HERSHEY 5, HAMILTON 2
Chris Bourque became the fourth AHL player this season to score four goals in a game, leading Hershey to a 5-2 win over Hamilton on Saturday before 9,760 fans at the Giant Center.
Grant McNeill added his first career AHL goal for the Bears, who now hold a four-point lead on Binghamton for the East Division’s final playoff spot. Both teams have seven games to play.
The teams exchanged first-period goals, as Hamilton’s Janne Lahti scored at 12:14 and Bourque answered at 15:01.
Bourque scored twice in the second period and McNeill once, making it a 4-1 Bears lead. After Mathieu Carle scored at 15:16 of the third, Bourque capped his night with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.
Peoria’s Jean-Guy Trudel and Quad City’s Grant Stevenson posted four-goal games earlier this season, and former Bears forward Grant Potulny most recently accomplished the feat as a member of Springfield.
Bears goaltender Daren Machesney picked up the win with 31 saves on 33 shots, upping his season record to 20-10-2.
Saturday’s game marked a rematch of the 2007 Calder Cup Finals, won by Hamilton in five games. The Bears and Bulldogs split their 2007-08 season series at one game apiece.
Hamilton fell to 0-10-1-1 in its last 12 contests. The Bulldogs’ last win came when the Bears visited Copps Coliseum on Mar. 1.
HARTFORD 10, SPRINGFIELD 1
Hartford matched an AHL season high with 10 goals on its way to a 10-1 victory over Springfield before 7,156 fans at the XL Center.
Mike Taylor, playing in his second career AHL game, scored a pair of goals and added an assist for the Wolf Pack.
Chicago posted the AHL’s other 10-goal game this season in a 10-2 win over Iowa on Dec. 15.
The 10-1 final marked the largest margin of victory in an AHL game since Oct. 23, 2004, when the old Worcester IceCats blanked Springfield by a 9-0 score.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, BRIDGEPORT 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took over first place in the East Division with a 4-2 road win over Bridgeport at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
The Penguins (44-26-0-3) moved one point ahead of Philadelphia for the division’s top spot, marking the first time since Oct. 7 that the East has had a new leader.
TORONTO 6, MANITOBA 1
Robbie Earl posted a goal and two assists to help Toronto to a 6-1 win over visiting Manitoba at Ricoh Coliseum.
Goaltender Scott Clemmensen stopped 31 of 32 shots in the winning effort, as Toronto moved to 7-0-0-1 in its last eight games.
Rookie Michael Grabner netted the Moose’s lone goal. Manitoba’s 13-game points streak (11-0-0-2) came to an end.
PROVIDENCE 7, PORTLAND 1
Providence scored four times in the third period to run away with a 7-1 win over visiting Portland before 8,077 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Stephen Dixon netted the Pirates’ lone goal at 5:41 of the second period.
With the win, Providence officially clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs.
NORFOLK 4, MANCHESTER 3
Norfolk burst out to a 4-0 lead and had to hold on for a 4-3 win over visiting Manchester at the Scope Arena.
AHL rookie scoring leader Teddy Purcell began the Monarchs’ comeback attempt with a power play goal at 10:18 of the second period.
Admirals goaltender Ryan Munce made 35 saves for the victory.
Despite the loss, the Monarchs remained three points up on Springfield for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
SYRACUSE 6, LAKE ERIE 5 (OT)
Marc Methot scored with 30 seconds left in overtime to give Syracuse its eighth straight victory, a wild 6-5 decision over visiting Lake Erie before 6,167 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The win extended the Crunch’s points streak to 16 games (13-0-0-3), matching an AHL season high previously attained by Rockford. Syracuse is now 17-1-0-5 since Feb. 2 and sits just four points back of Manitoba for second place in the North Division.
Defenseman Andrei Plekhanov tallied a pair of goals and added an assist in regulation for Syracuse. Rookie Derick Brassard also scored twice, including the game-tying goal at 9:36 of the third period.
HOUSTON 4, CHICAGO 3
Danny Irmen netted a pair of goals as Houston edged host Chicago by a 4-3 count in front of 9,636 fans at the Allstate Arena. It marked the Aeros’ sixth straight road win.
The Wolves climbed back into it, though, starting with Joey Crabb’s sixth goal of the season at 10:13 of the second. Steve Martins netted a shorthanded goal in the final stanza, and Darren Haydar made it 4-3 with only 21 seconds remaining.
The Aeros held on, as goaltender Barry Brust finished with 16 saves in the winning effort.
Houston remained tied with Milwaukee for fourth place in the West Division, one point back of third-place San Antonio. The Aeros will travel north for a date with the Admirals on Sunday.
SAN ANTONIO 6, PEORIA 0
San Antonio scored twice in each period on its way to a 6-0 blanking of visiting Peoria in front of 9,019 fans at the AT&T Center.
Rampage goaltender Al Montoya made 31 saves for his first shutout of the season.
MILWAUKEE 1, QUAD CITY 0
Milwaukee goaltender Maxime Daigneault turned in a 35-save shutout as the Admirals edged host Quad City by a 1-0 final at the I Wireless Center.
Matt Ellison scored the game’s lone goal at 15:10 of the first period. It was his team-leading 24th marker of the season and sixth in his last seven games (6-3-9).
Daigneault improved his season record to 4-5-0. Two of his four victories have been via the shutout, and the Flames were the victim on both occasions. Daigneault made 27 saves in a 2-0 win at Quad City on Oct. 26.
ROCHESTER 5, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Marc-Andre Gragnani scored a pair of goals and Tyler Plante made 47 saves as Rochester downed Grand Rapids by a 5-2 score before a sellout crowd of 10,834 fans at the Van Andel Arena.
Plante stopped all 15 shots he faced in the first period and 33 of 34 over the final 40 minutes. The 47 total saves marked a season high for Plante
IOWA 4, ROCKFORD 3
Iowa netted three goals in the third period to rally past visiting Rockford by a 4-3 final at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Versteeg tallied a power play goal for Rockford at 13:38, but the IceHogs were unable to find the equalizer.
Stars goaltender Tobias Stephan, who made 37 saves in a win over Quad City a night earlier, stopped 42 of 45 shots to secure the victory on Saturday. Stephan is now 26-24-2 on the campaign.
LOWELL 4, WORCESTER 3
Petr Vrana netted a goal and added two assists as Lowell edged Worcester by a 4-3 final at the Tsongas Arena.
Pierre-Luc Leblond and Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre scored for the Devils in the first and second periods, respectively. Nick Palmieri’s first professional goal, a power play marker at 11:15 of the third, turned out to be the game-winner for Lowell.
Devils goaltender Dave Caruso turned aside 29 shots in the winning effort.