HOUSTON — Oklahoma City's special teams continued to struggle Friday night, leading to a 4-3 loss to Houston in an American Hockey League game at Toyota Center.
Johan Larsson gave Houston the lead for good, 3-2, with 6:57 left in the second period with his sixth goal of the season. Larsson's goal was on the power-play, one of two man-advantage scores by the Aeros. Oklahoma City entered the South Division game ranked 28th out of 30 AHL teams in the penalty kill; the Barons also gave up a short-handed score in the first period to Jason Zucker, who was assisted by Larsson. It was the fourth short-handed goal allowed by Oklahoma City this season.
Zucker's second goal of the game — and 11th of the season — gave Houston a 4-2 lead with seven minutes left in the game. But the Barons kept it close; Taylor Hall's fifth goal of the season, just 22 seconds later, drew Oklahoma City within the final margin. Oklahoma City failed to score after pulling goaltender Olivier Roy for an extra attacker with 1:06 left in the game.
Roy, who was making his first start since a Nov. 13 loss to Toronto at the Cox Center, made 23 saves. Houston goaltender Matt Hackett made 24 stops while winning for the second consecutive night against the Barons. Houston beat OKC 2-1 in a shootout Thursday night at Toyota Center.
Jordan Eberle and Mark Arcobello also scored for the Barons, who next play 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at San Antonio.
A crowd of 8,755 Friday night watched the budding rivalry between the Barons and Aeros get a little rough. Teams with identical 11-6-3 records combined for 23 penalties for 90 minutes. Oklahoma City defenseman Colten Teubert was ejected for fighting, and forward Dane Byers was slapped with a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct.