Battle for first in the Atlantic tonight

On Wednesday, ex-Phantom Maxime Ouellet made 31 saves as Manitoba beat Philadelphia, 3-1… Gerald Coleman stopped 33 shots for Springfield in a 3-0 win over Lowell… Donald MacLean had a pair of goals as Grand Rapids beat Hamilton, 4-3… Carsen Germyn had the winner in Omaha’s 3-2 victory over Peoria.

Wed 12/7
Hershey 4, BRIDGEPORT 1… GRAND RAPIDS 4, Hamilton 3… Springfield 3, LOWELL 0… NORFOLK 4, Albany 3… Manitoba 3, PHILADELPHIA 1… Omaha 3, PEORIA 2

Thu 12/8
No games scheduled

The Atlantic Division co-leaders square off once again as Portland visits Manchester on Friday night (7:35 ET)… The Pirates won each of the teams’ first two meetings, once in a shootout and once on a goal in the final second of regulation… Corey Perry has two goals and three assists in two outings against the Monarchs, and a point in each of his seven AHL games this season… Portland has signed goaltender Dieter Kochan, a member of Houston’s 2003 Calder Cup championship team and a co-winner of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award for team goaltending in 2003-04… Adam Hauser, who had a 12-game unbeaten streak (10-0-2) snapped by Springfield on Dec. 3, has gone to overtime in each of his last nine starts in net for Manchester… Nine of Portland’s last 10 games have been decided by one goal; the tenth was decided by one goal plus an empty-netter; the Monarchs have played a league-leading 18 one-goal games.

Manitoba concludes a quick eastern road swing with a pair of games in Wilkes-Barre this weekend, facing off against the league-leading Penguins… The game pits a pair of former Montreal Canadiens head coaches (and former Calder Cup champions) against each other: the Moose’s Alain Vigneault, and the Pens’ Michel Therrien, who replaced Vigneault behind the Habs bench five years ago… Manitoba forward Craig Darby played for both men when he spent the entire 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons in Montreal… Wilkes-Barre comes into the series still without a regulation loss this season (20-0-2-1), while Manitoba is 7-1-0-1 in its last nine overall… Michel Ouellet, back from his first NHL stint in Pittsburgh, has a 12-game scoring streak in the AHL intact (9g, 14a).

Houston brings the West Division’s best record into a three-game tour of the Great Lakes, with stops in Rochester, Hamilton and Cleveland… The Aeros, who have won nine of their last 12 overall, have been handed just one loss in eight all-time meetings (4-1-3) with the Americans, Friday’s opponent (7:35 ET)… Then Saturday, Houston returns to Copps Coliseum for the first time since June 12, 2003, the night they captured the Calder Cup with a 3-0 Game 7 win over the Bulldogs… Finally, it’s off to the “Q” on Sunday to face the Barons, who lost 7-2 and 5-2 decisions to the Aeros last week… Houston rookie Patrick O’Sullivan recorded three goals and two assists in those wins over Cleveland, and enters the weekend with 14 points in his last 10 games (7g, 7a).

(all times Eastern)
Fri 12/9
Hershey at Binghamton, 7:00… Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05… Lowell at Providence, 7:05… Manitoba at Wilkes-Barre, 7:05… Bridgeport at Norfolk, 7:15… Syracuse at Hamilton, 7:30… Cleveland at Toronto, 7:30… Portland at Manchester, 7:35… Hartford at Springfield, 7:35… Houston at Rochester, 7:35… Grand Rapids at Milwaukee, 8:00… San Antonio at Iowa, 8:05… Peoria at Chicago, 8:30

Sat 12/10
Providence at Albany, 7:00… Houston at Hamilton, 7:00… Philadelphia at Hartford, 7:00… Bridgeport at Hershey, 7:00… Rochester at Binghamton, 7:05… Manchester at Springfield, 7:05… Manitoba at Wilkes-Barre, 7:05… Toronto at Syracuse, 7:30… Portland at Lowell, 7:35… Cleveland at Grand Rapids, 8:00… San Antonio at Omaha, 8:00… Milwaukee at Peoria, 8:00… Chicago at Iowa, 8:05

Sun 12/11
Springfield at Providence, 4:05… Bridgeport at Hershey, 5:00… Houston at Cleveland, 5:05… Rochester at Toronto, 5:05… Peoria at Chicago, 6:00… San Antonio at Omaha, 6:00

Mon 12/12
No games scheduled

Tue 12/13
Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30

On Thursday, 2005 AHL All-Rookie forward Thomas Vanek scored on a third-period penalty shot in Buffalo’s 3-2 overtime win over Anaheim… Pascal Leclaire made 37 saves for Columbus in a 4-3 shootout win over the N.Y. Islanders… On Wednesday, Vitaly Kolesnik made 20 saves in his NHL debut, leading Colorado past Boston, 4-1.

35 — Participants in last year’s AHL All-Star Classic who have played in the National Hockey League this season… Fan balloting to determine the starting lineups for the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Winnipeg is underway now through January 8 on

B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts of nearly every AHL game… Visit for details.