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San Antonio Rampage center Bracken Kearns scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to guide the Rampage past the Houston Aeros 3-2 at the Toyota Center on Friday night.
The Rampage got on the board first at 9:58 of the first period when Kearns scored on the power play. After defenseman Colby Robak took a pass from forward Mark Cullen, Robak fired a shot on goal that hit Houston backstop Matt Hackett and stopped in the crease. Kearns found the loose puck and swept it into the open net to give San Antonio a 1-0 advantage.
Forward Joey Martin tied the contest for Houston 12:49 into the second period. He tipped a Kyle Medvec shot from the left circle past Rampage netminder Dov Grumet-Morris to knot the game at 1-1. Left wing Kris Foucault notched the secondary assist on the play.
Nearly two minutes later, the Aeros went up 2-1 on another deflection. A centering pass from Medvec was redirected by right wing Justin Fontaine and the puck slid underneath the leg pads of Grumet-Morris for the goal. Center C.J. Stretch also assisted on Fontaine’s ninth tally of the year.
Right wing Bill Thomas tied the game at 2-2 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third. He skated to the right circle before firing a shot by Hackett for his 10th goal of the campaign. Cullen and center James Wright registered the assists on the Thomas marker.
Kearns’ game-winner came off of a goal-mouth scramble at the front of the Aeros’ goal. Newly acquired center Jonathan Matsumoto carried the puck to the front of the Houston net and shot it off of a mass of bodies in the crease before Kearns pounced on the rebound to hand the Rampage the victory. Defenseman Nolan Yonkman picked up his fifth assist of the year with the secondary helper on Kearns’ 13th goal of the season.
Grumet-Morris turned aside 20 of 22 Aeros shots for his ninth win of the season while Hackett stopped 30 of 33 Rampage attempts in the Houston loss.
The Rampage (20-18-2-0) return to the AT&T Center tomorrow for Pucks & Paws Night when they play host to the Peoria Rivermen at 7:00 (CST) p.m.