TEXAS 6, SAN ANTONIO 5 (OT)
Greg Rallo set a career high with his 20th goal of the season at 2:01 of overtime, capping of a wild sequence which saw Texas cough up a 4-0 third-period lead but ultimately take a crucial 6-5 win over San Antonio on Friday at the Cedar Park Center.
The win allowed the Stars (33-21-4-5, 75 points) to move into sole possession of third place in the West Division, one point up on Peoria, two clear of the Rampage, and four points back of second-place Houston with two games in hand.
Raymond Sawada scored twice for the Stars, Aaron Gagnon recorded a goal and an assist, and Brandon Segal and rookie Cody Chupp also found the back of the net. Defenseman Maxime Fortunus contributed three assists on the night.
The Rampage were paced by Viktor Tikhonov’s three points (1-2-3) and also received tallies off the sticks of Alexandre Picard (1-1-2), Bracken Kearns, ex-Star Mathieu Beaudoin, and defenseman Jonas Ahnelov.
Texas raced out of the gate with three goals in the first 6:10 of action, as Segal scored 17 seconds into the contest and Sawada followed with a pair of markers to chase San Antonio starting goaltender Matt Climie from the game.
Chupp then beat backup Joe Fallon at the 12:53 mark, giving the Stars a 4-0 advantage which stood into the third period.
Just as easily as Texas dominated the first period, San Antonio took control in the third frame. Tikhonov (4:10), Picard (6:42), and Beaudoin (7:46) all tallied power play goals under four minutes apart, and Kearns notched the equalizer less than two minutes later.
Ahnelov put the Rampage on top for the first time at 16:26, but Gagnon registered his 12th goal of the year with 19 seconds left in regulation to get the Stars to overtime.
Gagnon and defenseman Dan Spang assisted on Rallo’s overtime winner, which came on the power play and allowed the 29-year-old to eclipse the 19 goals he scored for Texas last season.
Texas rookie goaltender Richard Bachman wound up with the victory in net after making 28 saves on 33 shots, and he improved to 22-14-4 in 42 appearances for the year.
MANITOBA 4, PEORIA 3 (SO)
Bill Sweatt went scoreless through the first 65 minutes but came through when it mattered, as the rookie converted in the seventh round of a shootout to lift Manitoba to a 4-3 road win over Peoria on Friday at Carver Arena.
With the victory, the Moose (33-22-1-5, 72 points) moved back into a first-place tie in the North Division along with Hamilton, which was idle on Friday, and Lake Erie, which beat Rockford in overtime.
The Moose also improved to 3-2-0-0 on their marathon 11-game road trip, which continues on Saturday with a visit to West Division-leading Milwaukee.
Seabrook had been reassigned on Thursday to the Moose from the Abbotsford Heat, for whom the defenseman had registered 20 points (4-15-20) in 48 games.
Jordan Schroeder and Sergei Shirokov also recorded shootout goals for the Moose, and rookie goaltender Eddie Lack (22-15-3) turned aside 39 of 42 shots before stopping five of seven in the shootout to secure the victory.
Dave Spina (shorthanded) and defenseman Mark Cundari (power play) scored for the Rivermen before forward Dave Scatchard sent the game to overtime with a goal at 19:06 of the third period. Peoria fell to 3-5-0-1 in its last nine outings.
ABBOTSFORD 5, OKLAHOMA CITY 3
Abbotsford scored four times in the first 9:05 of the third period, erasing a 2-1 deficit and sending itself on the way to a 5-3 road win over Oklahoma City on Friday at the Cox Convention Center.
The Heat, who dropped a pair of games to the Barons last month, improved to 1-1-1-0 in the season series, which will conclude on Saturday with a rematch in Oklahoma City.
Playing just his fifth AHL game of the season, Ryan MacMurchy keyed the Heat’s third-period with his first two AHL goals of 2010-11, scoring 18 seconds into the frame and again at the 3:56 mark. Abbotsford also received scores from Quintin Laing (2:28) and Stefan Meyer (9:05) in the third.
