On Wednesday, 2004 AHL MVP Jason LaBarbera returned to the league and made 33 saves in Manchester’s 3-2 shootout loss to Portland… Chris Minard’s first two career AHL goals lifted Albany past Providence, 3-2… Cody Rudkowsky made 13 of his 41 saves in overtime to help Bridgeport run its points streak to nine games (7-0-0-2) in a 4-3 shootout loss to Hartford… On Thursday, Erik Westrum and Kirby Law each recorded three points for the second straight game as Houston beat Iowa, 6-1.
ALBANY 3, Providence 2… Hershey 3, SPRINGFIELD 0… Portland 3, MANCHESTER 2 (SO)… Hartford 4, BRIDGEPORT 3 (SO)
HOUSTON 6, Iowa 1
Rivals Chicago and Grand Rapids hit the ice at Van Andel Arena on Friday night (7:00 ET) for an important game for both teams… The Griffins, first in the North Division, sport a record of 13-2-1-2 in West Michigan this season as they kick off a six-game homestand… The Wolves, meanwhile, are 5-2-1-2 in their last 10 games and are now just five points out of a playoff spot in the West Division… In the teams’ only previous meeting of 2005-06, Ramzi Abid’s overtime goal gave Chicago a 4-3 road win on New Year’s Eve… Billy Tibbetts has 13 points in 14 games since joining the Wolves last month… Valtteri Filppula is on a nine-game scoring streak for the Griffins (4g, 9a), while Donald MacLean has picked up points in nine of his last 10 contests (9g, 6a).
Peoria has leveled off after a quick start to the season, and a big home-and-home series with Omaha looms this weekend… The Rivermen won nine of their first 11 games in their inaugural AHL campaign, but are 8-13-1-2 since, and trail the fourth-place Knights by three points in the West… Peoria makes its first trip of the year to Omaha on Friday (7:00 CT) after dropping two of three meetings at Carver Arena, site of Saturday’s rematch (8:00 CT)… Rivermen forward Trent Whitfield had a 14-game scoring streak snapped on Jan. 6, but came back with a goal and an assist the next night… Knights rookie Curtis McElhinney has stopped 67 of 71 Peoria shots in two wins this season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton plays three road games in four days this weekend, visiting Norfolk, Hershey and Syracuse… The Penguins are already one shy of matching the franchise record for road wins in one season, with their 15-2-0-1 mark away from home this year… Dany Sabourin, with his sterling 15-1-1 record, 1.78 GAA and .939 save percentage, is back with Wilkes-Barre after making his Pittsburgh debut on Wednesday… Erik Christensen, who had 19 points in nine games for the AHL Pens in October, is also back from Pittsburgh… Wilkes-Barre is 7-0-0-0 against the Admirals this season, including six one-goal wins, heading into Friday’s finale of the season series, and 5-0-0-1 against the Bears entering Saturday’s tilt.
(all times Eastern)
Chicago at Grand Rapids, 7:00… Hershey at Hartford, 7:00… Springfield at Binghamton, 7:05… Providence at Portland, 7:05… Wilkes-Barre at Norfolk, 7:15… Syracuse at Hamilton, 7:30… Lowell at Manchester, 7:35… Albany at Rochester, 7:35… Cleveland at Milwaukee, 8:00… Peoria at Omaha, 8:00… Toronto at San Antonio, 8:00… Philadelphia at Manitoba, 8:30… Iowa at Houston, 8:35
Manchester at Albany, 7:00… Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 7:00… Rochester at Hamilton, 7:00… Portland at Hartford, 7:00… Wilkes-Barre at Hershey, 7:00… Bridgeport at Binghamton, 7:05… Springfield at Syracuse, 7:30… Providence at Lowell, 7:35… Toronto at Chicago, 8:00… Cleveland at Iowa, 8:05… Philadelphia at Manitoba, 8:30… Omaha at Peoria, 9:00
Bridgeport at Lowell, 4:05… Providence at Manchester, 4:05… Norfolk at Hershey, 5:00… Toronto at Milwaukee, 5:00… San Antonio at Houston, 6:05… Hamilton at Rochester, 7:05… Cleveland at Chicago, 8:05
Norfolk at Bridgeport, 1:05… Wilkes-Barre at Syracuse, 2:00
Cleveland at Milwaukee, 8:00… Peoria at San Antonio, 8:00
On Thursday, 1987 Eddie Shore Award winner and former AHL head coach Brad Shaw was named interim head coach of the New York Islanders… Kevin Dallman’s first NHL goal wasn’t enough for St. Louis in a 3-1 loss to Florida… On Wednesday, Kari Lehtonen made 23 saves and stopped all three attempts in the shootout as Atlanta beat Nashville, 4-3.
BY THE NUMBERS:
473 — Career NHL goals scored by Albany River Rats forward Alexander Mogilny, who could make his AHL debut this weekend… No one has ever played an American Hockey League game with that many NHL goals in his resume.
AHL ON B2 NETWORKS:
B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts of nearly every AHL game… Click here for details.