Houston powers to 2-0 series lead
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.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon chipped in two assists for the Aeros, who received one helper apiece from Cody Almond, Jed Ortmeyer, and Warren Peters.
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