HOUSTON — Atte Engren turned aside 22 shots in regulation and four of five in a shootout to lead the Milwaukee Admirals past the Houston Aeros in a shootout Sunday, 2-1, in Houston.
The win vaults Milwaukee from 9th place to 5th in the Western Conference playoff race.
In the shootout the first three shooters were unable to find the back of the net against Engren. Two of the shots went off a goalpost. Milwaukee’s third shooter, Jon Blum, was able to put the puck past Houston goalie Matt Hackett. The following Aeros shooter, Jeff Taffe, scored for the Aeros. Then, Ryan Thang wristed the deciding goal into the net.
Houston’s final shooter, David McIntyre, failed to score to give Milwaukee a 4-0 record against Houston this season.
It took nearly two full periods to score any goals but Milwaukee went first. With Scott Ford in the penalty box, Houston defenseman Kris Fredheim was pressured at the offensive blue line by Milwaukee’s Mueller. As Fredheim skated from his left to right, Mueller pounced, throwing a check and stealing the puck to go in on a breakaway. His shot beat Houston netminder Matt Hackett to the glove side to give the Ads the lead with a shorthanded tally at 19:02 of the second period.
Mueller became the first Admirals player to reach the 30-goal mark since Rich Peverley scored 30 in the 2006-07 season.
Houston’s Brett Bulmer tied the game at 7:14 of the third period with a shot that clanged off a post and into the net.
Milwaukee continues its seven-game road trip with a return visit to San Antonio Tuesday. The next, and final, Admirals home game of the season is Sunday, Apr 15 as the Charlotte Checkers visit the Bradley Center at 3pm. It’s Fan Appreciation Day.