Photo by Fred Trask Corey Locke scores the game-winning goal against the Rampage on Saturday night.
“We didn’t get the goaltending we’re used to. We didn’t get the penalty killing we’re used to. And yet we won a game,” Coach Kevin Constantine said Saturday night. “Something I’m not sure we could have done a year ago.”
Just over 5,300 fans witnessed an offensive shootout in Toyota Center that was the highest scoring game in Aeros history, with Houston defeating the San Antonio Rampage 8-6.
San Antonio scored the game’s first goal at 1:21 of the first period, the first goal that the Aeros had allowed since early in the first game of the season. The Aeros tied the game just over 30 seconds later when Marco Rosa wrapped the puck around the goal and shoved it past the San Antonio goalie Josh Tordjman. About a minute-and-a-half later, Jason Deitch, who had just joined the Aeros, faked out the goalie to put Houston up 2-1. Two minutes later, San Antonio tied the game. The Aeros tied the game three minutes later, and five minutes later, San Antonio retied the game.
Trying to keep the game under control, Constantine did something he rarely does and pulled goalie Barry Brust at 8:37 of the first period and replaced him with Nolan Schaefer.
“I just saw those first two pucks hit Barry’s glove and trickle over his glove,” Constantine said. “For me, that just looked to me like it wasn’t going to be his night.”
The Rampage knocked in two goals in the second, as opposed to the Aeros one goal, and coming into the third period, the Aeros were down 5-4. But that’s when Corey Locke, the high-scoring forward acquired from Hamilton in the off-season, took over. He helped set up Clayton Stoner to make the score 5-5. Then several minutes later, he helped to set up Ryan Hamilton to put the Aeros up 6-5. After San Antonio tied the game at 6-6, Locke scored at 18:12 on a shot that looked to bounce off the goalie to put the Aeros up 7-6, then at 19:35, he scored an empty-netter to put the team up 8-6.
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“We were hoping we could be a little better offensive team,” Constantine said. “Maybe these are little signs that we are a little more capable offensively this year than we were last year. And that’s great. You’ve got to win some of these like this some of the time.”
“This is not our game,” Marco Rosa said afterwards. “We’re not happy with a shoot-out like this. We’ve got to work on our fundamentals.”
With the win, the Aeros move to 3-0-0-0 on the season, which is the only the second time in their history that they’ve started the season with three straight wins. And it might not be the Aeros normal type of win, but as Rosa said, “we’re happy with the win.”
It’s probably just the type of game that they don’t want to repeat too often. -- John Royal