Aeros hold off Rampage, secure third place in West


Houston clinched third place in the West Division on Sunday with a 6-4 win over San Antonio in front of 7,663 fans at the Toyota Center. Krys Kolanos netted his first hat trick of the season and finished with a team-high 31 goals in just 45 games for the Aeros, who snapped a five-game winless skid (0-4-1-0).

The victory pushed Houston (38-31-2-9, 87 points) into third place in the West Division, setting up a clash with second-place Peoria in the West Division semifinals of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Division champion Milwaukee will battle fourth-place Rockford in the other division semifinal.

After a scoreless opening period, Houston lit the lamp four times in the second frame. Kolanos was responsible for two of the markers, while Bryan Lundbohm and Matt Beaudoin netted one apiece.

Jesse Schultz (1-2-3) and Kolanos added third-period scores, the latter going into an empty net at the 19:45 mark. Houston had built a 5-2 lead but had to withstand a third-period San Antonio rally to emerge with the victory.

Brandon Rogers (0-3-3), Clayton Stoner (0-2-2), Benoit Pouliot (0-2-2), and Corey Locke (0-2-2) each finished with multiple assists for the Aeros, and goaltender Anton Khudobin made 28 saves in net.

Rookies Brett MacLean (2-1-3) and Kevin Porter (1-1-2) paced the Rampage, who finished the season at 36-38-2-4 (78 points).

A three-goal third period lifted Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 5-4 road win over Hershey on Sunday in both teams’ regular-season finale at the Giant Center.

Penguins forward Janne Pesonen scored his 31st and 32nd goals of the season in the third frame, in the process establishing a new franchise record for goals in a season. He eclipsed the 31 goals scored by Toby Petersen in 2002-03 and Michel Ouellet in 2004-05.

Luca Caputi, Bill Thomas, and Nick Johnson also found the back of the net for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Mark Letestu chipped in a pair of assists. Goaltender Adam Berkhoel earned the victory with 30 saves in net.

Bears sniper Alexandre Giroux scored twice to finish with an AHL-high 60 goals on the campaign, becoming the fifth player in league history to reach that plateau.

Andrew Joudrey and rookie Francois Bouchard also netted goals for Hershey, which missed a chance to claim the AHL’s overall points title. The Bears still finished atop the East Division and will take on Philadelphia in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will battle Bridgeport in the opening round.