HOUSTON — The standings point might play a positive role once the playoff races begin.
For now, though, the Oklahoma City Barons' penalty kill unit continues its subpar play relatively early in the American Hockey League season. And it cost them a third consecutive win.
Jason Zucker scored a game-tying power play goal with 2:11 left in regulation, and then Mikael Granlund added the game-winner in the shootout as the Houston Aeros escaped with a 4-3 victory before 9,304 fans at Toyota Center. Houston (14-8-4) picked up two standings points after it recovered from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits against an Oklahoma City team coming off impressive back-to-back victories against San Antonio in the Cox Center.
Oklahoma City (13-9-4) received one point for going past regulation. But the Barons could have notched both standings points had Jordan Henry not taken a slashing penalty with 3:38 left in regulation. The Aeros capitalized against the AHL's worst penalty-killing team as Zucker scored his 13th goal of the season.
The Barons flirted with losing the game in the five-minute overtime when defenseman Martin Marincin was whistled for holding, giving the Aeros a 4-on-3 man advantage. But Oklahoma City managed to get the game into the best-of-3 shootout, where Houston scored twice. Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett stopped shots by OKC's Mark Arcobello, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall.
Arcobello, who had four assists Saturday night against San Antonio, had a goal and assist Sunday. His seventh goal of the season, with 8:49 left in regulation, gave Oklahoma City a 3-2 lead. Eberle, who had four goals Saturday night, was held to an assist on Arcobello's goal. Hall and Schultz had Oklahoma City's other regulation goals.
The Barons' next game is a Friday-Saturday series against the Texas Stars in the Cox Center. Both games begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Cox Center box office.