HERSHEY 5, PHILADELPHIA 2
Hershey officially clinched the 16th and final berth in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs with a 5-2 victory over cross-state rival Philadelphia on Saturday before 9,714 fans at the Giant Center.
Andrew Gordon netted a pair of goals in the victory for the Bears, who will return to the playoffs after winning the 2006 Calder Cup and reaching the Finals again in 2007.
But Gordon tallied both of his goals before the opening period was over, making it a 2-2 game. Jason Morgan and Ryan Flinn scored in the second period for Hershey, and Jay Beagle added a third-period marker.
Bears goaltender Daren Machesney stopped 38 of 40 shots and improved to 22-10-2 on the season.
Philadelphia’s loss also ensured that it will finish second in the East Division and meet Albany in the first round of the playoffs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which clinched the division title, has a first-round date with Hershey.
NORFOLK 3, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2 (OT)
Rookie Paul Szczechura netted the game-winner 41 seconds into overtime as Norfolk ended its season with a 3-2 road win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Wachovia Arena.
Admirals leading scorer Kyle Wanvig forced overtime by scoring his 23rd goal of the season with 2:25 left in regulation, making it a 2-2 game.
The Penguins initially took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Nathan Smith and Dave Gove. Despite the loss, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton clinched its second East Division title in the last three years and will open the playoffs against Hershey.
SYRACUSE 1, BINGHAMTON 0
Joakim Lindstrom netted the game’s lone goal on the power play at 16:07 of the third period as Syracuse surged into second place in the North Division with a 1-0 win over Binghamton before 6,289 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
The Crunch extended their franchise-record winning streak to 14 games, the longest in the AHL since Philadelphia set a league record with a 17-game run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 28, 2004.
Syracuse also upped its points streak to 22 games (19-0-0-3) and improved to 23-1-0-5 in their last 29 contests.
Crunch goaltender Adam Munro stopped all 31 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout of the campaign.
Entering the regular season’s final day, Syracuse sits one point up on Manitoba for second place and home-ice advantage in the teams’ upcoming first-round playoff series.
GRAND RAPIDS 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
Evan McGrath lit the lamp 2:18 into overtime to give Grand Rapids a 3-2 win over Manitoba and a sweep of the teams’ two-game set at Van Andel Arena. Attendance for the Griffins’ season finale was 9,563.
Griffins goaltender Jimmy Howard finished with 23 saves in the victory.
The loss, combined with Syracuse’s victory, dropped the Moose one point behind the Crunch in the race for second place in the North Division.
TORONTO 6, ROCHESTER 2
David Ling was one of three Toronto skaters to post a goal and an assist, and rookie Jiri Tlusty had a goal and two assists for his third straight multiple point game as the Marlies posted a 6-2 win over visiting Rochester on Saturday afternoon before 7,140 fans at Ricoh Coliseum. Toronto totaled four first-period goals on its way to the victory.
Ling, Foster, Newbury, and John Mitchell all scored in the first 12:55 of the game for the Marlies.
The teams then exchanged goals over the final 40 minutes. Harrison and Tlusty lit the lamp for the Marlies, and Rochester received its goals from Dan Collins and Brady Calla, who netted the first goal of his professional career.
Newbury and Harrison finished with a goal and a helper for Toronto. Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge picked up the victory with 24 saves in 26 shots, improving the second-year pro’s season record to 26-10-4.
The victory allowed Toronto to remain tied with Chicago, which also won on Saturday, for the overall Western Conference lead heading into the final day of the regular season.
HARTFORD 5, BRIDGEPORT 2
Rookie Artem Anisimov posted a goal and two assists as Hartford ended Bridgeport’s playoff hopes with a 5-2 win over the Sound Tigers before 6,536 fans at the XL Center.
The Sound Tigers needed a pair of wins and a pair of Hershey regulation losses over the regular season’s final two days to qualify for the playoffs.
Hugh Jessiman had a goal and a helper in the victory, while Michael Sauer, Lauri Korpikoski, and Mitch Fritz also lit the lamp. Fritz’s goal was his first since Jan. 20, 2006, as a member of the Springfield Falcons.
Wolf Pack goaltender David LeNeveu (17-10-5) made 27 saves and improved to 6-0-2 in his last eight outings.
SPRINGFIELD 3, PORTLAND 2 (OT)
2008 AHL All-Star Rob Schremp scored a power play goal 3:46 into overtime to give Springfield a 3-2 win over Portland in its home finale at the MassMutual Center.
Falcons goaltender Jeff Deslauriers made 23 saves in the win, which assured Springfield (35-34-5-5) of no worse than a .500 finish to the campaign.
PROVIDENCE 3, MANCHESTER 0
T.J. Trevelyan snapped a scoreless tie with 3:08 left in regulation and Providence went on to a 3-0 road win over Manchester in front of 9,932 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Bruins goaltender Kevin Regan, a South Boston native and University of New Hampshire product, turned in a 23-save shutout in his professional debut.
The Bruins and Monarchs will meet in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, beginning next week.
WORCESTER 4, LOWELL 1
Worcester scored four straight goals after allowing the game’s first tally on its way to a 4-1 win over visiting Lowell at the DCU Center.
Ryan Murphy gave the Devils a 1-0 lead just 33 seconds after the opening face-off, notching his ninth goal of the campaign.
HAMILTON 4, LAKE ERIE 1
2008 AHL All-Star Corey Locke netted a pair of goals and added an assist to lead Hamilton over Lake Erie by a 4-1 count in front of 15,408 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Wyatt Smith netted the Monsters’ lone goal on the power play at 13:24 of the third period.
PEORIA 4, IOWA 1
Peoria tallied three goals in the third period and posted a 4-1 victory over visiting Iowa at Carver Arena.
After a scoreless first period, Peoria’s Martin Kariya put his team on top with a shorthanded marker at 7:24 of the second.
Marty Sertich tied it for Iowa on the power play 1:58 of the third period, giving him five goals in his last three games.
Rivermen goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 23 saves in the winning effort.
QUAD CITY 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
David Van der Gulik netted a pair of third-period goals and assisted on Quad City’s other marker as the Flames took a 3-2 road win over San Antonio before 6,654 fans at the AT&T Center.
Van der Gulik tallied the equalizer at 9:43 of the third and followed with the game-winner just 54 seconds later, at 10:37.
Flames goaltender Curtis McElhinney (19-18-2) secured the win with 29 saves on 31 shots.
CHICAGO 7, ROCKFORD 1
American Hockey League MVP Jason Krog tallied a game-high five points (1-4-5) and Second-Team AHL All-Star Joel Kwiatkowski netted a pair of goals as Chicago ran away with a 7-1 win over Rockford at the Allstate Arena.
Krog’s five points matched a personal season high, as he notched two goals and three assists in a 7-4 win over Peoria on Dec. 19.
The win kept the Wolves tied with Toronto for the overall Western Conference lead at 109 points apiece. The Marlies had won an afternoon affair over Rochester.
HOUSTON 3, MILWAUKEE 2
Houston jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the game’s mid-point and held on for a 3-2 win over Milwaukee in front of 11,831 fans at the Toyota Center.
Houston’s Colton Gillies, selected 16th overall by Minnesota in the 2007 draft, tallied his first professional goal and added an assist in the winning effort.
The Houston victory set up a three-way tie between the Aeros, Milwaukee, and San Antonio for third place in the West Division entering the final day of the season. All three teams are just two points back of second-place Rockford.