HERSHEY 7, WORCESTER 2
Bouncing back from their first home loss in four months and avenging a 6-2 loss in Worcester two weeks ago, the Hershey Bears scored three times in the first six minutes and went on to secure the regular-season Eastern Conference title with an emphatic 7-2 victory over the Sharks at Giant Center on Friday night.
Alexandre Giroux’s four-point night included his second hat trick of the season, giving him 40 goals on the year and 100 goals over the last two regular seasons.
Keith Aucoin added a goal and two assists, giving him 94 points for the season and keeping him one point ahead of Giroux in the AHL scoring race. Jay Beagle, Patrick McNeill and Kyle Wilson also scored for Hershey, and Braden Holtby made 25 saves to outshine Alex Stalock (28 saves on 35 shots) in a battle of two of the league’s elite rookie goaltenders.
Attendance was 10,557, the Bears’ sixth consecutive home crowd of more than 10,000.
HARTFORD 3, ADIRONDACK 2 (SO)
Hartford rallied from a two-goal deficit and pulled out a 3-2 shootout win over Adirondack at the XL Center on Friday.
Chad Johnson made 21 saves, including a stop on a Jon Matsumoto shorthanded breakaway in the third period that kept the Wolf Pack’s comeback bid alive. Johnson did not allow a goal on four Phantoms shootout attempts.
GRAND RAPIDS 6, MILWAUKEE 3
Jamie Tardif scored twice during a five-goal third period to propel Grand Rapids to a 6-3 win and a sweep of its home-and-home series with Milwaukee.
Attendance at Van Andel Arena was 10,444.
Tardif, who broke a 1-1 tie at 3:08 of the third period, also had an assist on the night for a three-point effort. Jordan Owens added a goal and two assists for the Griffins, now eight points out of a playoff spot with eight games remaining.
Mike Santorelli led the Admirals with a goal and an assist.
LOWELL 4, SPRINGFIELD 3 (SO)
Brad Snetsinger’s goal in the 11th shootout round lifted Lowell to a 4-3 win over Springfield.
David McIntyre, who joined Lowell after finishing his senior season at Colgate University, had a goal and an assist in regulation for his first two professional points, then scored on his shootout attempt.
BINGHAMTON 4, ROCHESTER 3
Josh Hennessy scored twice as Binghamton raced out to an early 3-0 lead, and Derek Smith scored the winning goal late in the second period as the Senators held on for a 4-3 victory in Rochester.
Winning for the 10th time in 14 games (10-3-1-0), the Senators closed to within eight points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Goals by Hennessy and Denis Hamel chased starting goaltender Alexander Salak from the crease just 11:23 into the game, and the Sens built a three-goal lead before Jordan Henry got Rochester on the board late in the first period.
Former Amerk Mike Brodeur made 32 saves in the win for Binghamton.
PORTLAND 2, PROVIDENCE 0
Paul Byron snapped a scoreless tie with 6:50 left in regulation and Jean-Philippe Lamoureux needed just 17 saves for his second shutout as Portland dealt Providence’s playoff hopes a blow with a 2-0 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Pirates moved to three points behind first-place Worcester in the Atlantic Division, while the Bruins remain nine points out of the last spot with seven games left.
Portland finished with a 42-17 edge in shots on goal. Dany Sabourin made 40 saves in a losing effort.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 3, NORFOLK 1
Tim Wallace scored twice as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton picked up some breathing room in the East Division with a 3-1 win at Norfolk.
The Penguins sit third in the East with 81 points, three better than the fourth-place Admirals.
Matt Lashoff had the only Norfolk goal. The Admirals are 5-5-0-2 in their last 12 games, with four of the regulation losses coming at the hands of the Penguins.
MANCHESTER 4, BRIDGEPORT 1
Manchester used a dominating first period to advance to a 4-1 win over visiting Bridgeport on Friday night.
Justin Azevedo, David Kolomatis and Trevor Lewis scored in the opening frame as the Monarchs built a 3-0 lead, outshooting the Sound Tigers 16-5 in the period. Alec Martinez assisted on all three goals, his second three-point effort vs. Bridgeport in less than a week.
Tyler Haskins had the only goal for the Sound Tigers, who saw their nine-game points streak (8-0-1-0) come to an end.
Bridgeport remains two points ahead of Norfolk in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The loss keeps the Marlies five points behind Manitoba for fourth place in the North Division. Toronto begins a home-and-home with Rochester at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday, while the Moose are off until visiting Abbotsford on Monday.
ROCKFORD 4, PEORIA 3
Three goals in the first three minutes of the second period turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead, and Rockford held on for a 4-3 win over Peoria at the MetroCentre on Friday night.
Matt Keith, Shawn Lalonde and Bryan Bickell scored in a span of 1:55 to send former IceHog goaltender Joe Fallon to the showers, and Corey Crawford made the lead hold up with a 32-save performance, stopping 23 of 24 shots over the final two periods.
TEXAS 4, CHICAGO 3 (SO)
Warren Peters scored twice in the second period, assisted on the game-tying goal late in the third and netted the decisive tally in the bottom of the fifth shootout round to give Texas a 4-3 win over Chicago at Allstate Arena.
The Stars are now eight points behind the first-place Wolves in the West Division.
After Peters staked Texas to a 2-0 lead, Andrew Kozek, Paul Postma and Matt Anderson scored to give Chicago a 3-2 advantage into the late stages of regulation. But Raymond Sawada scored the equalizer with 3:23 to play, allowing the Stars to earn a point in the standings for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
Peter Mannino (23-3-1) finished with 34 stops but saw his personal winning streak end at 15 decisions.
HOUSTON 3, LAKE ERIE 2 (OT)
Robbie Earl’s goal with 1:27 left in overtime gave Houston a 3-2 win over Lake Erie at Toyota Center on Friday.
The victory snapped a six-game winless skid for the Aeros (0-3-1-2). The Monsters, who were kicking off a six-game road swing, dropped to 0-3-1-2 in their last six away from home.
HAMILTON 2, ABBOTSFORD 1
Andre Benoit scored with 1:33 left in regulation, giving Hamilton a 2-1 win over Abbotsford in the first of a two-game set at the Entertainment & Sports Centre on Friday.
Cedrick Desjardins made 19 saves to win the game for Hamilton.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 1:03 of the first period. David Desharnais took a shot from the blue line that was stopped by Heat goaltender David Shantz, but Mike Glumac grabbed the rebound and backhanded the puck into the net.
Abbotsford tied the game at 7:19 of the second period while on the power play. Josh Meyers stopped a clearing attempt by the Bulldogs before blasting a shot from the right point. Cam Cunning tipped the puck over the shoulder of Desjardins and into the top of the net.
The game-winning goal came when Benoit collected the puck while stationed at the left point. He proceeded to blast a slapshot that sailed through the legs of Shantz and into the back of the net.