SPRINGFIELD 2, PROVIDENCE 1
Springfield halted its 17-game winless skid (0-12-4-1) on Saturday, holding on for a 2-1 triumph over visiting Providence at the MassMutual Center. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk earned the victory with 33 saves in net.
Dubnyk, who bounced back from surrendering seven goals in his last appearance for the team on Dec. 12, improved to 10-9-1 in 20 AHL games for the season. He has spent much of the last month on NHL recall to Edmonton, and other Falcons goaltenders have combined to post a 1-16-1 mark on the campaign.
Falcons forwards Rob Hisey and Colton Fretter scored just under 10 minutes apart in the first period Saturday, with 2010 AHL All-Star Charles Linglet picking up an assist on both goals. A sixth-year pro, Hisey has now lit the lamp in all four games (4-1-5) since joining Springfield’s lineup on Dec. 29.
Trent Whitfield cut Providence’s deficit in half with a power play goal at 19:49 of the second period, but the Bruins could not get the equalizer in the third frame.
Springfield emerged victorious for the first time since capturing a 3-2 shootout decision at Hershey back on Nov. 21, and the home triumph was the Falcons’ first since a 4-3 decision vs. Lowell on Nov. 18.
HARTFORD 3, BRIDGEPORT 2
Rookie forward Evgeny Grachev tallied a pair of goals – including the game-winner – as Hartford rallied for a 3-2 victory over intra-state rival Bridgeport on Saturday at the XL Center.
The Wolf Pack extended their winning streak to three games, their longest since taking a season-high four straight contests from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.
The second period belonged to the Sound Tigers, however, as the visitors held a 13-9 edge in shots and scored twice to take the lead. Trevor Smith potted his 11th goal of the year at 1:33, and defenseman Mark Flood converted a power play chance seven minutes in.
Bridgeport’s 2-1 advantage stood until 10:55 of the third frame, when Weise beat Bridgeport goaltender Scott Munroe for his 10th marker of the campaign. Grachev then broke the tie with five minutes to play in regulation, as Ilkka Heikkinen and 2010 AHL All-Star Bobby Sanguinetti earned helpers.
Wolf Pack netminder Chad Johnson made 23 saves in net and improved to 11-7-2 in his rookie campaign.
Bridgeport, which lost in Providence on Friday, has now dropped back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since a five-game skid from Nov. 1-8.
CHICAGO 3, PEORIA 2 (SO)
Tim Stapleton and Anthony Stewart notched shootout goals as Chicago escaped with a 3-2 win over visiting Peoria before an AHL season-high crowd of 15,319 fans at Allstate Arena.
Stewart also scored in regulation for the Wolves, as did 2010 AHL All-Star Brett Sterling. Chicago rallied from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead, only to watch another 2010 AHL All-Star – Peoria defenseman Jonas Junland – tie the contest back up with six minutes left in regulation.
Wolves goaltender Peter Mannino (8-2-0) stopped four of five shots in the shootout after making 33 saves through regulation and overtime. Aaron Palushaj, who assisted on both of Peoria’s regulation markers, tallied his club’s lone shootout goal in the first round.
Ben Bishop took the shootout loss for the Rivermen despite making 36 saves in net.
It marked the first game behind the bench for new Peoria head coach Rick Wamsley, who took over when Davis Payne was promoted to head coach of the parent St. Louis Blues earlier in the day. Wamsley was previously the Blues’ goaltending coach.
MANITOBA 5, TEXAS 4 (SO)
After tying the game in the last minute of regulation, Manitoba got shootout goals from Marco Rosa and Marty Murray to emerge with a 5-4 win over Texas before 7,416 fans at the MTS Centre.
The back-and-forth game saw the Stars take a 2-0 lead, the Moose rally for a 3-2 edge, and Texas moving ahead 4-3 in the third frame on a pair of goals by Travis Morin.
Michael Grabner and Guillaume Desbiens also scored for the Moose, and defenseman Evan Oberg had two assists. Goaltender Daren Machesney made 36 saves in net before denying four of Texas’ five shootout attempts.
Morin (2-1-3) and Fabian Brunnstrom (1-2-3) each registered three points for the Stars, Mathieu Beaudoin also scored in regulation, and 2010 AHL All-Star Ivan Vishnevskiy tallied his club’s lone shootout goal in the first round.
The Moose have now won a season-high four straight, while Texas is without a win in its last five contests (0-3-0-2).
HERSHEY 5, BINGHAMTON 3
Hershey continued its winning ways on Saturday with a 5-3 triumph over visiting Binghamton before 10,506 fans at the Giant Center.
Keith Aucoin led the way with three points (1-2-3) for the Bears, who staked themselves to leads of 3-0 and 4-1 before surviving a scare in the third period.
Boyd Kane, Chris Bourque, Alexandre Giroux, and Oskar Osala also scored goals in the victory, which was Hershey’s ninth in a row since a 3-0 loss at Albany on Dec. 11. The Bears are 26-8-0-2 for a league-high 54 points overall.
Trailing 4-1, the Senators climbed back into the contest on third-period tallies by Martin St. Pierre (power play) and Cody Bass (shorthanded), but could not get the equalizer. An empty-netter by Aucoin sealed Hershey’s victory.
Zack Smith also scored for Binghamton, which is 1-4-0-0 in its last five contests.
SYRACUSE 6, ALBANY 3
Syracuse matched a season high with six goals – including four in the third period alone – en route to a 6-3 win over visiting Albany at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Michael Blunden paced the Crunch’s offense with two goals and an assist, and Tomas Kana also registered three points (1-2-3) on the night. Mike Radja joined Blunden in tallying a pair of goals, while Grant Clitsome rounded out Syracuse’s scoring.
