OKLAHOMA CITY 7, ROCKFORD 0
2011 AHL All-Star Colin McDonald netted a pair of goals, and Oklahoma City struck seven times in all in its first home game in nearly three weeks en route to a 7-0 win over visiting Rockford at the Cox Convention Center on Friday.
With their greatest single-game offensive output since a 7-2 win at Peoria on Jan. 13, the Barons (37-28-2-9, 85 points) remained tied with Peoria for the Western Conference’s crossover playoff spot and sit just one point back of fourth-place Chicago in the West Division. Oklahoma City was coming off a nine-game road trip on which it went 2-3-0-4 and was playing on home ice for the first time since a 5-2 loss to Grand Rapids on Mar. 12.
McDonald netted his 35th and 36th goals of the season, which ranks him second in the AHL after the fourth-year pro had not tallied more than 12 goals in any of his previous three campaigns.
Defenseman Alex Plante also found the back of the net for Oklahoma City, and 12 of the Barons’ 18 skaters recorded at least one point on the night.
Barons goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (14-13-4) made 33 saves to earn his first shutout of the year.
The IceHogs, who suffered their first shutout since a 5-0 loss to Peoria on Nov. 27, dropped back to the .500 mark overall at 33-33-4-5 (75 points).
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, CHARLOTTE 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck four times in the opening period and cruised to a 4-1 win over visiting Charlotte on Friday in front of 6,337 fans at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Penguins extended their latest winning streak to three games and improved to 9-2-0-1 in their last 12 outings.
At 54-20-0-1 (109 points) overall, Wilkes-Barre can clinch the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s best regular-season record as early as Saturday night with a point against Rochester or a Portland loss of any kind.
Six different Penguins found the back of the net, and rookie Keven Veilleux led the charge with a goal and two helpers. Geoff Walker, Nick Petersen, and defenseman Corey Potter each posted a goal and an assist, and Bryan Lerg and rearguard Jason DeSantis rounded out the offense.
Lerg, who registered the game-winner, has now tallied a goal in three of his last four games (3-3-6) to match his output from the previous 25 contests combined.
Jacob Micflikier netted a pair of goals and rookie Zac Dalpe also scored for the Checkers, while Zach Boychuk (0-3-3) and defenseman Bryan Rodney (0-2-2) each picked up two helpers. Charlotte’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at one.
PROVIDENCE 3, CONNECTICUT 2
Jamie Arniel netted a pair of special-teams goals, and his shorthanded marker at 6:46 of the third period proved to be the game-winner as Providence eked out a 3-2 win over visiting Connecticut on Friday before 8,017 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The game was scoreless through the first 20 minutes before Arniel put the Bruins on the board with a power play marker at 2:22 of the second frame. Reigning Reebok/AHL rookie of the month Trent Whitfield extended the lead to 2-0 with 1:09 to play in the second.
Whale forward Brodie Dupont cut his team’s deficit in half 4:21 into the third period, but Arniel responded shorthanded 2:25 later, providing the winning margin. Connecticut’s Kris Newbury scored with 11 minutes left, but the Whale were unable to pull even.
Bruins goaltender Michael (11-10-1) Hutchinson earned the victory with 29 saves on 31 shots in net.
The Whale suffered their third straight loss on the heels of a five-game winning streak, and their lead over Worcester for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot was cut to two points.
WORCESTER 2, MANCHESTER 0
Rookie goaltender Carter Hutton made 27 saves for his second shutout of the season as Worcester bolstered its postseason hopes and kept Manchester skidding with a 2-0 win over the visiting Monarchs on Friday at the DCU Center.
Hutton improved to 11-5-2 in 20 appearances this season and stopped seven shots in the first period and 10 apiece in the second and third frames.
John McCarthy provided all the offense Hutton would need midway through the opening period and then scored again halfway through the second stanza. McCarthy, who has played 37 games with parent-club San Jose this season, now shows 11 points (6-5-11) in 20 outings with the AHL Sharks.
With its fourth victory in six games (4-2-0-0), Worcester closed to within two points of Connecticut for the Atlantic Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
The Monarchs, who have already secured a postseason berth, dropped to 1-4-1-0 in their last six games and have totaled just eight goals in that span.
