Former Aero Cory Larose scored on a breakaway 3:27 into overtime, lifting the Chicago Wolves to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Aeros at Allstate Arena. Steve Maltais added two power play goals, both assisted by former Aero Travis Roche, and picked up an assist of his own as Chicago snapped its two-game losing streak to open the season. Stephen Baby and Karl Stewart also scored goals for the Wolves.
Stephane Veilleux scored a power play goal, John Erskine had an even strength tally, Kirby Law scored on a penalty shot and Matt Foy forced overtime with an early third-period goal for the Aeros (1-1-1-0), who are winless in their last nine trips to Allstate Arena (0-5-2-2). Houston is also winless in eight straight versus the Wolves overall (0-4-4-0).
Houston, which fought back from a two-goal deficit, plays host to Cleveland Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m., and Chicago is in town Sunday for a 5:05 p.m. rematch.
Rookie Josh Harding made 22 saves for Houston, which was trying to win when trailing after two periods for the first time since a 4-3 overtime decision over Chicago March 7, 2003. Counterpart Kari Lehtonen turned aside 30 shots for the Wolves.
The Aeros had a 3-on-2 heading up ice in overtime, but the puck was tied up along the boards and came to Maltais, who fed Larose streaking up ice alone. Larose, an Aero for the entire 2001-02 season and most of the 2002-03 campaign, beat Harding for his first goal with the Wolves.
Houston trailed 3-1 late in the first, after Chicagos Baby scored with 2:09 left as he crashed the net and slipped a Brad Larsen rebound by Harding.
There, the Aeros comeback began. The Aeros got back within a goal 22 seconds later, as Erskine fired a laser beam from Mark Cullen that deflected off Lehtonen and into the top of the net.
Stewart put the Wolves up 4-2 at 8:45 of the second, after the Aeros spent half the opening eight minutes of the period penalty killing after penalties to Kyle Wanvig and Ray Giroux.
Law got the Aeros within a goal with 2:46 left in the second on a penalty shot. Lehtonen threw his stick at the puck in a fracas in front, and Law banged the ensuing penalty shot off Lehtonens blocker and into the net for his second goal in as many games.
In the waning seconds of the middle stanza, Stewart whacked Law on the head, sending the Aeros captain hobbling off the ice. No penalties were called on the play, and Law returned in the third period.
Foys first of the season, with 5:10 gone in the third after a successful penalty kill, got the Aeros even for the first time since the first period. Foy tipped a Pierre-Marc Bouchard (two assists) shot past Lehtonen.
The Aeros had a great chance to end the game in regulation as Tommi Santala (two assists) was whistled for interference with 2:34 remaining. But the Wolves were able to kill off the shorthanded chance.
Houston went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Chicago went 2-for-8.
The teams traded power play goals 1:14 apart before the midway point of the first period. Maltais continued his torrid streak by one-timing a pass from Greg Hawgood by Harding at 8:08 with Wanvig in the box for unsportsmanliike conduct. Roche also notched an assist on the play, which came on Chicagos second shot of the game.
Veilleux evened the score 74 seconds later, as Bouchard fed him from behind the net. Veilleux didnt get all of the puck, but the changeup eluded Lehtonen for his first goal of the season.
Maltais hooked up with Roche at 12:41, on nearly the same play he scored on earlier in the period. Roche slid a pass from the left point to Maltais in the right circle, and the veteran ripped one by Harding for his second of the game and fifth in three games.
Prior to the game, the Aeros announced that Mikko Koivu, widely regarded as the Minnesota Wilds No. 1 prospect, underwent an appendectomy Monday. Koivu is expected to make a full recovery.
The Aeros went 0-10-3-0 last season when allowing two or more power play goals.
Houstons last made penalty shot came from Foy on February 27 in San Antonio. The Aeros last penalty shot attempt was Derek Boogaard on March, versus Utah.
The Aeros are 6-of-10 in franchise history on penalty shots, including a 3-of-5 road mark. Conversely, the Aeros have yielded one goal on just two penalty shot attempts.
Houston defenseman Patrick Traverse played in his 600th pro game. Teammate Todd Reirden played in his 200th AHL contests.
The Aeros scratched Koivu, Chris Heid, Junior Lessard and Marius Holtet.
Houstons Brent Burns played forward with Lessard, Koivu and Holtet all out of the lineup.
Maltais has 28 goals and 55 points in 59 career games versus the Aeros.
Eleven of the teams last 19 meetings have gone into overtime, including five of the last 11.