Stars outlast Aeros in OT thriller

( — Alex Chiasson scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Texas Stars reclaimed first place overall in the American Hockey League with a wild 7-6 win over the Houston Aeros Tuesday night at Toyota Center.

Jason Zucker gave Houston an early lead as his centering pass went off the heel of Stars captain Maxime Fortunus’ skate and into the net for a power-play goal at 5:49 of the first period.

Texas responded three minutes later as Justin Dowling redirected a William Wrenn shot from the point, tipping the puck down to the ice and bouncing it over the right shoulder of goaltender Matt Hackett at 8:32. Rookie defenseman Joe Morrow, making his Texas Stars debut after being acquired by Dallas for Brenden Morrow on Sunday, recorded the second assist on the goal.

With their first power play of the night the Stars capitalized to grab their first lead. Travis Morin made a beautiful cross-ice pass to Matt Fraser for a one-timer into the far post at 11:34, just six seconds after the power play began. The goal was Fraser’s AHL-leading 16th on the power play and tied him for the league lead with 32 goals on the year.

Fortunus gave Texas a 3-1 lead at the 12-minute mark of the second period as his shot deflected off a Houston defender and went into the net.

The Aeros’ Steven Kampfer had a pass hit off Tyler Sloan and go in to make it 3-2 at 14:21, but Texas responded 26 seconds later. Reilly Smith, sent down from Dallas earlier in the day, scored his 12th AHL goal of the year, assisted by Scott Glennie and Taylor Vause, the second assist of the game for both forwards.

Houston rallied early in the third period with three goals to erase the Stars’ lead. The Aeros first struck at 3:28 when Justin Fontaine’s shot went off the leg of Sloan and into the net.

Less than two minutes later Brett Bulmer was awarded a penalty shot and he beat goalie Jack Campbell through the legs at 5:14 to tie the game at 4-4. Bulmer’s goal was the first penalty-shot goal allowed by Texas in the team’s four-year history.

David McIntyre completed the comeback by one-timing a rebound from a Fontaine shot at 11:11 to give the Aeros a 5-4 lead.

The Stars gave Houston a taste of its own medicine by tying the game when Dowling fired a cross-crease pass that hit off Kampfer and went in at 13:05 for his second goal of the night, assisted by Chiasson and Morrow, who tallied his second assist of the game.

A mere 55 seconds later Sloan one-timed a dazzling pass from Smith past the glove of Hackett to give Texas a 6-5 lead.

The Aeros pulled their goaltender and were able to tie the game in the final minute as Mikael Granlund scored at 19:08 to force overtime.

The Stars recorded all three shots on goal in the extra session and at 3:17 Chiasson and Dowling executed a scintillating give-and-go that ended with Dowling threading a pass across the crease for a back-door goal from Chiasson to win the game, 7-6.

Campbell stopped 23 of 29 shots to record his 15th win of the season in goal for Texas. Hackett made 24 saves on 31 shots and was tagged with the loss in goal for Houston.

With the win, the Stars maintained their six-point lead over Charlotte atop the South Division. Houston remains fifth in the Western Conference playoff race with 76 points.