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Western Conference notebook

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The Wolves, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season, make their only trip to New England with games this weekend in Providence and Manchester… Friday’s game against the Bruins will be a match-up of the league’s top two teams in the standings… Second-year pro Brett Sterling has notched 13 goals in 14 games this season (13-7-20) and has not gone more than two straight contests without scoring… Jesse Schultz’s AHL career-high six-game scoring streak (2-6-8) ended in Chicago’s 3-2 loss to Syracuse on Tuesday.
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After starting the season with seven straight regulation losses at home, the Griffins are 2-0-0-1 in their last three at Van Andel Arena, most recently a 3-2 victory over Lake Erie on Wednesday… The win also gave Grand Rapids consecutive victories for the first time since Oct. 24-27… Goaltender Jimmy Howard has stopped 42 of 44 shots (.954 save percentage) over the two straight wins… The Griffins will play 10 home games in December – their most in any month since joining the AHL in 2001.
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Hamilton has played just 19 games thus far, tied with Worcester for the fewest in the AHL… The Bulldogs host Binghamton and Milwaukee this weekend to conclude a five-game homestand… Following this weekend, Hamilton will play six straight on the road, where it is an even 4-4-0-0 thus far… Goaltender Jaroslav Halak, center Maxim Lapierre, and defenseman Ryan O’Byrne were all recalled by parent-club Montreal this week… Sergei Kostitsyn, who is tied for sixth among rookies with 19 points overall (5-14-19), has been held without a point in two straight games for the first time this season.
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Defenseman Maxim Noreau’s first professional goal was the overtime game-winner in the Aeros’ 1-0 victory over Peoria on Nov. 30… Noreau added his second goal the following night against Grand Rapids… Goaltender Nolan Schaefer posted Houston’s first shutout of the season in that win over Peoria on Nov. 30, stopping all 26 shots he faced… Schaefer has won three straight starts, with a 1.32 GAA over that span… The Aeros kick off a seven-game road swing with a pair of games at Manitoba this weekend.
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Goaltender Tobias Stephan went 3-0-0 with a 1.34 GAA in the three games prior to allowing four goals in a 4-3 loss to Manitoba on Tuesday… Janos Vas’ three-game goal-scoring streak (3-1-4) was snapped in that same game… Junior Lessard had a point in four straight outings (2-3-5) prior to being recalled by parent-club Dallas on Wednesday… The Stars will play a pair of games in San Antonio this weekend, followed by two in Milwaukee next week.
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Rookie forward T.J. Hensick made his NHL debut for Colorado on Dec. 1 and scored a goal in the Avalanche’s 5-2 win at Los Angeles… Hensick was Lake Erie’s leading scorer (5-8-13) prior to his recall… Goaltender Jason Bacashihua has started eight games for the Monsters since being acquired on Nov. 8, and seven of those games have resulted in 30-plus save performances… Bacashihua has made exactly 42 saves in each of his last three starts (2-1-0).
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The Moose have gone 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games since falling to 7-5-1-0 with a loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 9… Jason Jaffray’s two-goal effort in Tuesday’s 4-3 win at Iowa gave him three goals and four points in his last two games… Manitoba plays 12 games this December, a month in which the club has never suffered a losing record since joining the AHL… The Moose will welcome three teams to the MTS Centre for two-game sets over the next three Fridays and Saturdays… Houston will be in town this weekend, followed by Lake Erie (Dec. 14-15) and Hamilton (Dec. 21-22).
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Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Grand Rapids was the second time this season that Admirals goaltender Pekka Rinne has been on the short side of a 1-0 loss… Milwaukee also lost to Iowa by that score on Oct. 30 with Rinne between the pipes… Overall, the Admirals went 1-1-0-1 last week, and all three of their standings points were earned in games where they trailed after two periods… Milwaukee makes its only visits of the season to Hamilton and Toronto this weekend.
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The Rivermen were the last AHL team to surrender a power play goal on the road this season, killing their first 51 shorthanded situations before Houston notched a power play goal in overtime on Nov. 30… Peoria has earned a standings point in five straight games (3-0-2-0) and is now 5-2-2-1 on the road this season… They will begin a season-high five-game homestand with games against Quad City on both Friday and Saturday… Charles Linglet scored his 50th career AHL goal in the club’s 6-5 win at San Antonio on Dec. 1.
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Rookie defenseman Brad Cole scored his first professional goal in the Flames’ 3-2 loss to Manitoba on Dec. 1… Leading scorer Grant Stevenson (8-11-19) registered at least one point in all three games last week (1-4-5)… Since Krys Kolanos joined the club for its Nov. 15 game, Quad City is 5-1-0-0 when he records a point and 0-3-0-0 when he is held scoreless… The Flames begin a five-game road swing this weekend at Peoria… Quad City is 6-4-0-1 on the road this season and just 4-7-1-1 at the I Wireless Center.
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After missing 12 games with a separated shoulder, center Drew Larman returned to the Amerks’ lineup on Nov. 30 at Manchester and posted a goal and an assist in the club’s 3-1 victory… The next night, the Americans dropped a 5-1 decision in Providence, a game in which Rochester-area native Chris Collins potted a goal for the P-Bruins… Parent-club Florida has returned right wing Anthony Stewart to Rochester… Stewart ranks third on the Amerks with 17 points (7-10-17) in 16 games.
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Each of Rockford’s last three games has extended to a shootout, and the IceHogs dropped the first two before posting a 2-1 win over Syracuse on Wednesday… Overall, Rockford is 2-3 in shootouts this season… Goaltender Corey Crawford registered the IceHogs’ first-ever AHL shutout on Nov. 28 against Houston, making 20 saves in a 3-0 victory… Rockford had scored a power play goal in 11 straight games (18-for 71, 25.4%) prior to going 0-for-8 in Wednesday’s victory over the Crunch… Kris Versteeg has a point in five straight games played (3-4-7).
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The Rampage had their best November in team history this season, posting an 8-4-1-1 record for 18 points… San Antonio is 10-2-1-1 when scoring four or more goals and 13-2-0-0 when holding opponents to three or fewer goals… San Antonio leads the league with 88 goals scored, and the club has netted at least four in six of its last seven games… Joey Tenute (3-4-7) and Joel Perrault (4-2-6) each have four-game scoring streaks, and David Spina has a point in six of his last seven outings (1-6-7).
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Syracuse forward Derek MacKenzie, a former Chicago Wolves captain who spent the first six seasons of his pro career with the club, scored a goal in his return to the Allstate Arena on Tuesday… MacKenzie finished with two goals in two games against his former team, as he also scored when the Crunch hosted Chicago on Nov. 9… Syracuse’s season-high three-game winning streak came to an end with a 2-1 shootout loss at Rockford on Wednesday… The Crunch continue a seven-game road swing this weekend with their first two match-ups of the season with Grand Rapids, against whom they went 2-1-0-1 in 2006-07.
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Rookie defenseman Anton Stralman has 10 assists in 16 games for the Marlies this season, and he has also suited up in seven games for the NHL’s Maple Leafs… Ben Ondrus scored twice in last Sunday’s 4-2 win over Philadelphia, a game that featured a pair of division leaders from opposite conferences… Toronto is 0-3 in shootouts this season, and rookie goaltender Justin Pogge has been between the pipes for all three contests… Pogge is 3-0-1 in his last four decisions overall… David Ling’s 18 assists (5-18-23) are good for a share of fifth in the league in that category.