Left wing Jason Zucker scored two goals and assisted on another to lift the Houston Aeros to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Friday night at Toyota Center.
On the heels of their comeback overtime victory against the San Antonio Rampage Thursday, the Aeros got off to a hot start when center Zack Phillips knocked a puck out of the air and past Wolves goaltender Matt Climie's on a Houston power play at 5:35 of the first period.
Phillips' seventh score of the season gave the Aeros the early, albeit short-lived, lead. Chicago forward Darren Archibald raced back down the ice and scored the tying goal by Cody Reichard 32 seconds later at 6:07 to tie the score.
Houston thought it had jumped back in front late in the first period off a seemingly good goal, but it was waved off because of a late offsides call and the 1-1 tie stood into the second period.
While the Wolves had continued to outshoot the Aeros (35-24-5-5), it was Houston which found the go-ahead goal as when defenseman Steven Kampfer rifled a shot past the Chicago defense at 5:25.
The Aeros increased the lead to 3-1 when Zucker beat Climie short side at 11:29 with his 23rd score of the season.
Moments later, after Climie left the net to play the puck, Aeros right wing Jason DaSilva capitalized, pushing the puck into the empty net and putting Houston up 4-1 at 13:09.
The Wolves (33-25-5-4) replaced Clime with Joe Cannata following DaSilva's score. Soon after, Wolves left wing Bill Sweatt jumped on a rebound from defenseman Jim Vandermeer and scored at 13:29 to cut the Aeros lead to two goals.
The momentum wouldn't last however, with Zucker taking advantage of a power play and rifled a shot through Cannata's legs with 25 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Aeros suffered a goaltending blow when Reichard appeared to injure his groin making a save midway through the third period. He left the ice after several minutes and was replaced by Jeff Deslauriers.
The recently acquired netminder would do enough to keep the Aeros ahead and close the book on the Wolves.