HOUSTON, Texas -- In the heat of the playoff race, the Chicago Wolves were frozen out by the Houston Aeros with a 5-2 loss Friday night at Toyota Center.
Darren Archibald and Bill Sweatt scored for the Wolves (33-25-5-4), who are tied with Midwest Division rivals Milwaukee and Rockford for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
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Goaltender Matt Climie stopped 9 of 13 shots for the Wolves before being replaced by Joe Cannata, as Houston (35-24-5-5) scored four times in the second period.
The Aeros jumped out to an early lead when center Zack Phillips batted a puck out of the air and into the net on a power play at 5:35 of the first period.
The Wolves knotted the score at 1-1 when Archibald rifled a shot past goaltender Cody Reichard's short side at 6:07.
The Aeros notched three straight scores -- from Steven Kampfer, Jason Zucker and Dan DaSilva -- in the span of eight minutes. Following DaSilva's wraparound goal that came when Climie tried unsuccessfully to poke away the puck, the Wolves replaced Climie with Cannata at the 13:09 mark of the period.
Just 20 seconds later, Sweatt scored on a rebound to bring the Wolves to within 4-2.
As the clock wound down in the second period, Zucker netted a power-play goal on a breakaway to give the Aeros a 5-2 lead heading into what proved to be a scorless third period.
The Wolves continue their season-high six-game road trip at 7 p.m. today in Oklahoma City. The team returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday, April 13, to host the Charlotte Checkers.