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Tue. roundup: Earl paces Aeros’ rally at OKC

Tuesday’s AHL Boxscores

HOUSTON 4, OKLAHOMA CITY 3 (SO)
Robbie Earl tallied a pair of third-period goals to lift Houston out of a 3-1 deficit and then scored the only shootout goal for either side as the Aeros earned a 4-3 road win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday at the Cox Convention Center.

Houston improved to 4-1-0-0 in its last five games – with all four victories coming beyond regulation time – and moved into a tie with Milwaukee for fourth place in the West Division at 14-10-1-2 (31 points), just one point back of Oklahoma City for the third spot.

Matt Kassian gave Houston a 1-0 just 3:33 into the contest, but the visitors then surrendered the game’s next three goals.

Alexandre Giroux assisted on strikes by Brad Moran (1-2-3) and Jeff Petry (1-1-2) in the middle frame, and then the two-time defending AHL goal-scoring champion notched a power play goal of his own early in the third period to make it 3-1 Barons.

Giroux now has a goal in back-to-back games (2-2-4) after going his previous 14 contests without scoring.

Earl brought the Aeros within 3-2 just 40 seconds after Giroux’s marker and then tallied the equalizer on the power play at the 14:07 mark.

He went on to beat Barons goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers in the second shootout round, while Houston netminder Anton Khudobin stopped all five of Oklahoma City’s tries after making 27 saves through the first 65 minutes.

The Barons now have just one win in their last five outings (1-2-0-2).

WORCESTER 4, PORTLAND 2
Worcester leading scorer Jonathan Cheechoo notched the game-winning goal and added an assist as the Sharks doubled up host Portland by a 4-2 count at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Tuesday.

Defenseman Sean Sullivan also recorded a goal and a helper for the Sharks (13-7-1-4), who extended their points streak to four games (3-0-0-1) and moved one point ahead of Portland for second place in the Atlantic Division.

Dan DaSilva and Kevin Henderson rounded out Worcester’s offense, Steven Zalewski chipped in two helpers, and goaltender Alex Stalock turned aside 24 of 26 shots in net.

Rookie Corey Tropp and captain Matt Ellis scored for the Pirates, who were playing without rookie Luke Adam and veteran Mark Mancari, both on NHL recall to Buffalo.

The Pirates dropped to 1-5-0-1 in their last seven contests.

TEXAS 5, MANITOBA 2
Rookies Sean Backman and Cody Chupp each recorded a goal and an assist to lead Texas past visiting Manitoba, 5-2, on Tuesday at the Cedar Park Center.

Francis Wathier, Raymond Sawada, and Greg Rallo added markers for the Stars, who received at least one point from 11 of their 18 skaters on the night.

Texas rookie goaltender Richard Bachman earned the victory with 26 saves on 28 shots in net, helping the Stars run their points streak to a season-high five games (3-0-1-1). Each of the Stars’ past three victories have come by the identical 5-2 final.

Rookie Cody Hodgson notched his team-leading 10th goal of the season for the Moose, and Evan Oberg also found the back of the net.

Coupled with Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City, Manitoba has now dropped back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since a three-game skid from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

ABBOTSFORD 3, LAKE ERIE 2 (SO)
Greg Nemisz and Matt Keith tallied shootout goals as Abbotsford edged visiting Lake Erie, 3-2, on Tuesday in the first of a two-game set on Tuesday at the Entertainment & Sports Centre.

Carter Bancks and Stefan Meyer scored in regulation to give the Heat leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but the Monsters answered back on both occasions courtesy of markers from Matthew Ford and Ryan Stoa.

Defenseman Gord Baldwin recorded a pair of assists for the Heat, and goaltender Leland Irving made 21 saves on 23 shots before stopping four of five in the shootout. Reigning Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Patrick Rissmiller nabbed the Monsters’ lone shootout score.

Lake Erie goaltender John Grahame took the shootout loss after stopping 35 of 37 shots through the first 65 minutes.

Four of the Heat’s last five games have now extended to the shootout, and Abbotsford has prevailed in all four of those contests. The club snapped a four-game winless skid overall (0-3-0-1).