Syracuse, playing its lone home game in a stretch where it has nine of 10 contests on the road, racked up six goals for the first time since a 6-1 win over Adirondack on Oct. 10.
TORONTO 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (SO)
Toronto twice rallied from a one-goal deficit and then secured a 3-2 shootout victory over visiting Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Admirals gathered leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Brendan Mikkelson and Andre Deveaux tallied power play goals to tie it for the Marlies on each occasion. Deveaux’s marker, his ninth of the year, came with 7:12 to play in regulation.
Mark Santorelli netted an unassisted goal in the first period for Milwaukee, giving him a tally in three straight games (3-0-3) and a point in four straight (3-3-6). The Admirals received a regulation and shootout goal from 2010 AHL All-Star Cal O’Reilly.
Toronto has now won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 5 and 11.
WORCESTER 5, LOWELL 2
Worcester connected for two goals in a 1:17 span early in the second period and never looked back en route to a 5-2 road win over Lowell at Tsongas Arena.
With the game deadlocked at 1-1 coming out of the first intermission, rookie Logan Couture tallied his 13th goal of the season at 4:05, and Dwight Helminen made it 3-1 at the 5:22 mark. Helminen snapped an eight-game goal-scoring drought with his marker.
The Sharks’ Andrew Desjardins and the Devils’ Alexander Vasyunov traded goals in the first period. Defenseman Danny Groulx chipped in two assists for Worcester, and rookie Alex Stalock made 40 saves in net to pick up his league-leading 19th win of the year (19-8-1).
Worcester upped its winning streak to five games and moved to 13-2-0-1 in its last 16 contests.
ADIRONDACK 3, NORFOLK 2
Stefan Legein’s power play goal at 9:44 of the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner as Adirondack edged Norfolk, 3-2, at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Jon Matsumoto and Andreas Nodl also scored for the Phantoms, who took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the contest. But the Admirals responded both times, as Juraj Simek found the back of the net twice for his eighth and ninth goals of the season.
LAKE ERIE 3, HAMILTON 2
Despite facing a 33-17 disadvantage in shots on goal, Lake Erie managed to eke out a 3-2 road win over North Division-leading Hamilton at Copps Coliseum on Saturday.
Rookie forward Justin Mercier scored his first two professional goals for the Monsters, including the eventual game-winner into an empty net at 19:14 of the third period. That goal made it a 3-1 Lake Erie lead, but Hamilton’s Ben Maxwell closed the gap to 3-2 just 25 seconds later.
Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman earned the win with 31 saves on 33 shots, as Lake Erie came away victorious for the sixth time in its last seven games (6-1-0-0).
The Bulldogs, who also got a tally from J.T. Wyman in the loss, saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
PORTLAND 4, MANCHESTER 3 (SO)
Marc-Andre Gragnani scored in the 10th round of a shootout to lift Portland to a 4-3 road win over Manchester before 6,414 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
2010 AHL All-Star Nathan Gerbe scored twice in regulation for Portland. Mancari assisted on both of Gerbe’s first-period goals and then notched one of his own early in the second period. Rookie Tyler Ennis, also an AHL All-Star this year, assisted on all three markers.
Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth made 23 saves before stopping nine of the Monarchs’ 10 shootout attempts.
Manchester is now winless in three straight games (0-2-0-1) for the first time since Nov. 1-7.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 5, ROCHESTER 3
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton kept Rochester reeling with a 5-3 win over the visiting Amerks on Saturday at the Wachovia Arena.
Each side tallied three goals in the first period, and the Penguins pulled ahead with one apiece in the second and third frames. Defenseman Deryk Engelland netted the eventual game-winner 16:26 into the middle period, and Mark Letestu sealed the win with a late empty-net marker.
2010 AHL All-Star Dustin Jeffrey contributed two assists in the win, and goaltender Adam Berkhoel earned the win with 28 saves in net. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won for the fifth time in its last six contests (5-1-0-0).
GRAND RAPIDS 5, ROCKFORD 4 (SO)
Jeremy Williams notched the lone shootout goal for either side as Grand Rapids pulled out a 5-4 road victory over Rockford at the MetroCentre.
Williams converted in the second round, and Griffins goaltender Daniel Larsson held the IceHogs scoreless through all five attempts. Grand Rapids halted a season-high five-game losing skid, collecting its first victory since a 4-2 decision at Texas on Dec. 19.
Francis Pare led Grand Rapids with two goals in regulation, and the Griffins also got markers from Jan Mursak and 2010 AHL All-Star Patrick Rissmiller. Francis Lemieux and defenseman Andy Delmore each chipped in two assists, and Delmore was plus-4 on the night.
ABBOTSFORD 3, SAN ANTONIO 2 (SO)
Abbotsford rallied from a 2-0 deficit in regulation and then pulled out a nine-round shootout victory, 3-2, over host San Antonio at the AT&T Center.
The Heat’s Cam Cunning and the Rampage’s Justin Bernhardt traded goals in the shootout’s early rounds. With Abbotsford shootout first, Garth Murray and MacGregor Sharp traded goals in the eighth round, and David Van der Gulik converted for the Heat in the ninth round.
San Antonio grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on power play goals by Ryan Hollweg and Ryan Weston. But Abbotsford came back in the second frame, as Colin Stuart converted a power play and Peter Vandermeer scored at even strength.
The Rampage’s four-game winning streak came to an end and they lost for the first time in four clashes with the Heat this season (3-0-0-1).