The Houston Aeros didn’t have to wait long to see Taylor Hall make his AHL debut for the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday night. Hall, who was given clearance to resume game action following a concussion related to last year, scored just thirty-eight seconds into the game in what turned out to be a 4-3 Barons victory.
The Aeros would fall behind 2-0 in the first when the other young Oilers superstar, Jordan Eberle scored his third of the year not even a minute later. Talk about being behind the eight ball right out of the gate.
But the Aeros would settle things down for the remainder of the period and for most of the second, controlling the play and out shooting the Barons 21-13 through forty minutes. Alas, Teemu Hartikainen would give the home town crowd something to cheer about when he padded the Barons lead to a three goal margin, scoring late in the middle frame.
Give the Aeros credit as they could have folded up and mailed in the final twenty minutes, but they decided to make a game of it. They finally found a way to beat Yann Danis when Mikael Granlund found the back of the net, popping his fourth of the year.
Johan Larsson would make it a one-goal game not even a minute later before Charlie Coyle would complete the comeback when he tied the game on the powerplay with his sixth of the season.
Despite peppering Danis with rubber, the Aeros could not buy the go-ahead goal, only to see Eberle break Houston’s heart when he notched his second goal of the game in what turned out to be the game winner.
Hall would have more impact on the game when he took a match penalty for checking to the head with just under six minutes to play. Despite numerous chances, the Aeros could not sneak one past Danis who made 35 saves for the win and was outshot badly by a 38-18 margin.
It’s a little ironic that Houston lost despite the late powerplay. So far this season the Aeros have been deadly with the man advantage and managed a tally on the PP earlier in the game, but couldn’t capitalize when it mattered most.
These two teams will hook up again on Saturday night in Okalahoma City for the second in a back-to-back series before Houston returns home to host the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday.
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