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Rats win again but Norfolk clinches

Ari Ahonen made 37 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as Albany posted a 2-0 victory over Norfolk on Saturday night, the River Rats’ seventh win in a row.

Ryan Murphy provided the River Rats all the offense they would need with his 12th goal of the year at the 5:53 mark of the first period.

Ilkka Pikkarainen capped the scoring with an empty-netter in the third.

Norfolk outshot Albany, 37-13, but dropped its second in a row to the River Rats. Despite the loss, the Admirals still secured a berth in the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs. Norfolk is in third place in the East Division.

Craig Anderson stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced on the night, but saw his record drop to 9-2-1. Anderson did lower his goals-against average to 1.80.

Elsewhere on Saturday:
Neil Little made 37 saves as Philadelphia beat Hershey, 2-1… Jason Spezza scored two goals and assisted on two others as Binghamton dominated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 5-2… Eric Staal had a goal and two assists for Lowell in a 3-2 win over Bridgeport… Jamie Lundmark, Layne Ulmer and Jozef Balej each had a goal and an assist in Hartford’s 4-1 win over Providence… Brad Smyth‘s goal with 5:12 to play gave Manchester a 4-3 win at Springfield… Worcester moved to within three points of the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division with a 5-4 shootout win over Portland… Nathan Perrott scored with 10:47 left in regulation, leading St. John’s to a 2-1 win over Edmonton… Dan Ellis made 31 saves in Hamilton’s 4-1 win over Manitoba… Karl Goehring made 31 saves as Syracuse beat Rochester, 5-2… Chicago solidified its hold on first place in the West Division as Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves in a 2-0 win over Milwaukee… Chris Kunitz scored in the third period to give Cincinnati a 1-0 win over Cleveland… Houston remained tied with the Mighty Ducks for third place in the West with a 2-1 win at San Antonio… Kiel McLeod had a goal and an assist as Utah dealt Grand Rapids a 4-3 setback.