HAMILTON 6, GRAND RAPIDS 3
A four-goal third period sent Hamilton to a 6-3 win over visiting Grand Rapids on Friday at Copps Coliseum. Rookie David Desharnais netted his first pro hat trick and added an assist for the Bulldogs, while AHL All-Rookie defenseman Yannick Weber broke a 3-3 tie with the eventual game-winner 15:44 into the third period.
Grand Rapids’ loss assured Manitoba of the North Division title, and it also guaranteed that the Griffins and Bulldogs will square off in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. All that’s left to determine is home-ice advantage for the series, with the Griffins currently holding a two-point edge for second place in the division.
The two squads will clash in a rematch on Saturday night, also in Hamilton.
BRIDGEPORT 4, HERSHEY 3 (OT)
Bridgeport rallied back from a 3-1 deficit, and Sean Bentivoglio scored just 25 seconds into overtime to give the Sound Tigers a 4-3 win over Hershey before 5,389 fans at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Defenseman Jamie Fraser initially gave Bridgeport a 1-0 lead early in the first period, but the Bears scored the game’s next three goals. Grant McNeill, Mathieu Perreault, and Darren Reid all lit the lamp, giving Hershey a 3-1 advantage with 2:47 gone in the middle period.
Haskins then assisted on Bentivoglio’s game-winner, which assured the Sound Tigers (46-23-3-5, 100 points) of their first-ever 100-point season.
Bridgeport goaltender Peter Mannino earned the victory with 29 saves on 32 shots. The Sound Tigers are now just two points back of Hershey for the East Division lead.
PORTLAND 3, LOWELL 1
Mathieu Darche scored twice – including the game-winner 4:30 into the third period – as Portland grabbed a 3-1 road win over Lowell at Tsongas Arena.
Darche opened the game’s scoring with a power play marker at 17:01 of the first period. After a scoreless second, the Devils tied it when Pascal Rheaume netted his 10th of the year 3:13 into the third.
That set the stage for Darche 26th goal of the season, which came unassisted to break the 1-1 deadlock. Marek Zagrapan added an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned the victory with 35 saves on 36 shots. Portland remains tied with Worcester for third place in the Atlantic Division, as both clubs now show 81 points for the campaign.
WORCESTER 3, ALBANY 2
Riley Armstrong’s two goals in the second period proved to be the difference as Worcester captured a 3-2 win over Albany on Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, N.Y.
Sharks rookie Steven Zalewski netted the lone first-period goal for either side, and Armstrong scored twice in less than four minutes during the second frame. Zalewski assisted on both of Armstrong’s goals to finish with a three-point night.
Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss made 26 saves to help the Sharks to their third straight win, all on the road, and fifth in their last six games (5-1-0-0). The Sharks remain tied with Portland for third place in the Atlantic Division, just one point ahead of fifth-place Manchester.
Jerome Samson and Bryan Rodney scored for the River Rats, who suffered their first loss in four “home” games at Glens Falls this season (3-1-0-0). Albany fell to 0-5-0-1 in its last six contests overall.
MANCHESTER 3, SPRINGFIELD 0
Manchester rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Monarchs took a 3-0 win over Springfield at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Trevor Lewis and Matt Moulson each posted a goal and an assist for the Monarchs, and Kevin Westgarth also found the back of the net. Westgarth now has a goal in consecutive games after not scoring in his previous 11 contests.
Bernier (22-22-4) had to make 11 saves in the third period alone, as the Falcons held an 11-5 shots advantage in that frame.
The Monarchs (36-31-0-8, 80 points) remained one point back of Portland and Worcester, who both also won on Friday and remain tied for third place in the Atlantic Division.
HARTFORD 6, PROVIDENCE 0
Hartford’s penalty-killing unit went 10-for-10 and scored three shorthanded goals en route to a 6-0 road win over Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Mike Ouellette netted a pair of shorthanders for the Wolf Pack, and Brodie Dupont tallied the other. The Wolf Pack have now scored 13 shorthanded goals on the road this season, six more than any other AHL club.
Hartford became the fourth AHL team this season to register three shorthanded goals in the same game, and the first from the Eastern Conference.
Artem Anisimov registered two goals and an assist in the victory, while both Dupont and defenseman Vladimir Denisov posted a goal and a helper. Jordan Owens (0-3-3) and Dale Weise (0-2-2) chipped in two assists.
