Alex Edler scored twice as Manitoba ran its points streak to five games (2-0-1-2) with a 5-3 win in Toronto on Thursday night… On Wednesday, Darren Haydar extended his scoring streak to 34 games and Brett Sterling made it eight straight games with a goal, but Chicago fell to Houston in a shootout, 4-3… Karri Ramo made 43 stops in Springfield’s 3-1 win over Hartford… Tomas Popperle’s 41-save shutout led Syracuse past Toronto, 4-0… Maxime Daigneault made 37 saves as Hershey upended Philadelphia, 4-1… Former Penguin Matt Murley had a goal and an assist in Albany’s 4-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
ALBANY 4, W-B/Scranton 2… Houston 4, CHICAGO 3 (SO)… HAMILTON 3, Manitoba 2… HERSHEY 4, Philadelphia 1… Manchester 3, LOWELL 1… NORFOLK 6, Providence 3… Milwaukee 4, PEORIA 2… Omaha 4, SAN ANTONIO 3… SPRINGFIELD 3, Hartford 1… SYRACUSE 4, Toronto 0
Manitoba 5, TORONTO 3
After overtaking Rochester for the North Division lead on Wednesday, Hamilton sets out for a busy weekend beginning Friday night when Toronto visits Copps Coliseum… The Bulldogs are on an eight-game points streak (7-0-1-0) and are 19-4-1-1 since Nov. 1… Since the start of November, forwards Andrei Kostitsyn (10g, 15a), Duncan Milroy (10g, 14a) and Mikhail Grabovski (8g, 15a) have combined for 72 points… Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory over Manitoba marked the first time this season that Jaroslav Halak had won a game in which he allowed more than one goal (11-5-0, 1.51, .949)… After Friday’s contest, Hamilton concludes a stretch of five games in six nights with visits to Grand Rapids (Saturday) and Peoria (Sunday).
Manchester also finds itself in first place entering a three-game weekend, with the Monarchs hosting Worcester on Friday before visiting Hartford and entertaining Springfield… Manchester is 12-5-5-1 in its last 23 games, 20 of which have been decided by two goals or fewer… Of the Monarchs’ top 10 scorers this season, nine either qualify as AHL rookies or are under the age of 22… Jason LaBarbera, who has appeared in 18 straight games for Manchester, has a 4.56 GAA and an .879 save percentage in four starts against Worcester this season, compared to 2.08 and .934 against the rest of the AHL… The Sharks’ Mathieu Darche leads all scorers with nine points in four games in the season series with the Monarchs, including a three-goal, two-assist effort in a 6-4 win last Friday.
Fifth-place Iowa can move up the West Division ladder when it takes on Omaha twice and Milwaukee once this weekend… Winners of three in a row, the Stars visit the Civic Auditorium on Friday sitting six points behind the second-place Knights… Joel Lundqvist, Iowa’s top scorer this season, has four goals and an assist in the last three games, and Dan Ellis has earned all three W’s in net after dropping seven of his previous eight decisions… Iowa has outscored its opponents 10-2 in the third period and overtime during the win streak… Omaha forward Andrei Taratukhin, who had two goals in his previous 28 games, scored twice – and added two assists – in Wednesday’s 4-3 win in San Antonio… Curtis McElhinney is 5-1-0 for the Knights in the month of December, but has been pulled in three of his last four starts.
(all times Eastern)
Hershey at Albany, 7:00… Providence at Philadelphia, 7:05… Springfield at Portland, 7:05… Lowell at Norfolk, 7:15… Hartford at Bridgeport, 7:30… Toronto at Hamilton, 7:30… W-B/Scranton at Syracuse, 7:30… Worcester at Manchester, 7:35… Binghamton at Rochester, 7:35… Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 8:00… Iowa at Omaha, 8:00… Houston at San Antonio, 8:00… Chicago at Peoria, 8:30
Binghamton at Albany, 5:00… Hamilton at Grand Rapids, 7:00… Manchester at Hartford, 7:00… Norfolk at Hershey, 7:00… Portland at Worcester, 7:00… Lowell at Philadelphia, 7:05… Bridgeport at Springfield, 7:05… Providence at W-B/Scranton, 7:05… Rochester at Chicago, 8:00… Peoria at Omaha, 8:00… Milwaukee at Iowa, 8:05… Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30… San Antonio at Houston, 8:35
Albany at Bridgeport, 3:00… Providence at Hershey, 5:00… Syracuse at Manitoba, 5:00… Toronto at Binghamton, 5:05… Hartford at Portland, 5:35… Hamilton at Peoria, 6:00… Springfield at Manchester, 6:05… Rochester at Grand Rapids, 7:00… Omaha at Iowa, 8:35
No games scheduled
Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30
On Thursday, former AHL All-Star Robert Esche made 42 saves as Philadelphia snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay… Former AHL All-Star and league MVP Derek Armstrong had three assists as Los Angeles beat Edmonton, 7-4… On Wednesday, Chris Conner scored his first career NHL goal to help Dallas past Colorado, 5-4.
BY THE NUMBERS:
.684 — League-leading points percentage accrued by the Portland Pirates during calendar year 2006, heading into the final weekend of December… Portland is 48-20-3-5 for 104 points in 76 games with three left to play.
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