HOUSTON---Right winger Mark Mancari registered his 152nd career American Hockey League goal in vain as Houston earned a 4-1 victory over the Wolves on Sunday night at Toyota Center.
Mancari, a 2011 First Team AHL All-Star, carved into Houston’s 3-0 lead at the 4:13 mark of the third when he lifted his stick waist-high to tap in a rebound. Kevin Doell and Adam Polasek received assists on the play.
Playing just 19 hours after wrapping up a shootout loss at San Antonio, the Wolves (0-1-0-1) struggled to generate scoring chances in the first two periods against a Houston squad revved-up for its 2011-12 opener.
The Wolves finished with 25 shots against Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett (1-0), but 12 of those came in the third period after Houston built a 3-0 lead.
Center Casey Wellman scored the game’s first 2 goals for Houston. Kris Foucault and Jeff Taffe added 2 assists apiece for the Aeros (1-0-0-0).
Wellman opened the scoring early in the second period. With Houston enjoying a 4-on-3 advantage, he camped out in front of Wolves goaltender Matt Climie and redirected a Taffe shot at the 2:06 mark. The goal snapped the Wolves streak of seven consecutive penalty kills to start the season.
Less than four minutes later, the Wolves enjoyed a 3-on-2 breakout but an errant pass off a skate led to a 2-on-1 rush by the Aeros. Carson McMillan’s shot went wide left, but took an unlikely bounce to the right side of the net where Wellman tapped in the rebound.
Houston posted its third goal of the period when nifty passes by Foucault and Warren Peters set up Jed Ortmeyer for a close-range blast past Climie (0-1).
The Wolves played with more energy at the offensive end in the third and Mancari’s first goal with the team provided an additional jolt, but Jon DiSalvatore’s power-play goal on a redirect at the 11:39 mark blunted the visitors’ momentum.
The Wolves return to action Friday night at Milwaukee. The Wolves host their 18th home opener, presented by LifeSource, at 7 p.m. Saturday against Milwaukee at Allstate Arena. For tickets, go to chicagowolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
Chicago 0 0 1 -- 1
Houston 0 3 1 -- 4
First Period---None. Penalties---Duco, Chicago (tripping), 3:16; Houston (too many men, served by Foucault), 5:36; Penner, Houston (interference), 8:33; Taffe, Houston (roughing), 11:55; Polasek, Chicago (high-sticking), 16:38.
Second Period---1, Houston, Wellman 1 (Taffe, Penner), 2:06, pp; 2, Houston, Wellman 2 (McMillan), 5:56; 3, Houston, Ortmeyer 1 (Peters, Foucault), 15:53. Penalties---Oreskovich, Chicago (boarding), 0:34; Peters, Houston (roughing), 0:34; Schroeder, Chicago (hooking), 1:34; Genoway, Houston (delay of game), 3:12; Archibald, Chicago (roughing), 7:42; Sauve, Chicago (roughing), 7:42; Hendry, Houston (roughing), 7:42; Duco, Chicago (slashing), 9:41; Houston (too many men, served by Wellman), 10:29; Clackson, Chicago (fighting), 13:05; Broda, Houston (fighting), 13:05; Fredheim, Houston (tripping), 18:35; McIntyre, Houston (hooking), 19:58.
Third Period---4, Chicago, Mancari 1 (Doell, Polasek), 4:13; 5, Houston, DiSalvatore 1 (Foucault, Taffe), 11:39, pp. Penalties---Hendry, Houston (tripping), 5:15; Haydar, Chicago (hooking), 11:07; McMillan, Houston (tripping), 13:33; Sweatt, Chicago (boarding), 19:00.
Shots on goal---Chicago: 5-8-12--25. Houston: 10-20-4—34. Power plays---Chicago 0-9. Houston 2-7. Goalies—Chicago, Climie (30-34). Houston, Hackett (24-25). A---9,117. Referees---Jamie Koharski and Ian Croft. Linesmen---Fred Hudy and Paul Wilkinson.