ROSEMONT, Ill.---The Chicago Wolves left their troubles on the road, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and holding on to collect their largest margin of victory this season with a 5-2 win over the Houston Aeros before a season-high crowd of 11,718 at the Allstate Arena Saturday night.
Center Jared Ross (G, 2A) led the team with three points, while right wing Spencer Machacek (G, A) and center Jason Krog (G, A) also added multiple points in the win, which ended a seven-game losing skid for Chicago (7-11-1-0).
Wolves goaltender Peter Mannino (2-3-0) turned in a 25-save performance, which includes holding the Aeros scoreless for the first 52:33 of the game.
“It was nice to see us get some breaks, but we got very solid goaltending from Peter and it all starts from there,” said Wolves Head Coach Don Lever. “We had a long, long road trip and now we can breathe a sigh of relief and hopefully get back to playing the way we can play.”
After a scoreless first period, the Wolves jumped out to a 1-0 lead, 17 seconds into the second frame with center Ryan Garbutt’s first American Hockey League goal. The Wolves won the face off and kicked the puck back to defensemen Boris Valabik and Mike Siklenka, who worked it up the ice to Garbutt. The forward took off into the Aeros zone and lasered a shot past Houston netminder Anton Khudobin.
Ross added another goal to give Chicago a 2-0 lead 61 seconds later. The Wolves moved into the zone on a three-on-two and Machacek slipped a pass to Ross, who moved into the slot and sent a shot flying past Khudobin.
Machacek made the lead 3-0 when he deflected Krog’s shot out of the air and into the net at 8:48 of the second frame, sending Khudobin (5-5-1) to the bench in favor of backup Michael Ouzas.
A power-play chance late in the second period gave Chicago a 4-0 lead. Left wing Nigel Dawes scrambled to collect the puck and the blue line before walking in a flinging a shot past Ouzas, 15:31 into the middle period.
Krog added a fifth tally for Chicago, 2:35 into the third period when he found himself alone in the lower left face-off circle with the rebound from a Riley Holzapfel shot and clipped it past Ouzas.
Ouzas made 13 saves in 30:58 of relief duty, while Khudobin made six saves in taking the loss.
Houston (9-7-1-2) cracked the scoreboard to make the score 5-1 at 12:33 of the third period when Colton Gillies sprung out on a breakaway and flipped a backhanded shot past Mannino, top shelf.
The Aeros added another tally with 4:32 remaining in the game when right wing Petr Kalus jammed the puck past Mannino on a wraparound.
The Wolves will host the Lake Erie Monsters at the Allstate Arena on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Houston 0 0 2 -- 2
Chicago 0 4 1 -- 5
First Period---None. Penalties---Siklenka, Chicago (hooking), 10:47.
Second Period---1, Chicago, Garbutt 1 (Siklenka, Valabik), 0:17; 2, Chicago, Ross 4 (Machacek), 1:18; 3, Chicago, Machacek 6 (Krog, Ross), 8:48 pp; 4, Chicago, Dawes 3 (Ross, Postma), 15:31 pp. Penalties---Almond, Houston (slashing), 7:41; Kassian, Houston (roughing), 12:16; Holzapfel, Chicago (hooking, roughing), 12:16; McBride, Houston (roughing), 15:10; Kassian, Houston (roughing), 16:26; Deveaux, Chicago (roughing), 16:26; McMillan, Houston (goaltender interference), 18:24.
Third Period---5, Chicago, Krog 3 (Holzapfel, Welch), 2:35; 6, Houston, Gillies 2 (unassisted), 12:33; 7, Houston, Kalus 6 (unassisted), 15:28 pp. Penalties---Kassian, Houston (roughing), 6:53; Machacek, Chicago (slashing), 10:01; Garbutt, Chicago (holding), 13:39.
Shots on goal---Houston: 9-8-10--27. Chicago: 4-12-8--24. Power plays---Houston: 1-4. Chicago: 2-4. Goalies---Houston, Khudobin (6-9), replaced by Ouzas (13-15) at 28:48. Chicago, Mannino (25-27). A---11,718. Referee---Jean Herbert. Linesmen---Mike Hamilton and Al Stensland.