PROVIDENCE 4, MANCHESTER 3 (OT)
After sitting atop the AHL standings nearly all season, the Providence Bruins became the first team to punch their ticket to the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs on Friday with a 4-3 overtime victory at Manchester.
Bruins captain Nate Thompson (pictured) netted the game-winner 4:09 into the extra session, giving the B’s (45-15-3-2) their third consecutive win.
The Bruins, who won the Calder Cup in 1999, will be making their 10th straight postseason appearance.
HARTFORD 4, SAN ANTONIO 0
Mike Ouellette netted a pair of goals and David LeNeveu pitched an 18-save shutout of his former team as Hartford dropped San Antonio by a 4-0 final at the XL Center.
LeNeveu and Gratton joined the Wolf Pack on Feb. 26 in a trade-deadline deal between the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Rangers.
Hartford held a final shots advantage of 34-18, including 17-4 in the first period.
WORCESTER 6, LOWELL 1
Brad Staubitz and Riley Armstrong notched a goal and two assists apiece as Worcester cruised to a 6-1 road win over Lowell at the Tsongas Arena.
Ryan Murphy netted the Devils’ lone goal at 15:37 of the first period.
BINGHAMTON 1, ALBANY 0 (SO)
After a scoreless regulation by both sides, Niko Dimitrakos and Alexander Nikulin tallied shootout goals to give Binghamton a 1-0 win over visiting Albany at the Broome County Arena.
Senators goaltender Brian Elliott earned the shutout, stopping all 36 shots through regulation and overtime, and going 4-for-4 in the shootout.
Despite the shootout defeat, Albany netminder Michael Leighton also received credit for a shutout, his sixth of the campaign and first since Dec. 7.
Leighton made 29 saves and moved to 6-0-2 with a 0.97 GAA in eight games against Binghamton this season.
HERSHEY 5, PHILADELPHIA 3
A three-goal second period sent Hershey on its way to a 5-3 victory over Philadelphia before 10,231 fans at the Wachovia Spectrum.
The teams traded goals in the late stages of the third period to account for the final margin. Bears goaltender Frederic Cassivi made 28 saves in the victory.
The Bears concluded a nine-game road swing at 3-6-0-0 and will return to Giant Center to host Manitoba on Saturday and Sunday.
NORFOLK 4, PORTLAND 3
Rob Klinkhammer and Adam Henrich posted a goal and an assist apiece, and Norfolk held on for a 4-3 win over visiting Portland at the Scope.
After the teams traded first-period goals, the Admirals received goals in the middle stanza from former Pirate Brandon Segal, Klinkhammer, and Henrich.
Admirals goaltender Marc Denis backstopped the win with 43 saves on 46 shots. Portland held a 46-21 advantage in shots, including 24-8 in the third period alone.
The Pirates and Admirals will square off for a rematch on Saturday night.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, BRIDGEPORT 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 3:40 mark of the second period and cruised to its sixth straight win, a 4-1 decision over Bridgeport at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Paul Bissonnette posted a goal and a helper for the Penguins, who also received goals from Nathan Smith, Tim Wallace, and Jon D’Aversa. Jonathan Filewich picked up three assists, and Tim Brent chipped in a pair of helpers.
Colton Fretter lit the lamp for the Sound Tigers, who are 0-3-0-1 in their last four games.
SYRACUSE 3, ROCHESTER 0
Red-hot Syracuse rolled on with a 3-0 win over division-rival Rochester at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Crunch goaltender Dan LaCosta earned his first shutout of the season with 33 saves on the night. LaCosta has stopped 77 of 78 (.987) shots over his last two games.
Syracuse improved to 7-0-0-2 in its last nine games and 11-1-0-4 in its last 16. The Crunch have not allowed more than two goals in any of their last nine contests.
MILWAUKEE 3, PEORIA 2
Matt Ellison’s second goal and third point of the night at 12:23 of the third period propelled Milwaukee to a 3-2 win over Peoria at the Bradley Center.
The Admirals matched a season high with their fifth straight win and moved within three points of San Antonio for third place in the West Division, four points up on fifth place Houston.
IOWA 4, QUAD CITY 1
Iowa continued to climb back into the West Division playoff picture with a 4-1 road win over Quad City on Friday at the I Wireless Center.
Iowa scored three goals in the third period and now has seven third-period markers over its last two contests.
The Stars moved to 5-1-1-0 in their last seven games and climbed ahead of Quad City for seventh place in the tight West Division. Iowa is currently just five points out of a possible playoff spot.
Carsen Germyn scored for the Flames, who saw their losing streak extend to five games.
CHICAGO 6, LAKE ERIE 3
AHL leading scorer Jason Krog posted a four-point night (1-3-4) as Chicago doubled up Lake Erie by a 6-3 final on Friday at the Allstate Arena.
Brian Fahey, Jesse Schultz, and Grant Lewis rounded out Chicago’s offense, and rookie goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves in the win. Pavelec leads all AHL rookies with 28 wins on the campaign (28-9-2).
Chicago captured its fourth straight victory and improved to 15-1-1-2 in its last 19 contests.