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IceHogs, River Rats punch postseason tickets


Saturday’s Boxscores

ROCKFORD 7, SAN ANTONIO 1
Bryan Bickell netted a pair of goals and added two assists as Rockford posted a 7-1 win over visiting San Antonio on Saturday at the MetroCentre. The victory allowed Rockford (42-24-4-6) to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Kris Versteeg also had four points (1-3-4) for the IceHogs. Both he and Bickell finished plus-5 for the night.

Petri Kontiola and Evan Brophey each posted a goal and an assist, while Justin Fletcher, and Ryan Stokes also lit the lamp. Defenseman Tyson Marsh was plus-4 and chipped in an assist.

IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford (27-17-5) earned the win with 28 saves on 29 shots.

Mike Zigomanis netted the Rampage’s lone goal on the power play in the second period.


PROVIDENCE 2, LOWELL 1 (SO)
Providence clinched the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference regular-season titles with a 2-1 shootout win over host Lowell at the Tsongas Arena.

Lowell’s Petr Vrana and Providence’s Jeff LoVecchio traded unassisted goals in the first period. LoVecchio’s came shorthanded.

After the teams played scoreless hockey through the rest of regulation and overtime, Bruins defenseman Brett Skinner netted the only shootout goal for either side in the opening round.

B’s goaltender Jordan Sigalet stopped 30 of 31 shots through the first 65 minutes and denied all five of the Devils’ shootout tries.

The division title is Providence’s first since the 2002-03 campaign. The Bruins will open the postseason at home against either Manchester or Springfield.


NORFOLK 5, ALBANY 2
Appearing in just his second game since Feb. 26, Norfolk rookie Paul Szczechura netted a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Admirals over Albany by a 5-2 count before 6,627 fans in their home finale at the Scope.

Brandon Segal and Bracken Kearns gave the Ads a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but Albany came back to tie it on second-period markers by Joey Mormina and Nicolas Blanchard.

2008 AHL All-Star Justin Keller netted the eventual game-winner for Norfolk at 2:38 of the third. Szczechura netted a power play goal at 4:29 and an empty-netter in the closing minute.

Admirals goaltender Marc Denis picked up the victory with 27 saves.

Despite the loss, the River Rats clinched a spot in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs by virtue of Bridgeport’s regulation loss at Hershey. Albany will make its second consecutive postseason appearance after missing the previous six seasons.


HERSHEY 6, BRIDGEPORT 3
Alexandre Giroux notched four points (2-2-4) and was a plus-6 on the night as Hershey doubled up Bridgeport by a 6-3 final in front of 9,661 fans at the Giant Center.

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Bears scored four times in the final 20 minutes to pull out the victory.

Jason Morgan tallied the equalizer at 1:21 and the game-winner at 6:38, then completed a hat trick with an empty-net goal in the closing minute.

Chris Bourque had a goal and a helper for Hershey, and Sami Lepisto chipped in three assists. Goaltender Daren Machesney earned the victory with 25 saves.

The win moved Hershey five points up on Bridgeport for the East Division’s final playoff spot, and the Sound Tigers’ regulation loss allowed third-place Albany to officially clinch a postseason berth.

Jeff Tambellini netted a pair of goals for the Sound Tigers, giving the two-time AHL All-Star six goals and eight points in his last three games.


MILWAUKEE 2, HOUSTON 1
Andreas Thuresson’s goal at 13:48 of the second period held up to be the game-winner as Milwaukee eked out a 2-1 win over visiting Houston before 7,687 fans at the Bradley Center.

Adrian Foster gave the Aeros a 1-0 lead at 11:12 of the opening period, but the Admirals’ Matt Ellison responded just 13 seconds later to tie the score.

Milwaukee goaltender Pekka Rinne, a two-time AHL All-Star, stopped 21 of 22 shots and upped his season record to 34-23-2.

The win moved the Admirals back into a three-way tie with San Antonio and Houston for third place in the West Division. Milwaukee hosts the Rampage on Sunday afternoon while Houston travels to Peoria.


MANCHESTER 4, WORCESTER 1
AHL rookie of the year Teddy Purcell netted a pair of goals as Manchester captured a 4-1 win over visiting Worcester in front of 9,932 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Monarchs extended their winning streak to four games and moved within a point of clinching their seventh Calder Cup Playoffs berth in as many years.

David Meckler and Brady Murray also scored in the winning effort, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier finished with 27 saves.

Lukas Kaspar netted a shorthanded goal for the Sharks in the second period.


SPRINGFIELD 5, BINGHAMTON 2
Springfield took a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes and cruised to a 5-2 road win over Binghamton at the Broome County Arena.