ADIRONDACK 9, ALBANY 5
Adirondack scored three times in the opening period and then blitzed Albany for six goals on 13 shots in the second frame en route to a 9-5 win over the visiting Devils on Friday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Phantoms goaltender Michael Leighton (12-12-3) emerged with the victory after making 33 saves on 38 shots in net, helping Adirondack move to 5-4-1-1 in the season series, which concludes next Wednesday in Glens Falls.
HAMILTON 4, LAKE ERIE 1
Drew MacIntyre continued his sparking play of late with 27 saves on 28 shots, and Hamilton moved into sole possession of second place in the North Division with a 4-1 road win over Lake Erie on Friday in front of 12,407 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
MacIntyre, who improved to 8-5-2 in 16 appearances since joining the Bulldogs, has now surrendered exactly one goal in each of his last five outings, stopping 153 of 158 shots (.968) over that span.
Dany Masse, Oliver Fortier, Dustin Boyd, and J.T. Wyman all scored for Hamilton, with Wyman’s marker going into an empty net in the game’s closing minute. Alexander Avtsin chipped in two assists in the winning effort.
With their fourth straight win, the Bulldogs (40-26-2-7, 89 points) moved one point up on Lake Erie for second place in the division and within one-point of first-place Manitoba with a game in hand.
Captain Ben Walter netted the Monsters’ lone goal of the night, as Lake Erie suffered its second consecutive loss on the heels of an eight-game winning streak.
HERSHEY 6, NORFOLK 3
Hershey scored twice in each period and rolled to a 6-3 win over Norfolk on Friday in the opener of the teams’ two-game weekend set at the Scope.
The Bears received goals from six different players, and Andrew Gordon and Keith Aucoin led the way with a goal and an assist apiece. Aucoin’s first-period helper was the 492nd of his AHL career, moving him into a tie with AHL Hall of Famer Larry Wilson for ninth place on the AHL’s all-time list.
Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby made 35 saves to pick up his first victory in a Bears uniform since Feb. 23, when he earned a 3-2 shootout win at Toronto.
Overall, the Bears improved to 44-24-3-5 (96 points) and opened up a five-point lead on potential first-round playoff opponent Charlotte for second place in the East Division.
Mattias Ritola, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, and defenseman Troy Milam all posted a goal and an assist for the Admirals, who suffered their third straight loss and fell to 1-4-0-0 in their last five contests.
SYRACUSE 6, BINGHAMTON 4
Syracuse tucked five pucks behind Binghamton goaltender Robin Lehner on 13 shots in the second period and rode that surge to a 6-4 win over the visiting Senators on Friday at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Attendance was 6,398, the largest crowd to take in a Crunch game this season.
The gathering witnessed their hometown Crunch extend their winning streak to five games and move to 12-3-0-0 in their last 15 games. Though the Crunch will miss the Calder Cup Playoffs, they are doing anything but playing out the string.
Patrick Maroon and Josh Green each posted a goal and an assist for Syracuse; Rich Schofield scored for the third time in as many games; Kyle Palmieri notched his AHL rookie-leading 27th goal of the season; and defensemen Mat Clark and Mark Mitera rounded out the offense.
Nick Bonino (0-3-3) and defenseman Sean Zimmerman (0-2-2) each finished with multiple helpers on the night, and Crunch goaltender Timo Pielmeier made 38 saves to pick up his third straight win in net.
Derek Grant (1-1-2), Jim O’Brien, and rookie Colin Greening scored for the Senators, whose six-game winning streak came to an end. Binghamton is now five points up on Worcester for the Eastern Conference’s crossover playoff spot.
SPRINGFIELD 3, BRIDGEPORT 2
Rookie forward Cam Atkinson enjoyed a professional debut to remember, assisting on the tying goal and then nabbing the game-winner with 4:52 left in regulation as Springfield rallied past Bridgeport by a 3-2 count on Friday at the MassMutual Center.
Atkinson, a 2008 draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets who racked up 61 goals over the past two seasons at Boston College, assisted on a power play goal by Ben Guite at 4:48 of the third period before tallying the first goal of his professional career at the 15:08 mark.
Danny Kearney and defenseman David Savard earned assists on the game-winner by Atkinson, which pushed the Falcons to their second win in three games (2-1-0-0).
