East Notes: Monarchs, Pirates on fire

Also see… West Notes

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Adirondack is 14-7-1-3 since Dec. 17 and shows a 12-7-1-3 mark since Joe Paterson took over as head coach… The Phantoms, who have occupied last place in the East Division all season, are now tied with Syracuse for seventh place and just one point back of sixth-place Albany… 2011 AHL All-Star defenseman Erik Gustafsson snapped an 18-game goal-scoring drought with his fifth of the season on Saturday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Mike Testwuide has recorded six points (4-2-6) in his last six games… Adirondack hosts Connecticut and Charlotte this weekend before a Sunday afternoon trip to Albany.
 
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Albany played an unusual stretch of three straight road games at Charlotte last week and came away with a pair of victories, with rookie Adam Henrique nabbing the game-winning goal on both occasions… The Devils had been shut out in their last two games before arriving in Charlotte but totaled nine goals in the three contests… Henrique’s 16 goals for the season (16-15-31) put him into a three-way tie for the team lead along with Matt Anderson (16-19-35) and Michael Swift (16-12-28)… Dave Caruso has made four straight starts in net and posted a 37-save shutout on Tuesday… Albany hosts Worcester and Adirondack this weekend, with a Saturday visit to Binghamton in between.
 
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Binghamton has matched a season high with its current four-game winning streak, and the Senators are an impressive 13-5-1-1 since the calendar turned to 2011… AHL leading scorer Corey Locke (17-51-68) is now riding a six-game scoring streak (1-8-9), and defenseman Derek Smith has netted a goal in three of his last four outings (4-0-4)… Smith (9-28-36) and teammate Andre Benoit (6-31-37) both rank among the league’s top six scoring rearguards thus far… Bobby Butler, now on NHL recall to Ottawa, continues to lead AHL rookies with 22 goals (22-11-33)… The B-Sens host Charlotte and Albany this weekend.
 
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Bridgeport earned a point for the first time in 10 games with Wednesday’s 4-3 shootout loss at Springfield, but the Sound Tigers still have just one victory in 19 games since Dec. 31 (1-14-2-2)… Justin DiBenedetto has carried the offense of late with a goal in eight of his last 11 contests (9-2-11), and the second-year pro shows more goals during this 11-game stretch than he scored in 67 games all of last season (6-8-14)… Eric Castonguay has recorded three points (2-1-3) in three games since joining Bridgeport’s lineup… Bridgeport enjoys Friday night off before visiting Hershey on Saturday and hosting Manchester on Sunday.
 
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Charlotte suffered its third shutout of the season on Tuesday in a 3-0 home-ice loss to Albany… The Checkers picked up three of a possible six points (1-1-1-0) in their three-game set with the Devils and now embark on a four-game road trip which begins with weekend tilts in Binghamton, Adirondack, and Hershey… Charlotte is 15-8-1-0 on the road for the year… Defenseman Brett Carson, who missed Tuesday’s contest vs. Albany due to NHL recall, is on a three-game scoring streak (2-2-4), and goaltender Mike Murphy brings a personal four-game winning streak into the weekend… Despite the recent shutout, the Checkers’ offense still ranks second in the AHL (3.44 goals per game).
 
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Connecticut bounced back from a 9-2 shellacking at Toronto on Feb. 9 with road wins over Hamilton and Providence to close the week… The Whale will enter this weekend with a one-point lead over Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s final guaranteed playoff entry… Brodie Dupont has netted a goal in three straight games (3-2-5) and shows a point in seven of his last eight outings (4-6-10)… Dale Weise has found the scoresheet in each of his last six games (4-5-9) for the Whale… After a Friday visit to Adirondack, Connecticut will host Providence on Saturday night in the Harvest-Properties.com “Whale Bowl” at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.
 
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Hershey rebounded from back-to-back losses on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory at Norfolk… The Bears, who were making their first trip of the season to Virginia, improved to 3-0-0-0 against the Admirals in 2010-11… Keith Aucoin moved into a tie for the league lead with his sixth game-winning goal, and Aucoin now ranks fifth in the AHL with 54 points (15-39-54) despite being limited to 37 games thus far due to a month-long injury absence… Kyle Greentree has registered a point in six of his last eight outings (3-3-6) for the Bears, and defenseman Dylan Yeo shows 1-2-3 in his last three tilts… Hershey visits Rochester on Friday before hosting Bridgeport and Charlotte to close the weekend.
 
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Manchester has earned a point in nine of his last 10 games (6-1-0-3) but still holds just a one-point edge on red-hot Portland for first place in the Atlantic Division… The Monarchs’ lone regulation loss in this stretch came to the Pirates, as they dropped a 3-1 decision last Friday… Second-year pro Dwight King has heated up with 5-3-8 totals in his last eight games, and rookie Brandon Kozun shows three goals in his last two games after totaling just two scores in his previous 15 contests… Oscar Moller recorded his third effort of three points or greater this season with a goal and two assists in Sunday’s 5-3 win over Springfield… The Monarchs visit Springfield on Friday, host Portland on Saturday, and travel to Bridgeport on Sunday.
 
