HOUSTON 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Houston goaltender Anton Khudobin made a season-high 39 saves on 40 shots against the AHL’s fourth-ranked offense as Houston eked out a 2-1 road win over first-place San Antonio on Monday at the AT&T Center.
A former AHL All-Star, Khudobin snapped a personal three-game losing skid and collected his first victory since stopping 30 shots in a 5-3 triumph over the Rampage on Dec. 10.
The Aeros prevailed despite getting outshot 40-17 for the game, including 15-7 in the first period alone. Despite that, Houston emerged from the opening 20 minutes carrying a 2-1 lead which it would hold the rest of the way.
Houston took the lead for good at 13:24 of the opening frame when Robbie Earl scored shorthanded for his team-leading ninth goal of the season and second game-winner, with McMillan earning an assist. It marked the Aeros’ third shorthanded marker on the campaign.
The Aeros collected their second straight win following a four-game losing skid and will visit Milwaukee and Rockford this week before hosting San Antonio in a rematch on Saturday.
San Antonio lost for just the third time in its last 10 contests (7-3-0-0).
CHICAGO 6, GRAND RAPIDS 3
Six different Chicago skaters tallied goals as the Wolves climbed out of a 3-0 deficit to double up visiting Grand Rapids by a 6-3 count on Monday at Allstate Arena, giving head coach Don Lever his 300th career AHL victory.
Lever currently ranks 16th in career wins among AHL head coaches and has posted a mark of 300-229-45 in 575 regular-season games with the Wolves, Hamilton Bulldogs, and Rochester Americans.
Drafted third overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1972, Lever played more than 1,000 games in the National Hockey League and closed his playing career by winning a Calder Cup with Rochester in 1987.
As a first-year head coach, he guided the Amerks to the Calder Cup Finals in 1991 and was named AHL Coach of the Year. Following a 12-year run as an NHL assistant, Lever took the head job in Hamilton in 2005 and led the Bulldogs to the 2007 Calder Cup title in his second season.
Lever was promoted to the parent Montreal Canadiens late in 2008-09 and then took over Chicago early last season, posting a 48-19-1-6 record the rest of the way as the Wolves captured the West Division title.
Among active coaches, Lever’s 300 AHL victories trail only Hamilton’s Randy Cunneyworth (325) and Worcester’s Roy Sommer (457).
Darren Haydar, Nigel Dawes, and defenseman Paul Postma all registered a goal and an assist on the night for the Wolves, who scored four times in the second period to turn a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead.
MANITOBA 5, PEORIA 2
Defenseman Mark Flood led the way with a goal and two assists as Manitoba opened a two-game set against Peoria with a 5-2 win on Monday before 7,718 fans at the MTS Centre.
Flood, coming off a career-best 33-point effort (10-23-33) for Bridgeport in 2009-10, now shows nine points (2-7-9) in just 13 games for the Moose so far this season.
Manitoba forwards Marco Rosa and Jonas Andersson each registered a goal and an assist on the night, and Bill Sweatt and Sergei Shirokov also found the back of the net. Guillaume Desbiens chipped in a pair of assists.
Rookie goaltender Eddie Lack (11-6-2) made 28 saves on 30 shots for the Moose, who matched a season high with their fourth consecutive victory overall and won for the second time in as many tries against Peoria.
The teams will square off again on Tuesday night.