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Familiar foes in Friday’s face-offs

LOOKING BACK:
On Wednesday, Norfolk’s Andy Hilbert, Milwaukee’s Kris Beech and Houston’s Patrick O’Sullivan recorded hat tricks to help their teams to victory… On Thursday, San Antonio’s Karl Goehring replaced Brian Boucher after overtime and improved his career shootout record to 8-0 by shutting down Cleveland in the 30,000th regular-season game in AHL history.

Wed 11/30
NORFOLK 5, Binghamton 4… HERSHEY 5, Bridgeport 3… MILWAUKEE 4, Peoria 2… HOUSTON 7, Cleveland 2… MANITOBA 4, Hamilton 3 (SO)

Thu 12/1
SAN ANTONIO 1, Cleveland 0 (SO)… Grand Rapids 4, OMAHA 3 (SO)

LOOKING AHEAD:
In what might be its toughest stretch of the season to date, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton brings its 20-game points streak into road battles against division rivals Norfolk (Friday, Saturday) and Hershey (Sunday)… The Penguins are 11-0-0-0 on the road this season, outscoring its hosts, 50-23… Marc-Andre Fleury remains on NHL recall to Pittsburgh, but Dany Sabourin has won his first eight decisions in 2005-06… Tomas Surovy is the leading scorer among active Pens, and has six goals in his last four games… Norfolk’s leading scorer Martin St. Pierre has recorded 17 of his 19 points this season on home ice… Bears rookie Eric Fehr enters the weekend with 15 points in his last eight games… Wilkes-Barre’s first trip to Hershey this season ended in a 4-3 shootout win on Oct. 9.

Manchester sits in first place in the Atlantic Division, but its three nearest pursuers will each get a crack at the leaders in a 48-hour span… The Monarchs host third-place Hartford on Friday and fourth-place Springfield on Saturday before a Sunday visit to Portland, which comes into the weekend tied with the Monarchs at 31 points… Manchester is on a 9-0-0-2 roll, requiring overtime in nine of those 11 games, and is 14-1-0-3 since losing its first two games of the year… Brad Smyth, with 299 career AHL goals, became the Monarchs’ leading active scorer when Jeff Tambellini was recalled by Los Angeles this week… Despite Manchester’s impressive overall record, this weekend’s three opponents are a combined 2-1-1-3 (.571) against the Monarchs so far in 2005-06.

Rochester visits Manitoba for a two-game set this weekend, the Americans’ first visit to Winnipeg since they their 2004-05 season ended in Game 5 of the North Division Finals… The Moose are on a five-game winning streak, and including postseason, Manitoba’s Wade Flaherty is 12-3-0 against Rochester since 2002… Kevin Bieksa, an AHL All-Rookie defenseman, has registered seven assists in the Moose’s last three games… Manitoba rookie winger Mike Brown is on a four-game scoring streak (3g, 1a) after tallying two points in his first 16 games… Nathan Paetsch, the AHL’s top-scoring defenseman this season, had five points in his last outing for Rochester on Nov. 27, including his first two goals of the year.

(all times Eastern)
Fri 12/2
Portland at Albany, 7:00… Binghamton at Philadelphia, 7:05… Springfield at Providence, 7:05… Wilkes-Barre at Norfolk, 7:15… Toronto at Hamilton, 7:30… Bridgeport at Lowell, 7:35… Hartford at Manchester, 7:35… Iowa at Omaha, 8:00… Cleveland at San Antonio, 8:00… Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30… Rochester at Manitoba, 8:30… Grand Rapids at Peoria, 8:30

Sat 12/3
Binghamton at Albany, 7:00… Syracuse at Hershey, 7:00… Hamilton at Toronto, 7:00… Philadelphia at Bridgeport, 7:05… Hartford at Portland, 7:05… Wilkes-Barre at Norfolk, 7:15… Providence at Lowell, 7:35… Springfield at Manchester, 7:35… Omaha at Chicago, 8:00… Milwaukee at Grand Rapids, 8:00… Peoria at Iowa, 8:05 (comp. of suspended game from 11/13, followed by scheduled game)… Rochester at Manitoba, 8:30

Sun 12/4
Hartford at Bridgeport, 4:05… Manchester at Portland, 4:05… Lowell at Providence, 4:05… Albany at Springfield, 4:05… Wilkes-Barre at Hershey, 5:00… Syracuse at Philadelphia, 5:05… Milwaukee at Peoria, 6:00… Cleveland at Houston, 6:05

Mon 12/5
No games scheduled

Tue 12/6
Toronto at Cleveland, 7:05… Milwaukee at Iowa, 8:05

ALUMNI WATCH:
Syracuse’s Geoff Platt, Hamilton’s Andrei Kostitsyn, Milwaukee’s Greg Zanon and Manitoba’s Rob McVicar all made their NHL debuts on Thursday night… Also Thursday, Hannu Toivonen made 26 saves as Boston shut out league-leading Ottawa, 3-0.

BY THE NUMBERS:
5 — AHL alumni who scored their first career NHL goals on Thursday night: Ryan Whitney (Pittsburgh), Dennis Wideman (St. Louis), Jerred Smithson (Nashville), Maxim Kondratiev (N.Y. Rangers) and Jaroslav Balastik (Columbus).

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