HOUSTON – Matt Beaudoin had two goals and two assists, including the overtime winner, as the Houston Aeros staved off elimination by beating the Manitoba Moose 5-4 in American Hockey League playoff action Wednesday.
With two players screening Manitoba goaltender Cory Schneider, Beaudoin scored his seventh of the playoffs 2:01 into overtime to force a fifth game in the Western Conference final.
The Moose missed a chance for their second straight sweep and now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, with Game 5 going Friday in Houston.
Corey Locke had a goal and two assists for Houston, which ended Manitoba’s 10-game post-season winning streak. Robbie Earl and Tony Hrkac also scored for the Aeros, while John Lammers added three assists.
Mike Keane had two goals and an assist for Manitoba, while Jason Krog and Mario Bliznak also scored.
Anton Khudobin stopped 18 of 22 shots in regulation for Houston. The Aeros put Nolan Schaefer in goal for overtime. He didn’t face a shot.
Schneider stopped 25 of 30 shots for the Moose.
Locke opened the scoring 1:26 into the first period when he wired the puck past Schneider.
The Moose responded at 7:10 of the first as Krog wrapped around the net and slid a pass to Keane. The Moose captain tapped the puck through Khudobin’s pads.
Almost two minutes later, Manitoba had an odd-man-rush while short-handed and Keane scored his second of the night to give the Moose a 2-1 lead.
At 13:58 of the second period, Houston closed the gap as Earl beat Schneider on his glove side to tie the game at 2-2.
The Moose regained the lead 25 seconds into the third period as Krog scored his sixth of the post-season.
Beaudoin tied the game 3-3 when he fired a slapshot past Schneider at 13:34 of the third. Less than a minute later, Hrkac sent the rebound off a Beaudoin shot into an open Manitoba net for a 4-3 Houston lead.
After Houston gave up the puck in the neutral zone, Guillaume Desbiens carried the puck to the net, but his shot was denied by Khudobin. Bliznak picked up the rebound, wrapped it around the net and stuffed it in to tie the game 4-4.
But any thoughts of a Moose sweep were denied by Beaudoin as the Aeros stayed alive for at least one more game.