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Prior to last weekend’s back-to-back shutouts of Syracuse by goaltenders Mike Smith and Dustin Tokarski, the Admirals had not recorded consecutive whitewashes by two different goaltenders since Jan. 24-25, 2003, when Craig Anderson and Steve Passmore blanked Philadelphia and Hershey, respectively… Smith’s 29-save shutout on Friday was his first AHL shutout since a 31-save effort vs. San Antonio on Feb. 24, 2006, while a member of the Iowa Stars… Marc-Antoine Pouliot now boasts 46 points (15-31-46) in 45 games, more than anyone on the Admirals totaled all of last season… Norfolk, which is one point back of Charlotte for third place in the division, hosts front-running Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a pair of games this weekend.
 
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Portland has won four straight games and is 15-4-0-0 in its last 19 outings to pull within one point of first-place Manchester in the Atlantic Division… The Pirates have outscored opponents 13-3 in their last two games, collecting a 6-3 win at Bridgeport on Sunday and a 7-0 pounding of Providence at home on Wednesday… Second-year defenseman T.J. Brennan notched a goal in three straight games (3-3-6) from Feb. 6-13, and his 23 points (8-15-23) through 48 games match the 23 points he put up in 65 games as a rookie last year… Mark Mancari (30-28-58) became the first AHL player to reach 30 goals in 2010-11 on Wednesday… The Pirates visit Providence and Manchester this weekend.
 
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Providence has been outscored 34-10 during its current seven-game losing skid, including 19-3 over the past three contests… The Bruins went on a 7-1-0-0 run from Jan. 15-28 but are just 1-8-0-0 in nine games since… Second-year pro Jamie Arniel continues to lead the Bruins in goals (15) and points (32), both of which are career highs… Former first-round draft pick Zach Hamill, who has 3-25-28 in 45 games with Providence, recorded one assist in three games with parent-club Boston before returning to the AHL earlier this week… The Bruins look to halt their skid when they host Portland on Friday, and then Providence battles Connecticut outdoors on Saturday before returning to clash with Worcester on Sunday.
 
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Springfield moved to 3-0 in its last three shootouts on Wednesday with a 4-3 victory over Bridgeport… That pulled the Falcons back to .500 and within five points of Connecticut for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division… Kyle Wilson tallied another goal on Wednesday and has now recorded seven goals and 13 points in just 11 games since joining the Falcons from parent-club Columbus… Trevor Smith has registered three goals and four points in his last three games… Tomas Kubalik is now tied for the AHL rookie lead with 36 points (17-19-36) in 53 outings… Springfield continues a four-game homestand with weekend match-ups against Manchester and Worcester.
 
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Syracuse fell to 1-6-0-0 against Adirondack this season with a 4-2 loss on Wednesday after holding a 2-1 lead late in the third period… The Crunch posted a 5-1-0-0 mark in last year’s season series between the in-state rivals… Ex-Phantom Patrick Maroon netted a goal in the loss and now shows 3-1-4 in six contests against his former club this season… Former AHL All-Rookie goaltender Ray Emery is with the Crunch, and when he makes his debut he will become just Syracuse’s third goaltender to appear in a game all year, joining Jean-Philippe Levasseur and Timo Pielmeier… Only four other clubs – Charlotte, Manitoba, Rochester, and Rockford – have made it to this point without employing more than two goaltenders.
 
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Last weekend, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton followed up a 1-0 shutout loss to last-place Adirondack on Saturday with a 7-1 win on Sunday over a Hershey club which entered 10-1-0-1 in its previous 12 contests… The seven goals marked the Penguins’ greatest offensive output since recording a 9-2 win over Albany on Feb. 17, 2010… Wilkes-Barre achieved that feat despite the fact that each of the club’s top seven scorers were on NHL recall to Pittsburgh at the time… After going 2-9-0-1 against Hershey in 2009-10, Wilkes-Barre holds a 5-1-0-0 in the series this year… Ben Street has notched five goals and seven points in his last six games… The Penguins visit Norfolk for a two-game set this weekend.
 
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After posting back-to-back shutouts in its previous two games, Worcester surrendered six goals in a 6-4 loss at Rochester on Wednesday, ending the Sharks’ five-game winning streak… Worcester remains one point out of a guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division race… AHL All-Star defenseman Justin Braun has an assist in four straight games and a point in five of his last six (2-4-6)… Forward Brandon Mashinter has put together a season-high four-game scoring streak (2-3-5), and Andrew Desjardins boasts 4-3-7 in his last seven outings… The Sharks wrap up a five-game road swing with weekend battles in Albany, Springfield, and Providence.