“That's the reason he's the Goalie of the Year, and tonight's no different,” Barons forward Mark Arcobello said. “That's how we expect him to be in the playoffs.”
After dropping back-to-back games at home last weekend, the Barons received a spark from Teemu Hartikainen, Chris VandeVelde and Colten Teubert. The trio returned from their stint with the Barons' parent club, the Edmonton Oilers, and immediately contributed, none more than Hartikainen.
Paired with Magnus Paajarvi and Josh Green, Hartikainen immediately paid dividends.
Late in the first period, he delivered a drop pass to Paajarvi, who slapped it past Houston goaltender Matt Hackett for a 1-0 lead.
After the Aeros tied it early in the second, converting on a second 5-on-3 chance, Arcobello worked hard in the corner, eventually creating his own scoring chance just a after a Barons power play had ended.
“It's the end of a long shift, and we get rewarded at the end,” Arcobello said. “We had a couple good chances on the power play and then I didn't get all of the shot but it found its way home.”
About the only negative for the Barons were the penalties, a near-constant thorn in their side down the stretch.
The Aeros (33-25-16) had eight power-play chances but could just convert on the lone two-man advantage. Houston's leading scorer, Jon DiSalvatore, scored his 28th goal of the season.
“We've got to make sure we're more disciplined than that,” Barons coach Todd Nelson said. “We've got to be a bit smarter on those.”