Marc Pouliot and 2008 AHL All-Star Rob Schremp each posted a goal and two assists to lead the Falcons, while Viacheslav Trukhno, Stephen Werner, and Tim Sestito also found the back of the net.

Falcons goaltender Jeff Deslauriers (25-22-5) earned the win with 38 saves on 40 shots.

Greg Mauldin and Josh Hennessy lit the lamp for the Senators, who are four points back of Hershey in the East Division playoff race with just three games to play.


PHILADELPHIA 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1 (OT)
Rookie Kyle Greentree scored 1:39 into overtime to give Philadelphia a 2-1 road win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in front of 8,269 fans at the Wachovia Arena.

The Phantoms’ Ryan Potulny and the Penguins’ Tim Brent traded first-period goals, and neither team scored in the second or third stanza.

Greentree’s goal was his second in as many nights and pulled him into a tie with Jared Ross for the team lead overall at 22 apiece.

Phantoms goaltender Michael Teslak picked up his first professional victory with 26 saves.

The overtime win for Philadelphia left the two teams tied atop the East Division with 95 points apiece.


PORTLAND 3, HARTFORD 1
Andrew Ebbett tipped home a centering feed from Brian Salcido at 19:38 of the third period to break a 1-1 tie and send Portland to a 3-1 win over Hartford before 6,873 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Ebbett and Salcido, both 2008 AHL All-Stars, each assisted on the other’s goal, as Salcido opened the game’s scoring at 10:09 of the second period.

Hartford’s Jordan Owens tied it at 13:33 of the second, and the teams played scoreless hockey until Ebbett’s game-winner. Simon Ferguson added a late empty-netter.

Pirates goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin stopped 26 of 27 shots in the winning effort.

The Wolf Pack and Pirates are guaranteed to square off in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, beginning in Hartford.


MANITOBA 6, TORONTO 0
Greg Rallo scored twice and rookie goaltender Cory Schneider turned in a 29-save shutout as Manitoba blanked visiting Toronto by a 6-0 count before 13,520 fans at the MTS Centre.

The win allowed the Moose to sweep their two-game home set with the Marlies. The teams will meet at Ricoh Coliseum on Apr. 13, the final day of the regular season.

Rallo netted both of his goals in the first period, helping the Moose take a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes. Colby Genoway also scored in that opening stanza, and Mike Brown, Jannik Hansen, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie added additional insurance goals.

Genoway finished with a game-high four points (1-3-4) and a plus-5 rating on the night.

Schneider picked up his third shutout and 20th victory of the campaign (20-11-2).


CHICAGO 6, PEORIA 4
2008 AHL All-Stars Brett Sterling (2-1-3) and Joe Motzko (1-2-3) notched three points apiece to lead Chicago to a 6-4 road win over Peoria in front of 7,319 fans at Carver Arena.

Jesse Schultz scored twice in the first period for the Wolves, helping Chicago to a 3-1 lead at first intermission. Each team netted three goals over the final 40 minutes.

Joey Crabb rounded out Chicago’s offense, while Brian Fahey and Jason Krog chipped in a pair of assists apiece. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec picked up the win with 25 saves.

Jean-Guy Trudel had a goal and an assist for the Rivermen, who also received markers from Trent Whitfield, Ryan Glenn, and Jim Jackson, the first of his AHL career.


QUAD CITY 2, IOWA 1
Carsen Germyn broke a 1-1 tie at 18:07 of the third period to give Quad City a 2-1 win over visiting Iowa at the I Wireless Center.

The game-winner came just 15 seconds after Iowa defenseman Bryce Lampman had scored to make it a 1-1 contest.

Krys Chucko originally gave the Flames a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. Quad City goaltender Matt Keetley stopped 29 of 30 shots and improved to 9-7-3 for the campaign.


GRAND RAPIDS 3, ROCHESTER 2
Carl Corazzini’s power play goal at 16:22 of the third period gave Grand Rapids a 3-2 road win over Rochester before 6,929 fans at the Blue Cross Arena.

Corazzini, Garrett Stafford, and Tyler Redenbach all finished with a goal and a helper for the Griffins, and netminder Adam Berkhoel made 23 saves in the winning effort.

Marek Zagrapan and 2008 AHL All-Star Mark Mancari lit the lamp for the Amerks.


HAMILTON 2, LAKE ERIE 1
2008 AHL All-Star Corey Locke netted a pair of second-period goals and Hamilton held on for a 2-1 win over visiting Lake Erie at Copps Coliseum.

After a scoreless first period, Locke put the Bulldogs on the board just 18 seconds into the middle stanza. He added a power play marker at 4:53 for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.

The Monsters’ Chris Stewart made it a 2-1 game with exactly 10 minutes to play in regulation.

Hamilton goaltender Cedrick Desjardins secured the victory with 33 saves.