The Aeros, apparently rusty after nine days off, dropped the first game of their seven-game series against the Milwaukee Admirals, 3-1, tonight. Bad first period, an early goal in the second and a great goaltending performance from Jeremy Smith doomed the Aeros.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game in the second period after taking a puck to the ear. No update yet from GM Jim Mill, but Spurgeon didn't return.

From the Aeros:

APRIL 29, 2011: MIL 3, HOU 1

MILWAUKEE --- Ryan Thang and Steve Begin each registered a goal and an assist for the Milwaukee Admirals while Colton Gillies scored the lone goal for the Houston Aeros as the Admirals took a 3-1 victory in Game 1 of the American Hockey League’s West Division Finals at the Bradley Center on Friday night.

Milwaukee opened up a 2-0 lead midway through the first period with goals 49 seconds apart. Begin scored first at the 9:49 mark and was followed with the eventual game-winner by rookie Taylor Beck at 10:30

Thang, who assisted on Begin’s goal, was set up by Begin just 32 seconds into the third period to give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.

Houston finally broke through later in the final period on Colton Gillies’ third playoff goal at 6:53. The goal came during a delayed penalty on Milwaukee’s Andreas Thuresson. Warren Peters and Patrick O’Sullivan assisted and O’Sullivan extended his post season scoring streak to five games with the helper.

The series continues with Game 2 at Milwaukee on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. before shifting to Houston for Games 3, 4 and 5 at Toyota Center. Game 3 is set for Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. while Game 4 is Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

Brett Bulmer, the Minnesota Wild’s second round pick in 2010, made his pro debut… After being outshot 11-8 in the first period, Houston combined for an 18-10 advantage over the final 40 minutes… The Aeros have allowed the first goal in all five playoff games.

F --- Gillies, Ortmeyer, Peters
D --- Spurgeon, Bagnall
G --- Hackett

Fraser, Penner, Lofquist, Foucault, Campbell, Fredheim, Morency, Buck, Kassian, Broda, Cuma, Daoust

West Division Finals, Game 2
Sunday, May 1 (5:05 p.m.)

Beck (9:40, 2nd)

HOU: 0/5
MIL: 0/3

HOU: Hackett (18/21, L)
MIL: Smith (25/26, W)

MIL leads 1-0

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Aeros open second round tonight in Milwaukee

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