Record Crowd Sees Aeros Roll over Rampage 4-1
Houston, TX - The Houston Aeros (38-25-5-5, 86 points) defeated the San Antonio Rampage (29-35-2-6, 66 points) 4-1 on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd to watch an Aeros game at Toyota Center, 13,506 fans. Houston scored three times over a 1:21 stretch midway through the second period to pull away from their in-state rivals and move closer to clinching a spot in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. Forward Justin Fontaine led the charge, scoring twice and adding an assist, as the Aeros improved to 21-11-3-3 at home this season. Center Chad Rau (goal, assist) and defenseman Brian Connelly (2 assists) each had a multi-point game, as the Aeros concluded their ten-game home stand with a 5-3-1-1 record. Forward Dan DaSilva also scored, as Houston moved to 7-3-1-0 against the Rampage this season. Aeros goalie Mike Condon (2-0-0) stopped 22 of 23 San Antonio shots for his second AHL win. San Antonio goalie Brian Foster (1-3-0) finished with 24 saves on 27 shots before being pulled midway through the second period for Dov Grumet-Morris who made 14 saves on 15 shots. Houston ends the regular season with a three-game road trip starting Friday at the Texas Stars at 7:30 p.m.
The Aeros jumped out to a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first period. Justin Fontaine finished off a feed from Erik Haula at 15:20, scoring his 20th goal of the season. Defenseman Brain Connelly had the secondary assist on the power-play tally.
The Rampage started the second period on the penalty kill and managed its third shorthanded goal of the season against Houston merely 12 seconds into the period, tying the game at 1-1. Forward Jared Gomes picked up a loose puck at the Houston blueline and took off on a breakaway. Gomes slipped the puck past goalie Mike Condon for his 12th goal of the year. Houston answered back with three straight goals in a 1:21 span. Forward Dan DaSilva put in a rebound for his sixth goal of the season at 9:36. Center Chad Rau and forward Zack Phillips each picked up an assist on Houston's second goal of the night. Houston made it 3-1 only 46 seconds later, with Rau poking in a rebound for his 14th goal of the year. Connelly and Fontaine each had an assist on the power-play goal at 10:22. After the goal, San Antonio pulled goalie Brian Foster in favor of Dov Grumet-Morris. Foster finished with 24 saves on 27 shots on goal in 30:22 of work. The Aeroes welcomed Grumet-Morris to the game with a goal 35 seconds later. David McIntyre slipped a puck across the Rampage crease to Fontaine, who finished the play with his 21st tally of the season. Carson McMIllan added an assist as the team pushed ahead 4-1.
Prior to the game, Houston Aeros General Manager Jim Mill announced the club has signed goalie Kris Westblom to a professional tryout agreement (PTO).
Westblom is a second-year pro who's played this season with the Fort Worth Brahmas of the Central Hockey League. In 37 regular season games, Westblom posted a 21-8-5 record with a 2.30 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. In seven playoff games, Westblom is 4-2 with a 2.50 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
Houston finishes the regular season with a three-game road trip starting Friday at the Texas Stars at 7:30 p.m. before heading to San Antonio Saturday to take on the Rampage at 7 p.m. The Aeros end the regular season Sunday, April 21st at the Oklahoma City Barons at 4 p.m.
Information on mini-plans for the remainder of the season is available on the team website at www.aeros.com. Groups of 15 or more receive a discount on all tickets, to book your group outing to an Aeros game please call 713-974-PUCK (7825).
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