ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves surrendered five straight goals in a second-period collapse that led to a 6-1 victory for the Houston Aeros at the Allstate Arena Saturday night.
With the score knotted, 1-1, Chicago (38-29-4-6) took seven penalties in the middle frame, allowing the Aeros to collect three power-play goals in a span of 11:27. Houston (45-28-1-5) also added two even strength markers in the second period to bury the Wolves’ lone goal.
Chicago now shares fifth place in the West Division with 86 points – one point shy of the fourth and final guaranteed playoff spot, which the Oklahoma City Barons grabbed hold of with a win against Texas tonight.
“We beat ourselves in the second period,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “We were playing frustrated and you can’t do that, you need to control yourself. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
The Aeros opened scoring with a power-play goal, 5:30 into the first period. Center Casey Wellman parked himself at the top of the crease and deflected a shot by defenseman Nate Prosser past Wolves goaltender Edward Pasquale.
Chicago tied things up, 1-1, while on the power play at 10:01. Defenseman Paul Postma cycled the puck to right wing Darren Haydar who ripped a shot from the far circle past Houston goaltender Matt Hackett, top-shelf.
Hackett (22-16-4) turned aside 32 shots for Houston.
A five-on-three power play to open the second period helped Houston move ahead, 2-1. Left wing Patrick O’Sullivan fired a shot from above the right circle that skipped past Pasquale, stick side, at 1:04 of the middle frame.
The Aeros pulled ahead, 3-1, with a marker by Matt Kassian, 2:04 later. The puck squirted loose in the neutral zone and right wing Pascal Morency chased it down before slipping a centering pass to Kassian to blast past Pasquale.
Houston increased its lead to 4-1 at 8:22 of the second period after netting their third power-play tally of the night. Jon DiSalvatore sent the puck toward the net, where it deflected off of traffic in front and slipped between Pasquale’s legs. Netminder Peter Mannino came in to relieve Pasquale following the goal, and made four saves in 11:38 of relief duty in the second period, before Pasquale returned to the net in the third frame.
Pasquale (10-10-1) posted 14 saves in 48:04 of action in taking the loss.
The Aeros bagged a fourth power-play tally at 12:31 of the second frame to make the score 5-1. Left wing Robbie Earl took a pass from O’Sullivan in the right circle and cranked a shot past Mannino.
Six seconds after another Houston power-play expired, Chad Rau’s shot bounced off Mannino’s pads and ricocheted into the net to make the score 6-1 at 13:20 of the middle frame.
The Wolves will have five days off before taking on the Peoria Rivermen at Carver Arena on Fri., April 8 at 7 p.m
Houston 1 5 0 -- 6
Chicago 1 0 0 -- 1
First Period---1, Houston, Wellman 14 (O’Sullivan, Prosser), 5:30 pp; 2, Chicago, Haydar 26 (Postma, Krog), 10:01 pp. Penalties---Sifers, Chicago (interference), 4:38; Peters, Houston (holding), 9:56; DiSalvatore, Houston (boarding), 12:03; Garbutt, Chicago (holding), 12:03; Sifers, Chicago (boarding), 14:04; Pettersson, Chicago (boarding), 19:09.
Second Period---3, Houston, O’Sullivan 18 (Earl, Peters), 1:04 pp; 4, Houston, Kassian 4 (Morency), 3:08; 5, Houston, DiSalvatore 28 (O’Sullivan, Wellman), 8:22 pp; 6, Houston, Earl 24 (O’Sullivan, DiSalvatore), 12:31 pp; 7, Houston, Rau 12 (Prosser, Penner), 13:20. Penalties---Ross, Chicago (tripping), 0:12; Morency, Houston (fighting), 3:42; Huxley, Chicago (fighting), 3:42; Kulda, Chicago (tripping), 7:38; Deveaux, Chicago (elbowing), 8:45; Welch, Chicago (elbowing), 10:39; Deveaux, Chicago (roughing), 11:14; Garbutt, Chicago (slashing), 15:06; DiSalvatore, Houston (slashing), 15:12.
Third Period---None. Penalties---Bagnall, Houston (hooking), 4:04; Almond, Houston (high-sticking), 4:27; Bench, Chicago (too many men), 5:53; Almond, Houston (high-sticking) 11:12.
Shots on goal---Houston: 8-12-4--24. Chicago: 12-9-12--33. Power plays---Houston: 4-10. Chicago: 1-5. Goalies---Houston, Hackett (32-33). Chicago, Pasquale (14-18) in 48:04, Mannino (4-6) in 11:38. A---8,510. Referee---Mark Lemelin and Tim Mayer. Linesmen---Dan Dineen and Mike Hamilton.