MANCHESTER 5, WORCESTER 2
Andrei Loktionov kept the hot hand with a goal and two assists as Manchester stretched its winning streak to four games with a 5-2 road triumph over Worcester on Sunday at the DCU Center.
Loktionov now has multiple points in three straight outings (1-7-8) and 17 points (3-14-17) in 14 AHL contests overall in his second pro season.
After the teams played a scoreless opening frame, Manchester took control of this one via a three-goal second period.
Ray Kaunisto began the push by scoring 40 seconds into the period, David Meckler followed on the power play at 10:20, and Oscar Moller made it 3-0 at 17:58. Loktionov assisted on the goals by Meckler and Moller before scoring one of his own late in the third period.
Corey Elkins and defenseman Jake Muzzin posted two assists apiece for the Monarchs, who improved to 8-1-0-0 in their last nine games and maintained a three-point lead on Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division. Manchester totaled 18 goals in a trio of victories this weekend.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff earned the victory with 31 saves on 33 shots.
Defenseman Matt Irwin and forward Jonathan Cheechoo (1-1-2) netted third-period power play goals for the Sharks, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time since setbacks at Norfolk on Oct. 15 and 16.
BRIDGEPORT 3, NORFOLK 0
Bridgeport rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin stymied the AHL’s top-ranked offense, making 40 saves for his second shutout of the year as Bridgeport took a 3-0 win over Norfolk at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Poulin improved to 6-3-0 on the season and collected his second shutout in his last three appearances, following a 29-save showing vs. Portland on Nov. 21.
The Sound Tigers have now earned a point in each of their last five games (3-0-1-1).
The Admirals, who totaled 11 goals in victories the past two days, came into this one averaging a league-best 4.05 goals per game but where shut out for the first time this season.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, SPRINGFIELD 2
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck for two goals in a 29-second span late in the third period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, and an empty-netter gave the Penguins a 4-2 road win over Springfield at the MassMutual Center.
The Pens were less than six minutes from a loss before Nick Johnson potted his fourth goal of the year at 14:48 of the third. Just 29 seconds later, Dustin Jeffrey notched his eighth of the campaign to put Wilkes-Barre on top for good. Bryan Lerg added the empty-net tally in the closing minute.
Jeffrey has a team-best nine goals and 25 points on the season, but this marked just his second game-winner.
Ryan Craig also scored for Wilkes-Barre, which improved to 10-1-0-0 on the road and an East Division-best 17-4-0-0 (34 points) overall.
Rookie Tomas Kubalik registered his eighth and ninth goals for the Falcons, who have dropped four of their last contests (1-4-0-0) and moved back to .500 for the season at 11-11-0-1.
SYRACUSE 3, HAMILTON 2
In his second game of a conditioning stint, Joffrey Lupul scored a power play goal at 12:11 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and send Syracuse to a much-needed 3-2 win over visiting Hamilton at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Syracuse grabbed a 2-0 lead by the game’s midpoint on man-advantage markers by Beleskey in the opening period and Josh Green in the second frame.
Crunch goaltender Timo Pielmeier earned an assist on Green’s second-period goal and then made 43 saves on 45 shots between the pipes as Syracuse brought an end to its seven-game winless skid (0-6-0-1).
Hamilton’s three-game winning streak was also halted.
PEORIA 3, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Peoria overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to wrap up its weekend with a 3-2 road win over Grand Rapids at Van Andel Arena.
The Rivermen extended their points streak to six games (5-0-1-0) and moved within one point of first-place San Antonio in the West Division at 14-7-1-1 (30 points) overall.
Anthony Peluso (first of the season), Phil McRae, and Stefan Della Rovere recorded goals for the Rivermen. Della Rovere’s tally at 6:38 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and turned out to be the game-winner.
Peoria rookie goaltender Jake Allen made 36 saves and improved to 8-1-0 on the year.
MILWAUKEE 5, SAN ANTONIO 3
Milwaukee scored three times in the third period to erase a 3-2 deficit and claim a 5-3 road win over first-place San Antonio on Sunday at the AT&T Center.
Admirals rookie Gabriel Bourque tied the game 11:40 into the third frame, and Linus Klasen’s power play goal at 16:55 – his team-leading 10th tally of the year – proved to be the game-winner. Kelsey Wilson added a late empty-netter.
Milwaukee rookie goaltender Jeremy Smith took the win with 33 stops, as the Admirals wrapped up a 10-game road swing at 5-3-0-2. The Ads host Manitoba on Wednesday for their first game at the Bradley Center since Nov. 7.
PORTLAND 5, PROVIDENCE 1
Two-time AHL All-Star Mark Mancari notched a hat trick and four points as Portland broke out of its funk in convincing style with a 5-1 road win over Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday.
The Pirates halted their season-high three-game losing skid and remained three points back of first-place Manchester in the Atlantic Division with three games in hand.
Mancari, who now paces the Pirates in both goals (11-tied) and points (25), recorded his first hat trick of the season and first two-goal game since scoring twice on Oct. 16 vs. Springfield.
Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth (6-4-0) stopped 33 of 34 shots in the winning effort.
Veteran David Ling initially gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with a power play marker midway through the first period. Providence has now been outscored 9-2 in two straight losses on the heels of a five-game points streak (4-0-1-0).
CONNECTICUT 3, ADIRONDACK 0
Connecticut broke open a scoreless deadlock with three goals in the third period and took a 3-0 win over visiting Adirondack at the XL Center on Sunday.
Whale rookie goaltender Cameron Talbot turned aside all 25 shots he faced to earn his second shutout in five appearances this season (2-2-1). Talbot blanked Providence on 41 shots back on Oct. 17.
The Phantoms’ winless skid stretched to eight games (0-7-1-0), and Adirondack dropped to 3-18-2-0 for the campaign.
CHARLOTTE 5, HERSHEY 2
Charlotte racked up four unanswered goals to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 road win over Hershey on Sunday at the Giant Center.
The Checkers finished an impressive 3-0-0-0 on a three-game road trip, improved to 13-8-1-2 on the season, and moved a point ahead of Norfolk for second place in the East Division, five points shy of first-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy (6-4-2) turned aside 38 of 40 shots in net, including 18 saves during a third-period in which his club was outshot 18-8 but still outscored the Bears 2-0.
Mathieu Perreault notched both goals for the Bears, who are now just 6-6-0-0 on home ice this season.