Matt Climie and Wade Dubielewicz got the starts in net tonight for these two teams. I think the fact that one of them left the game with a 0.00 save percentage tells the story of the game. That and the fact that there were a combined 82 minutes of penalties.
Texas drew first blood two minutes in when a power play point shot from Stafford was deflected by Francis Wathier for his 11th of the year. But the Aeros would storm back for the equalizer just 80 seconds later. Bad rebound control from Climie and Garrett Stafford inability to cover his man, Fraser, led to an easy 1-1 tie for the Aeros.
Andrew Hutchinson would have the next tally, creeping down the left side to accept Colton Sceviour's cross-ice pass to make it 2-1. At 10:19, Matt Kassian and Travis Morin took offsetting minors after Kassian rammed Scott McCulloch, likely in retaliation for last night's boarding of an Aeros player by Smooch.
Texas would score its third of the game at the 14:38 mark when Mathieu Tousignant scored just his third of the year. To that point, Dubielewicz had faced three shots and allowed three goals for a save percentage of zero. He was given the hook and Barry Brust came in to relieve him. The Stars would finish the period with three goals on three shots, the Aeros with one goal on nine shots.
Dan Jancevski made it 4-1 on a similar play to Andrew Hutchinson's goal. He came down the left wing side and simply snapped one five-hole on Brust on the power play. It was only Jancevski's second goal of the year.
The rest of the game got pretty taxing on the guys running the penalty boxes. In the third period alone, there were 64 minutes of penalties. Rallo and Stafford mixed it up with Almond and Daoust behind Matt CLimie half way through the period, resulting in a lengthy five-on-three that the Aeros could not score on. In fact, the usually strong Aeros power play was impotent tonight at zero for eight opportunities. Texas was 2/7, the same mark they achieved last night against Houston.
On the power play with 4 minutes left in the game, goaltender Matt Climie came out nearly to the blue line to pass the puck along to Garrett Stafford. Problem is, he had not noticed that Stafford had been overtaken by Aeros skater Sifers, who easily score a practically empty-net short-handed goal to make it 4-2 with four minutes left. Houston would take a minor shortly there after, killing their shot to get the necessary two goals without pulling the keeper. With 56 seconds left and Brust on the bench, Texas forward Perttu Lindgren netted an empty-net goal from the defensive blue line to seal it at 5-2.
At this point, most of the crowd at Contender's seemed ready to go home. The Aeros had other plans involving their fists and the Stars' faces. A clean hit on Francis Wathier devolved into a scrum between Wathier, Sawada, Falk, and Kassian in front of the Stars bench. Falk and Sawada got five for fighting; Wathier and Matt Kassian took two each for roughing. Falk took an additional two for charging. And finally, Matt Kassian took a total of 22 penalty minutes for being the third man into an already occurring fight, including a game misconduct.
It's pretty clear that after losing to Texas in seven of their nine games against them, the Aeros do not like the Stars very much. Texas and Houston square off again at Cedar Park Center next Friday and then will not see each other until the last week of the season in early April. Maybe 12 games a year can breed a good rivalry instead of just boredom at seeing the same team every night.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Graham, Gazdic and Shelast (scratched)
Tonight's attendance was 8,711.
Stafford and Jancevski started together on defense and then broke into their respective pairings for the rest of each period. They have done this pretty consistently since the departure of Ivan Vishnevskiy.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Houston - February 27 2010