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Tue. roundup: Aeros fly into first-place tie

Tuesday’s AHL Boxscores

HOUSTON 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (OT)
Former AHL rookie of the year Patrick O’Sullivan continued to light up the league this season with a pair of goals in regulation, and Robbie Earl (pictured) scored 1:25 into overtime to lift Houston into a first-place tie with a 3-2 win over visiting Milwaukee on Tuesday at the Toyota Center.

The Aeros extended their current points streak to three games (2-0-0-1) and improved to 39-25-1-5, good for 84 points and a share of the West Division’s top spot with Milwaukee, which still holds four games in hand.

Houston rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits in regulation, and O’Sullivan provided the tying marker on both occasions. The AHL’s top rookie in 2006, O’Sullivan scored once apiece at even strength and on the power play and has now racked up a remarkable 16 goals and 35 points in just 26 games since joining the Aeros from parent-club Minnesota.

Chad Rau and defenseman Maxim Noreau assisted on O’Sullivan’s second-period power play tally, while his game-tying goal with 8:52 gone in the third period came unassisted.

Aeros rookie goaltender Matt Hackett (17-13-4) continued his strong play of late with 25 saves on 27 shots to pick up the win in net.

Rookie forward Gabriel Bourque netted a pair of power play goals for the Admirals, who have still earned a point in all five meetings with Houston this season (3-0-1-1).

The teams will conclude their regular-season series on Apr. 1 in Milwaukee.

PEORIA 2, OKLAHOMA CITY 1 (SO)
Peoria converted on three of its four shootout tries en route to a 2-1 come-from-behind triumph over visiting Oklahoma City on Tuesday at Carver Arena.

Colin McDonald netted his team-leading 28th goal of the season just 33 seconds after the opening face-off to give Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead, and it remained that way into the third period before Rivermen forward Dave Scatchard brought his club even with 11:41 left in regulation.

Mark Cundari, Akim Aliu, and Derek Peltier then nabbed shootout goals for the Rivermen, and goaltender Ben Bishop turned aside three of the Barons’ four attempts. Bishop (17-12-2) made 23 saves through the first 65 minutes and earned his second straight win.

The victory vaulted Peoria (37-25-2-5, 81 points) into sole possession of third place in the ever-fluid West Division race, one point ahead of Texas and three points back of co-leaders Milwaukee and Houston.

Chris Vandevelde netted the lone shootout goal for the Barons, who fell to 1-3-0-1 in their last five games but pulled within three points of Chicago for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.

Oklahoma City continues a season-high nine-game road trip on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2, MANITOBA 0
Former AHL All-Rookie goaltender John Curry made 23 saves for his first shutout in nearly four months as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened up a two-game midweek set in Winnipeg with a 2-0 win over Manitoba at the MTS Centre on Tuesday.

Curry, who collected his second whitewash of the season and first since blanking Albany on Nov. 24, made seven saves apiece in the first and third periods and stopped nine shots in the second frame. He improved to 19-11-0 in 34 appearances this year.

Geoff Walker provided all the offense Curry would need at 16:54 of the first period, and rookie Ben Street added an insurance goal late in the third frame.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improved to 2-0-0-1 on its trip through western Canada, which concludes on Wednesday with a rematch against Manitoba.

The Moose, coming off a franchise-record 11-game road trip and playing their first home game since Feb. 19, were blanked for the sixth time this season.