Hartford rookie goaltender Matt Zaba stopped all 24 shots he faced to secure his second shutout and 23rd victory of the season (23-9-0). The win allowed the Wolf Pack to open a six-point bulge on Providence in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division.
PHILADELPHIA 3, NORFOLK 2 (OT)
Jared Ross scored 1:37 into overtime as Philadelphia escaped with a 3-2 road win over Norfolk in the opener of the teams’ two-game weekend set at the Scope.
The Phantoms trailed 2-1 before rookie Rob Sirianni scored his 11th goal of the season – and fifth in his last four games – to tie it 4:06 into the third frame.
The Phantoms (40-29-2-4, 86 points) won their fourth straight game and closed within one point of Binghamton for the East Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
ROCHESTER 4, BINGHAMTON 2
Stefan Meyer notched a pair of goals as Rochester doubled up intra-state rival Binghamton by a 4-2 count at the Blue Cross Arena on Friday.
Rookie forward Michal Repik chipped in two helpers, and Amerks goaltender David Shantz earned the victory with 42 saves on 44 shots, surviving a 21-shot barrage by Binghamton in the third period alone.
Mark Bombersback and Greg Mauldin potted third-period goals for the Senators, whose lead on Philadelphia for the East Division’s final playoff spot was sliced to one point.
ROCKFORD 3, SYRACUSE 2 (SO)
Pete MacArthur scored twice in regulation and once in the shootout to lift Rockford past Syracuse by a 3-2 final at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Evan Brophey and Tim Brent assisted on both of MacArthur’s regulation markers. Pascal Pelletier and Mike Radja also scored in the shootout for Rockford, the latter coming in the fifth round to win it.
IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford was stellar in net, making 41 saves through the first 65 minutes and stopping three of four in the shootout. Crawford improved to 21-19-3 on the season.
LAKE ERIE 3, MILWAUKEE 2
Lake Erie brought a 3-0 lead into the third period and held on for a 3-2 road win over Milwaukee on Friday at the Bradley Center.
But Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman held on for the victory, finishing with 23 saves on the night.
Milwaukee, which has already wrapped up the West Division title, fell to 1-5-0-1 in its last seven outings.
PEORIA 3, HOUSTON 1
Peoria is on the cusp of its first playoff berth since 2006 after capturing a 3-1 win over visiting Houston on Friday at Carver Arena.
Danny Irmen netted the lone goal of the night for Houston, which fell to 1-4-0-1 in its last seven games on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
The victory lifted the Rivermen (41-31-2-2, 86 points) two points up on the Aeros for second place in the West Division. Both teams have four games to play.
SAN ANTONIO 2, IOWA 0
In his first appearance for San Antonio since Feb. 22, goaltender Josh Tordjman pitched a 22-save shutout as the Rampage took a 2-0 win over visiting Iowa before 9,222 fans at the AT&T Center.
Tordjman improved to 22-21-2 in a Rampage uniform this season with his fifth shutout of the campaign.
The Chops’ playoff hopes took a severe hit with the loss, as Iowa is now five points out of a spot with just three games left to play.
QUAD CITY 2, CHICAGO 1
Quad City improved its still-slim playoff hopes and damaged Chicago’s chances with a 2-1 win over the reeling Wolves at the I Wireless Center.
Flames rookie goaltender earned the victory with 33 saves on 34 shots, helping Quad City capture its third straight win and improve to 5-0-0-1 in its last six outings.
Quad City is now five points back of Rockford and Houston, who are tied for the West’s last two postseason entries, with four games to play.
Rookie Matt Anderson scored for the Wolves, who are now seven points back with four games to go.
TORONTO 3, MANITOBA 1
Toronto reclaimed sole possession of fourth place in the North Division with a 3-1 road win over Manitoba in the opener of the teams’ two-game set at the MTS Centre.
Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge earned the victory with 26 saves on 27 shots. Toronto (37-29-3-7, 84 points) is now one point up on Syracuse for the division’s final playoff spot, and both teams have four games to play.
Despite the loss, the Moose clinched the North Division title on Friday courtesy of Grand Rapids’ loss to Hamilton. It marks Manitoba’s second division crown in the last three years.