Former first-round draft pick Nikita Filatov began Springfield’s rally with a power play goal just 10 seconds into the third period and Savard also helped out on that marker.
Falcons goaltender Allen York, a Blue Jackets draft pick out of the Rochester Institute of Technology, made 14 saves to pick up the victory in his professional debut.
ROCHESTER 4, MANITOBA 1
Rochester chased AHL All-Rookie goaltender Eddie Lack from the game with two goals just 4:58 after the opening face-off, and the Americans went on to a 4-1 win over visiting Manitoba on Friday at the Blue Cross Arena.
Amerks forwards Hugh Jessiman (2:50) and P.J. Fenton (4:58) lit the lamp to give Lack the early hook, and Rochester then received second-period goals from defenseman Mike Kostka and forward Jordan Knackstedt on Moose backup netminder Tyler Weiman.
Marco Rosa nabbed the lone goal for the Moose, who are now just one point up on Hamilton and two ahead of Lake Erie for first place in the North Division. Rosa has collected four goals and eight points in five games since returning from a two-month injury absence.
Manitoba continues its three-game road trip in Hamilton on Saturday before wrapping it up in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.
PEORIA 3, SAN ANTONIO 2 (OT)
Peoria coughed up a 2-0 lead in the third period, but defenseman Derek Peltier bailed his team out with a goal at 3:36 of overtime to send the Rivermen to a 3-2 road win over San Antonio on Friday before 8,068 fans at the AT&T Center.
The victory allowed the Rivermen (39-29-2-5, 85 points) to close within a point of fourth-place Chicago in the West Division and remain tied with Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s crossover playoff spot.
Peoria’s Akim Aliu took a hooking penalty only 10 seconds after the opening face-off, but Nicholas Drazenovic notched a shorthanded goal just over a minute later to put his club on top. After a scoreless second frame, Drazenovic extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play strike early in the third.
The Rampage battled back, though, as Eric Neilson netted his first goal of the season only 17 seconds after Drazenovic’s strike, and Bracken Kearns tied it up with his 20th goal of the campaign at 13:11.
MILWAUKEE 5, HOUSTON 2
Milwaukee took control of the West Division race on Friday with a 5-2 win over visiting Houston in front of 7,379 fans at the Bradley Center.
The Admirals extended their points streak to six games (5-0-1-0) and opened up a four-point lead on Houston for the division’s top spot, but Milwaukee still holds three games in hand.
The Aeros, who have now dropped back-to-back games, received goals from Jarod Palmer and captain Jon DiSalvatore. Houston visits Chicago on Saturday and is then off until hosting Oklahoma City on Apr. 10, the last day of the regular season.
TEXAS 3, CHICAGO 2 (OT)
Defenseman Philip Larsen netted an unassisted goal just 38 seconds into overtime to lift Texas to a 3-2 win over visiting Chicago on Friday at the Cedar Park Center.
The Stars (40-24-4-6, 90 points) extended their winning streak to a season-high five games and moved four points up on Chicago for third place in the West Division. In addition, Texas is only four points back of second-place Houston and still holds four games in hand on the Aeros.
After a scoreless first period, Colton Sceviour and Maxime Fortunus staked the Stars to a 2-0 second-period lead. Former AHL All-Star Jaime Sifers pulled the Wolves within 2-1 before the period was out, and Andre Deveaux tied it up on the power play 3:43 into the third frame.
That set the stage for overtime, where Larsen potted his third goal of the season and first since Jan. 29 vs. Abbotsford.
Stars goaltender Richard Bachman (27-16-5) earned the win in net with 29 saves on 31 shots.
ABBOTSFORD 4, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Ryan MacMurchy and captain Quintin Laing each recorded a goal and an assist as Abbotsford doubled up Grand Rapids, 4-2, in the first of a two-game weekend set at the Entertainment & Sports Centre on Friday.
Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving (27-22-2) made his first appearance since Mar. 18 and earned the victory with 18 saves, helping his club snap a four-game winless skid (0-3-0-1).
Brent Raedeke and Joakim Andersson notched third-period goals for the Griffins, who have fallen back toward the playoff bubble with four consecutive losses after rattling off a 10-1-1-2 run from Feb. 16 to Mar. 16.