High-flying Aeros come through in Game 7 again


Houston continued its magical postseason ride on Wednesday, knocking off division champion Milwaukee by a 5-2 count in Game 7 of the West Division Finals at the Bradley Center.

Corey Locke scored twice for the Aeros, who won their second straight Game 7 on the road and will battle Manitoba in the conference finals. Games 1 and 2 are set for this Friday and Saturday at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

Houston, which ousted Peoria in the division semifinals and originally built a 3-1 lead in this series, becomes just the third team in AHL history – and the second Aeros club – to capture two Game 7s on the road in the same postseason.

The Aeros accomplished it en route to the Calder Cup title in 2003, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also turned the trick in 2004.

Locke and Krys Kolanos scored just 49 seconds apart early in the first period to stake Houston to a 2-0 lead, but Milwaukee’s Patric Hornqvist cut the deficit in half on the power play at 14:12 with his second goal in as many games.

Aeros defenseman Clayton Stoner responded with a power play tally of his own 14:21 into the second period for his first goal of the postseason. However, the Admirals battled back to within one score again when Mike Santorelli netted his team-leading sixth of the playoffs with 1:02 to play in the stanza.

Houston buckled down in the third period and received insurance markers from Bryan Lundbohm – his first of the playoffs – and Locke, the latter into an empty net. Locke now leads all AHL scorers with nine goals and 15 points in 14 postseason contests.

Aeros rookie goaltender Anton Khudobin rebounded from a tough outing in Game 6 to stop 28 of 30 shots in the winning effort on Monday, including all 13 sent his way during the third period. Khudobin and the Aeros improved to 8-6 this playoff year.

Houston, which finished third in the West Division during the regular season, improved to 4-0 in Game 7’s and 5-0 in winner-take-all games since joining the AHL in 2001-02.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. W3-Houston Aeros

Game 1 – Fri., May 15 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 2 – Sat., May 16 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 3 – Mon., May 18 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Wed., May 20 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., May 22 – Manitoba at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Mon., May 25 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 27 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30