ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - After being a healthy scratch for the past two games, defenceman Brett Carson responded in a big way.
Carson scored the winning goal to lead the Abbotsford Heat to a 4-1 win over the Houston Aeros in American Hockey League play Saturday. It was Carson's second goal of the season.
Ryan Howse, a night after getting just 44 seconds of third-period ice time, scored his first career professional goal. It was also the first AHL point for Howse, who played his junior hockey for the nearby Chilliwack Bruins last season where he scored 51 goals in 70 games.
Quintin Laing and Greg Nemisz each had a goal and an assist in the third period during extended power plays to clinch the victory for Abbotsford (28-20-3).
Jon DiSalvatore scored for Houston (25-16-12), giving him three goals in his past two games and four in his last four.
The Heat defeated the Aeros 3-2 Friday night.
Suddenly Abbotsford, who had just two wins in 11 games entering the weekend set, has won back-to-back games. The Heat are back within three points of Houston for second in the West Division and just three points back of the Chicago Wolves for fourth-place in the Western Conference.
The Aeros, meanwhile have now lost three straight and have just four wins in their last 15 games.
Henrik Karlsson made 21 stops in his fourth straight start to end a two-week conditioning stint. He is set to rejoin the Calgary Flames within the week.
Matt Hackett stopped just four of the six shots he faced before being pulled in favour of Darcy Kuemper, who made 22 saves in relief.
The Heat opened the scoring at 7:19. Guillaume Desbiens' shot from the top of the face-off circle was deflected by Howse for his first goal of the season.
Just 33 seconds later the Heat doubled their lead. Hugh Jessiman crossed the blue-line and dropped it to Carson, whose one-timer beat Hackett just inside the post for his second of the season.
At 16:12 of the first period Joel Broda was assessed a major penalty for head-butting. Abbotsford could not muster a goal on the long power play, though Nemisz did hit the post about 20 seconds into it.
Houston got three straight power plays in the second period and finally got on the board just past the midway mark of the game. DiSalvatore redirected a pass from Chay Genoway at 10:38 on the power play to cut the deficit to one. The goal snapped an 0-for-16 drought for the Aeros power play.
During a five-on-three power play the Heat restored the two-goal lead. Nemisz picked the corner at 14:20 of the third from the high slot, giving him 10 on the year and goals in back-to-back matches.
After Houston's bench was issued a bench minor the two-man advantage continued and Abbotsford scored again 35 seconds later.
Abbotsford now hits the road for five games beginning on Tuesday in Peoria.
Houston continues their franchise-record 11-game road trip in Texas on Feb. 24.