ROSEMONT, Ill. — Left wing Bill Sweatt’s pair of second-period goals carried the Chicago Wolves to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Aeros Saturday night in front of 15,021 at Allstate Arena.
Sweatt, a 24-year-old Elburn native, delivered one short-handed score and one power-play tally to lift the Wolves (19-13-3-2) to their fifth win in the last six games. Andrew Gordon added an empty-net goal in the final minute while rookie goaltender Joe Cannata (2-1-0) spurned 21 shots to earn the victory in his third American Hockey League start.
“Our work ethic (Friday) night wasn’t what we want to see from our team,” said Wolves coach Scott Arniel, who picked up his 200th AHL triumph. “Tonight, we responded with a solid 60 minutes. Everyone from number one to 20 on our roster worked their tails off.”
Houston (18-14-4-3) opened the scoring at 3:52 of the second period on center Carson McMillan’s rebound goal. Cannata blocked Chad Rau’s shot when he came from behind the net and tried to stuff home the puck with a backhand, but McMillan was waiting at the top of the crease to slam home the rebound.
The Wolves evened things while shorthanded at 12:16. Gordon led a 2-on-1 charge into the offensive zone, but pulled up in the near circle to wait for Sweatt to set up just outside the crease. Gordon’s pass found Sweatt’s stick for an unchallenged tap into the net.
Sweatt picked up his second goal of the night on the power play at 19:28. Sweatt set up in the slot and Anton Rodin delivered a pass from the top of the near circle that Sweatt deflected over Houston goaltender Matt Hackett’s right shoulder. Darren Haydar also earned an assist on the play to run his point streak to six games.
Gordon’s empty-net tally at 19:27 of the third gave him six goals in the last seven games. Hackett (13-14-3) finished with 32 saves for Houston.
The Wolves play their next game at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Peoria in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest. They return to Allstate Arena on Saturday, Feb. 2, against Peoria.