn't detract from their two-goal deficit. The Aeros earned two power plays and allowed one but neither team would convert. Beauchemin left the pipes for just over a minute at the end of the game giving the Aeros a 6-on-5 extra attacker situation in a comeback effort.

The Aeros finished the contest with 28 shots on net compared to Peoria's 19 in the losing effort. Houston took six penalties for a total of 12 minutes in the box while Peoria had nine penalties for 18 minutes giving the Aeros a total of eight power plays in the game.

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