Meyer finished with two goals on the night for Abbotsford and has now racked up six goals in his last four outings (6-1-7). Laing wound up with a goal and two helpers, while Gord Baldwin (0-3-3) and Ales Kotalik (0-2-2) added multiple assists.
Heat goaltender Leland Irving stopped 35 of 38 shots and moved into a share of the league lead with his 26th victory of the season (26-20-2).
Rookie defenseman Colten Teubert scored in his Barons debut, and Colin McDonald and Kevin Montgomery also registered goals in the loss. McDonald snapped a 10-game goal-scoring drought with his 25th marker of the season.
MILWAUKEE 3, CHICAGO 1
Milwaukee scored once in each period on its way to a 3-1 road win over Chicago on Friday in front of 6,925 fans at Allstate Arena.
Admirals All-Star goaltender Mark Dekanich (22-9-5) earned the win with 42 saves in net, the most stops he’s had to make since turning aside 48 shots in a shootout loss at San Antonio back on Nov. 19.
The win allowed Milwaukee (35-16-4-7, 81 points) to maintain a two-point edge on Houston for first place in the West Division with three games in hand.
Defenseman Arturs Kulda scored for the Wolves, who are now two points back of San Antonio for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
HOUSTON 3, SYRACUSE 1
Rookie forward Jarod Palmer tallied a pair of goals, and Robbie Earl assisted on both markers as Houston captured a 3-1 win over visiting Syracuse at the Toyota Center on Friday.
The Aeros earned a sweep of their season series with the Crunch – having taken a 4-3 overtime decision in upstate New York on Jan. 26 – and stayed two points back of Milwaukee for first place in the West Division.
Palmer, who entered the night with five goals in 52 games this season, tied the game at 1-1 midway through the first period and provided an insurance goal at 14:28 of the third frame.
Houston goaltender Josh Tordjman earned the win with 22 saves on 23 shots, improving to 3-0-0 in four appearances for the Aeros this season.
Josh Green initially gave the Crunch a 1-0 first-period lead, but Syracuse dropped to 2-7-1-0 in its last 10 contests.
NORFOLK 1, ALBANY 0
Dustin Tokarski made 29 saves in a shutout performance as Norfolk began a three-game road weekend by collecting a 1-0 win over Albany on Friday at the Times Union Center.
Tokarski, who has been between the pipes for all six games of the Admirals’ current points streak (4-0-0-2), earned his second whitewash of the season and improved to 16-14-4 for the campaign. He made 13 saves in the first period, 10 in the second, and six more in the third frame.
The Admirals have now won three straight games for the first time since a season-best five-game run from Jan. 14-21, and Norfolk (31-17-8-5, 75 points) closed to within one point of Charlotte for third place in the East Division.
Albany lost for the fourth time in its last five games (1-4-0-0).
TORONTO 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 1
Veteran forward Mike Zigomanis broke a 1-1 tie three minutes into the third period, and Toronto held on for a 2-1 win over league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday night at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies snapped a brief two-game losing skid and remained two points back of North Division co-leaders Hamilton, Manitoba, and Lake Erie, a trio which also currently occupies the division’s three guaranteed playoff spots.
Cowan then assisted on Zigomanis’s game-winner in the third stanza, and defenseman Simon Gysbers also picked up a helper on the play.
Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens (8-5-3) earned the victory in net with 33 saves on 34 shots.
The Penguins, who lost for just the third time in their last 11 games (8-3-0-0), will enjoy Saturday night off before traveling to Hershey for a Sunday afternoon showdown with the arch-rival Bears.
GRAND RAPIDS 5, ROCHESTER 4
Grand Rapids stormed out to a 5-1 lead by the opening minutes of the third period and then had to hold on to emerge with a 5-4 win over red-hot Rochester on Friday in front of 9,055 fans at Van Andel Arena.
