HERSHEY 3, PHILADELPHIA 2
Kyle Wilson netted a pair of goals as Hershey clinched its second East Division title in the last three seasons with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia on Saturday before 10,705 fans at the Giant Center. The first-place Bears will meet the fourth-place Phantoms in the division semifinals beginning next week.
Wilson opened the game’s scoring on the power play at 13:25 of the first period and then made it 2-0 with his 28th of the season just 1:43 into the second frame.
The Phantoms cut the deficit in half when 2008 first-round draft pick Luca Sbisa scored his first professional goal on the power play at 2:47 of the second.
It remained a 2-1 game into the third period until Bears defenseman Staffan Kronwall extended it to 3-1 at the 14:49 mark. That goal would prove to be the game-winner when Philadelphia rookie Patrick Maroon lit the lamp on the power play with 1:26 to go in regulation.
Hershey is 49-22-2-6 (106 points) heading into its regular-season finale against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday evening.
BRIDGEPORT 3, LOWELL 1
Bridgeport clinched second place in the East Division with a 3-1 win over Lowell in its regular-season finale in front of 7,122 fans at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Bridgeport goaltender Peter Mannino stopped 22 of 23 shots in the winning effort to finish 17-12-2 for his rookie season.
The Sound Tigers conclude the regular season at 49-23-3-5 (106 points), setting franchise records in both wins and points. Bridgeport was eliminated from division title contention when Hershey beat Philadelphia, and the Sound Tigers will take on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the opening round of the playoffs.
NORFOLK 4, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3
Norfolk surrendered the game’s first two goals, scored the next four, and then held on for a 4-3 road win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Wachovia Arena in its season finale.
Juraj Simek registered two assists for the Admirals, and goaltender Craig Kowalski secured the win with 32 saves in net. Norfolk ended its season on a three-game winning streak and finished two points ahead of Albany for sixth place in the East Division.
PORTLAND 5, MANCHESTER 4
AHL Rookie of the Year Nathan Gerbe netted a pair of goals as Portland clinched third place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-4 road win over Manchester at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Pirates will square off with second-place Providence in the Atlantic Division semifinals beginning next week in Rhode Island.
Trevor Lewis registered a game-high three points (1-2-3) for the Monarchs, who missed the playoffs for the first time in their eight-year history.
WORCESTER 3, PROVIDENCE 0
Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss finally collected his first career AHL shutout on Saturday, making 23 saves as the Sharks downed Providence by a 3-0 count in both teams’ regular-season finale. Attendance at the DCU Center was 7,406.
A third-year pro for Worcester, Greiss had gone his first 140 appearances without registering a shutout. Saturday’s win also allowed Greiss to finish with 30 wins on the season (30-24-2).
Worcester will square off with Hartford in one Atlantic Division semifinal, while Providence draws Portland in the other.
HARTFORD 5, SPRINGFIELD 3
Hartford broke a 3-3 tie with a pair of third-period goals and emerged with a 5-3 win over Springfield on Saturday before 7,171 fans at the XL Center.
Hartford goaltender Matt Zaba stopped 22 of 25 shots to finish his rookie regular season at 25-10-0. The Wolf Pack went 8-1-0-1 against Springfield on the campaign.
HAMILTON 2, TORONTO 1 (OT)
Defenseman Mathieu Carle scored 3:46 into overtime as Hamilton wrapped up the regular season with a 2-1 road win over Toronto on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
Rookie David Desharnais scored in the second period and picked up the lone assist on the game-winner for the Bulldogs, who will face Grand Rapids in the division semifinals beginning next weekend.
Hamilton won five straight games to close the regular season and finished 49-27-4-0 for 102 points, matching its franchise record for victories. The Bulldogs also won 49 games in the 2002-03 season.
Marlies forward Bates Battaglia sent the game to overtime with a power play goal at 19:48 of the third period. Toronto will square off with Manitoba in the first round of the playoffs.
MANITOBA 4, LAKE ERIE 1
Manitoba halted a four-game winless skid (0-3-1-0) and ended the regular season with a 4-1 road win over Lake Erie before an AHL season-high crowd of 17,627 fans at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
It marked the second consecutive night that a new AHL single-game attendance high was established, following Friday’s crowd of 17,380 at the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia.
The Moose concluded the regular season at 50-23-1-6 (107 points) and will open their North Division semifinal series against Toronto on Wednesday.
ALBANY 3, BINGHAMTON 2
Albany scored three times in the first period and held on for a 3-2 win over visiting Binghamton at the Times Union Center.
Greg Mauldin netted a first-period goal for Binghamton, and after a scoreless middle period, Peter Regin brought the Sens within 3-2 at 1:36 of the third. But they could not find the equalizer and ended the season on a 5-7-0-1 slide.
SYRACUSE 4, ROCHESTER 2
Syracuse doubled up intra-state rival Rochester by a 4-2 count on Saturday in both teams’ season finale before 6,106 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Tim Miller scored in his professional debut for the Crunch, while Michael Blunden, Derek MacKenzie, and Alexandre Picard also found the back of the net. Picard’s marker went into a vacated goal in the game’s closing minute.
Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta earned the victory with 23 saves on 25 shots.
PEORIA 5, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Peoria parlayed a three-goal third period into a 5-2 win over visiting Grand Rapids on Saturday at Carver Arena.
Rivermen goaltender Manny Legace earned the win with 32 saves on 34 shots.
CHICAGO 5, ROCKFORD 2
Chicago racked up four goals in the first period en route to a 5-2 win over Rockford in its season finale before a crowd of 16,019 fans at Allstate Arena on Saturday.
Wolves goaltender Brent Krahn earned the win with 33 saves, finishing the year at 6-6-0 in 13 appearances for Chicago.
Akim Aliu netted both goals for the IceHogs in the losing effort. Rockford will play either Milwaukee or Peoria in the first round of the playoffs, depending on how Houston fares in its season finale vs. San Antonio on Sunday.
SAN ANTONIO 4, HOUSTON 2
San Antonio scored four unanswered goals to double up Houston by a 4-2 count in front of 8,265 fans at the AT&T Center on Saturday.
San Antonio goaltender Josh Tordjman stopped 19 of 21 shots to finish the campaign at 25-21-2. The Rampage take a six-game winning streak into its season finale at Houston on Sunday. The Rampage have captured 10 of their last 11 contests (10-1-0-0).
Houston remains one point back of Rockford for third place in the West Division heading into its season finale on Sunday, also vs. San Antonio. The third-place team draws Peoria in the first round of the playoffs, while the fourth-place squad will square off with Milwaukee.
Quad City goaltender Matt Keetley secured the victory with 22 saves on 25 shots.