HOUSTON 3, HAMILTON 2
Houston tallied a pair of second-period power play goals, and Colton Gillies scored the game-winner at even strength early in the third as the Aeros grabbed a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals with a 3-2 win over Hamilton on Sunday at the Toyota Center.
With their sixth win in seven home games this postseason, the Aeros will take that 2-0 lead with them to Hamilton for Game 3 on Tuesday night. Game 4 is set for Wednesday at Copps Coliseum.
Houston got on the board first for the second time in as many games this series when Robbie Earl netted a power play goal at 3:16 of the second period. Rookie Gabriel Dumont brought the Bulldogs even at the 14:03 mark, but then Aeros defenseman Marco Scandella cashed in on a late power play to make it 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Gillies extended the advantage to 3-1 just over five minutes into the third frame, picking up his team-leading seventh goal of the postseason. That marker proved decisive when the Bulldogs’ Ryan Russell scored at 12:06.
Houston rookie goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 27 of 29 shots in net to run his postseason record to 10-3 in 13 appearances.
The Bulldogs dipped to 2-6 on the road during these playoffs, compared with a completely different 6-1 mark on home ice. Hamilton will need to win at least two of the next three games at Copps Coliseum in order to send this series back to Texas for a Game 6.
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 – HOUSTON 3, Hamilton 2
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