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Hackett, Aeros take Game 1

Matt Hackett made 38 saves as Houston opened the Western Conference Finals with a 2-1 win over Hamilton at Toyota Center on Friday night.

Hackett (9-3) and the Aeros will take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Rau put Houston on the board with a power-play goal at 14:52 of the first period, just the fourth time in 12 playoff games that the Aeros scored the game’s first goal.

Jed Ortmeyer made it 2-0 with a goal 2:59 into the second period, his second tally of the postseason and first since Houston’s playoff opener vs. Peoria on Apr. 13.

Mathieu Carle found a loose puck in the crease with 51 seconds to play in regulation to spoil Hackett’s shutout bid.

Hackett, who made 20 of his 38 stops in the third period, preserved the win with a flashy glove save on Nigel Dawes with 10.4 seconds left.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. N1-Hamilton Bulldogs
Game 1 – Fri., May 13 – HOUSTON 2, Hamilton 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 15 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 20 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 22 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:05