LAKE ERIE 5, TEXAS 4 (OT)
Justin Mercier capped off a three-point effort (2-1-3) with the game-winning goal 4:21 into overtime as Lake Erie emerged with a 5-4 win over Texas on Friday before an AHL season-high crowd of 18,626 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena.
It marked the fifth-largest regular-season crowd in American Hockey League history.
The Monsters improved to 5-1-0-0 in their last six games and climbed back above .500 for the season at 21-20-0-4 (46 points).
But the Stars battled back with four goals in the third period. Travis Morin had a hand in all four Texas tallies, scoring one and assisting on three others. Defensemen Garrett Stafford and Ivan Vishnevskiy each posted a goal and a helper, and Mathieu Beaudoin also found the back of the net.
Lake Erie goaltender Tyler Weiman earned the victory after stopping 33 of 37 shots on the night.
The two teams will square off for a rematch on Saturday afternoon in Cleveland.
BRIDGEPORT 2, ALBANY 1 (OT)
Bridgeport forward Trevor Smith scored at 3:30 of overtime to lift Bridgeport to a 2-1 road win over Albany at the Times Union Center on Friday.
But Albany rallied with a power play goal at the 11-minute mark, as Jerome Samson struck for his team-leading 16th goal of the campaign.
Bridgeport goaltender Nathan Lawson emerged with the victory after stopping 49 of 50 shots sent his way.
TORONTO 4, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Toronto built a 3-0 lead by the 13:49 mark of the second period and cruised to a 4-1 road win over Grand Rapids before 9,819 fans at Van Andel Arena on Friday.
Marlies forward Tim Brent began the night’s scoring with a power play goal at 18:37 of the first period. Defenseman Jonas Frogren made it a 2-0 game 10:30 into the second frame, and Andre Deveaux tallied his 11th goal of the season at 13:49, extending Toronto’s advantage to 3-0.
Ex-Griffins goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped 24 of 25 in the winning effort for Toronto, which snapped a seven-game winless slide (0-5-2-0). The Marlies picked up their first victory since a 3-2 shootout triumph over Milwaukee on Jan. 2.
HARTFORD 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT)
Dane Byers scored on the power play 2:20 into overtime to lift Hartford to a 3-2 win over visiting Manchester at the XL Center on Friday.
Hartford improved to 8-3-0-0 in its last 11 contests overall.
HERSHEY 8, MANITOBA 3
Eight different Hershey skaters found the back of the net as Hershey rolled on with an 8-3 win over visiting Manitoba on Friday before 9,290 fans at the Giant Center.
The Bears captured their fourth straight victory and have outscored opponents 29-12 over that span. Hershey has won 16 of its last 17 contests overall (16-1-0-0).
Bears goaltender Braden Holtby earned the victory with 22 saves between the pipes.
BINGHAMTON 4, ADIRONDACK 3 (SO)
2010 AHL All-Star Ryan Keller tallied the game-tying goal at 19:04 of the third period, and Binghamton went on to post a 4-3 shootout win over visiting Adirondack at the Broome County Arena on Friday.
Senators goaltender Chris Holt earned the victory with 33 saves on 36 shots in net.
HAMILTON 6, ROCHESTER 1
Brock Trotter notched two goals and added an assist as Hamilton cruised out of the All-Star break with a 6-1 road win over Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena on Friday.
The Bulldogs halted a four-game winless skid (0-2-1-1) heading into the All-Star break.
Jeff Taffe notched the lone goal for the Americans, whose three-game winning streak came to an end.
LOWELL 4, PROVIDENCE 1
Lowell raced to a 4-0 lead by the midway point of the third period and cruised to a 4-1 road win over Providence on Friday before 9,711 fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Tim Sestito gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 4:52 after the opening face-off and then made it a 2-0 game at 14:57 of the second period. Brad Snetsinger and Alexander Vasyunov also scored for Lowell, and goaltender Jeff Frazee earned the victory with 38 saves on 39 shots between the pipes.
Lowell extended its points streak to three games (2-0-0-1) and improved to 26-16-3-1 on the season, good for 56 points and second place in the Atlantic Division race.
Providence forward Jeff LoVecchio spoiled Frazee’s shutout bid at 18:52 of the third period.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 6, SYRACUSE 3
Chris Conner notched two goals and three assists for a game-high five points as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton doubled up host Syracuse by a 6-3 count on Friday before 5,376 fans at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Luca Caputi chipped in a trio of assists in the victory, which snapped Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s season-high four-game losing skid.
Penguins goaltender Brad Thiessen earned the win with 33 saves on 36 shots between the pipes.
NORFOLK 3, SPRINGFIELD 2
Norfolk rallied out of a 2-0 second-period deficit to post a 3-2 road win over Springfield at the MassMutual Center on Friday.
The Admirals, who were kicking off a seven-game road trip through the Northeast, earned a victory in their debut under new head coach Jim Johnson.
Mark Parrish began Norfolk’s rally at 10:33 of the second period, and defenseman Ty Wishart tallied the equalizer just 2:21 later. Matt Fornataro’s first goal of the season at 17:37 of the third period proved to be the game-winner, with assists going to Wishart and Parrish.
Admirals goaltender Jaroslav Janus earned the victory with 17 saves on 19 shots in net.
ROCKFORD 3, PEORIA 2
Ryan Flinn’s goal at 9:28 of the second period broke a 2-2 tie and held up as the game-winner as Rockford eked out a 3-2 road win over Peoria on Friday at Carver Arena.
Rockford grabbed a 2-0 lead in the opening period on goals by Kyle Greentree and Akim Aliu, only to watch the Rivermen tie it up before the first intermission on the strength of tallies by defenseman Steve Wagner and 2010 AHL All-Star forward Lars Eller.
IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford emerged with the win after making 22 saves on 24 shots between the pipes.
CHICAGO 6, MILWAUKEE 3
Chicago tallied two goals in each period and doubled up host Milwaukee by a 6-3 count on Friday before 10,138 fans at the Bradley Center.
The Wolves extended their season-high winning streak to seven games and moved within three points of first place in the crowded West Division standings.
Six different Wolves tallied goals in the victory, led by Tim Stapleton, who posted a game-high three points (1-2-3). Joey Crabb and Johnny Pohl each registered a goal and an assist, and Chicago also received tallies from Spencer Machacek and defensemen Noah Welch and Nathan Oystrick in the winning effort.
HOUSTON 7, ABBOTSFORD 1
Houston kicked off the post-All-Star break portion of its schedule by racking up a season-high seven goals en route to a 7-1 road win over Abbotsford at the Entertainment & Sports Centre on Friday.
2010 AHL All-Star defenseman Maxim Noreau led the way with two goals and three assists for the Aeros, who have put together back-to-back victories for the first time since Dec. 15-16.
Defenseman John Negrin tallied the Heat’s lone score of the night. The teams will square off for a rematch on Saturday afternoon.