HOUSTON 5, PEORIA 0
Milan Gajic netted his first career AHL hat trick and Nolan Schaefer, in his first appearance since Feb. 12 due to injury, made 22 saves for his sixth shutout of the season as Houston wrapped up a Calder Cup Playoff berth with a 5-0 blanking of Peoria on Sunday at Carver Arena.
San Antonio and Milwaukee also clinched playoff spots by virtue of Peoria’s loss, and Manchester secured its berth later in the afternoon.
Gajic scored twice in the first 10:52 of the game to make it a 2-0 Aeros lead. After Jonathan Awe lit the lamp late in the opening period, Gajic completed the hat trick just 31 seconds into the middle stanza.
Awe added a third-period goal. Both of his markers came on the power play, as Houston went 3-for-11 on the man-advantage for the afternoon.
Schaefer, a 2008 AHL All-Star, improved his season record to 18-12-0.
PROVIDENCE 3, MANCHESTER 2 (SO)
Manchester clinched the Atlantic Division’s final playoff berth with a standings point against Providence, but ultimately fell to the Bruins in a shootout, 3-2, at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Bruins goaltender Adam Courchaine, also making his pro debut, picked up the win with 21 saves through regulation and overtime. He stopped all four Monarchs tries in the shootout.
The Monarchs are locked into the fourth spot in the Atlantic Division and, after two more regular-season games against Providence next weekend, will open the Calder Cup Playoffs right back at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against the league-leading Bruins.
MILWAUKEE 2, SAN ANTONIO 1
Josh Langfeld’s goal 47 seconds into the second period held up to be the game-winner as Milwaukee took a 2-1 win over visiting San Antonio at the Bradley Center.
John Vigilante opened the game’s scoring for the Admirals with a power play goal at 18:03 of the first period.
Langfeld’s early second-period goal made it 2-0. Rampage winger David Spina cut the deficit in half at 3:34, but neither team scored the rest of the way.
Admirals goaltender Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for his league-leading 35th win of the season (35-23-2).
Both the Admirals and Rampage clinched playoff berths earlier in the afternoon by virtue of Peoria’s 5-0 loss to Houston.
PHILADELPHIA 5, BRIDGEPORT 4
Stefan Ruzicka had a game-high four points (1-3-4) as Philadelphia eked out a 5-4 win over visiting Bridgeport in front of 7,546 fans at the Wachovia Spectrum.
The Phantoms remained tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – which defeated Hershey in overtime – for first place in the East Division heading into the regular season’s final week.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, HERSHEY 3 (OT)
Dave Gove scored at 3:07 of overtime to propel Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 4-3 road win over in-state rival Hershey before 8,801 fans at the Giant Center.
Minard and Filewich each picked up an assist for multiple-point efforts, and All-Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski chipped in two helpers.
Penguins goaltender David Brown picked up the victory with 20 saves on 23 shots, helping his team remain tied with Philadelphia for the East Division’s top spot.
WORCESTER 4, SPRINGFIELD 2
Mike Iggulden broke a 2-2 tie with a power play goal at 9:13 of the third period, and Worcester went on to a 4-2 win over Springfield at the DCU Center.
Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss made 20 saves and improved to 18-21-2 for the season.
HARTFORD 3, LOWELL 2
Hartford built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the third period and held on for a 3-2 win over visiting Lowell at the XL Center.
Hugh Jessiman scored twice for the Wolf Pack, including the eventual game-winner at 8:55 of the third.
Jessiman finished with a team-high eight goals in eight games against the Devils this season, helping Hartford to a 6-1-0-1 mark in the season series.
CHICAGO 3, QUAD CITY 0
Joe Motzko netted a pair of goals and Ondrej Pavelec turned in a 36-save shutout performance as Chicago blanked visiting Quad City in front of 8,216 fans at the Allstate Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Motzko lit the lamp in the second period and again in the third. Defenseman Scott Lehman added a power play marker in the final stanza, as the Wolves went 2-for-4 on the man-advantage.
Pavelec improved his record to 32-14-3 and picked up his second shutout of the season. His 32 wins rank first among AHL rookies and second overall in the league.
HAMILTON 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Matt D’Agostini posted a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Ferland netted the game-winner as Hamilton dropped visiting Grand Rapids by a 3-1 count at Copps Coliseum.
Ferland broke the tie at 10:08 of the final stanza, and D’Agostini added an insurance goal with under four minutes to play.
Hamilton goaltender Cedrick Desjardins made 30 saves in the victory, allowing the Bulldogs to post consecutive wins for the first time since Feb. 24-27.
SYRACUSE 10, ROCHESTER 3
Syracuse scored six times in the third period and rolled on with a 10-3 road win over Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena.
The six third-period goals matched an AHL season high, as Milwaukee scored six times in the second period of an 8-1 win over Quad City on Oct. 24.
The Crunch captured their 11th consecutive victory, a new AHL season high, and extended their franchise-record points streak to 19 games (16-0-0-3).