Griffins forwards Brandon Straub and Chris Minard netted first-period goals to give their club a 2-0 lead, and Grand Rapids stretched the advantage to 4-0 on second-period markers by Ilari Filppula (power play) and Jamie Tardif.
Defensemen Clay Wilson of Rochester and Brendan Smith of Grand Rapids traded power play goals late in the second frame and early in the third, respectively, leaving the Griffins holding a 5-1 edge with just under 18 minutes to play.
The Amerks didn’t go quietly, though, as P.J. Fenton (10:00), Triston Grant (16:36), and A.J. Jenks (17:18) all scored to pull the visitors within a goal. But Rochester could not tie it up and watched its three-game winning streak and five-game points run (4-0-0-1) both come to an end.
Rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce made 23 saves and held on to pick up the victory for the Griffins, who improved to 5-1-0-2 in their last eight games and remained seven points back of a playoff spot in the North Division.
LAKE ERIE 3, ROCKFORD 2 (OT)
Matthew Ford’s second goal of the game and 20th of the season came just 11 seconds into the overtime period and sent Lake Erie to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over visiting Rockford on Friday before 11,631 fans at Quicken Loans Arena in the opener of a two-game set.
The Monsters overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 in regulation en route to their sixth straight home win and 11th victory in their last 15 games overall (11-3-0-1).
Ford also scored in the second period for Lake Erie, and rookie Mark Olver registered a third-period goal. Olver’s tying goal and Ford’s game-winner both came on the power play, as Lake Erie finished 2-for-7 with the man advantage.
PROVIDENCE 4, CHARLOTTE 2
Trent Whitfield scored twice and then assisted on the game-winner to help Providence double up visiting Charlotte by a 4-2 count on Friday before 7,566 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Whitfield, who missed the first half of the season due to injury, snapped an eight-game goal-scoring drought with his first tallies since a Feb. 12 contest at Springfield.
He gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead on the power play late in the first period, but the Checkers then went up 2-1 by 11:17 of the second frame on goals by rookie Riley Nash and former first-round draft pick Zach Boychuk.
Whitfield tied the game back up just 10 seconds after Boychuk’s goal, and less than two minutes after that, he assisted on the first AHL goal of the season by Alain Goulet, which put the Bruins on top to stay.
Stefan Chaput tacked on a third-period goal in his Providence debut, and fellow recent acquisition Anton Khudobin stopped 25 of 27 shots to pick up the victory in his first appearance for the Bruins. Khudobin had been 19-12-1 for Houston this season prior to being acquired by Boston at the NHL trade deadline.
Looking to stay in the Atlantic Division playoff race, Providence improved to 4-2-0-1 in its last seven games. The Checkers saw their six-game points streak (4-0-0-2) come to an end and missed a chance to move within two points of idle Hershey for second place in the East Division.
MANCHESTER 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Manchester rallied back from a 2-0 first-period deficit, and Oscar Moller’s unassisted goal at 3:24 of overtime sent the first-place Monarchs to a 3-2 road win over Worcester on Friday at the DCU Center.
Moller, who registered his 17th goal of the season and first marker against a team other than Springfield since scoring twice in Albany on Feb. 5, allowed the Monarchs to avenge a 5-2 loss in Worcester on Sunday and move six points up on idle Portland for the Atlantic Division’s top spot. Portland still holds five games in hand.
The Sharks started with a bang, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Benn Ferriero (10:42) and Andrew Desjardins (19:00), and Worcester had been 22-6-0-1 this season when tallying the game’s first goal.
But rookie Brandon Kozun put Manchester on the board with a power play goal at 17:21 of the second period – his 20th score of the season – and defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov tied it up 12:09 into the third frame.
For Voynov, it marked his first goal since scoring in three consecutive games from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (15-12-4) surrendered the two first-period goals on 11 shots but recovered to stop all 20 shots sent his way over the final two periods and overtime.
With the point gained in the overtime loss, Worcester (27-22-4-8, 66 points) moved into a tie with idle Connecticut for the Atlantic’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot, two points up on idle Springfield.