Stars on the verge

The Iowa Stars moved to within one point of clinching the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division with a 5-4 overtime win over Chicago on Tuesday night.

Toby Petersen netted the winning goal with 17.6 seconds left in the extra period, giving Iowa a five-point lead on Omaha with three games remaining.

Even with the point for the overtime loss, the Wolves were eliminated from postseason contention.

David Oliver scored twice, Kyle Brodziak had three assists and Mike Smith made 35 saves for the Stars, who are 14-3-0-2 in their last 19 games.

Chicago, needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, got goals from Billy Tibbetts and Colin Stuart 38 seconds apart late in the third period to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Omaha’s playoff hopes took a serious hit in a 4-1 loss to Houston at the Toyota Center.

Erik Westrum and Josh Olson each had a goal and an assist for the Aeros, who moved to within two points of first-place Milwaukee in the West while staying three up on third-place Peoria.

Seamus Kotyk made 26 saves on the night, allowing only a Justin Taylor goal with 5:12 left in regulation and Houston already holding a four-goal lead.

The teams meet again on Friday before the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights move on to San Antonio for two games. In order to make the Calder Cup Playoffs, Omaha must win out and hope Iowa drops each of their final three games in regulation.

Mike Zigomanis scored twice for Peoria as the Rivermen kept within striking distance of second place in the West with a 3-2 win over visiting San Antonio.

David Backes recorded two assists and Chris Beckford-Tseu made 27 saves for Peoria, which is looking to gain home-ice advantage in its first-round playoff series against either Houston or Milwaukee.