ROCKFORD 6, HOUSTON 1
Rockford erupted for five goals in the third period to run away with a 6-1 road win over Houston at the Toyota Center, ending the Aeros’ winning streak at six games. Pascal Pelletier registered a game-high four points (2-2-4) in the win.
All four of Pelletier’s points came in the third period, which began when he scored just seven seconds into the stanza. Pelletier also lit the lamp at 13:12 and then assisted on goals by Tim Brent and Petri Kontiola.
Brent and Kontiola each finished with a goal and two helpers – all in the third period – on the evening. Evan Brophey also tallied a goal as part of the IceHogs’ third-period surge, and
IceHogs goaltender Corey Crawford only had to make 12 saves to pick up his 18th victory of the season (18-12-2).
Rockford is now tied with Chicago for second place in the West Division with 67 points apiece, two points up on the fourth-place Aeros.
BINGHAMTON 5, HERSHEY 4 (OT)
Peter Regin capped off a hat trick and four-point night with the game-winner 3:13 into overtime as Binghamton dropped Hershey by a 5-4 count at the Broome County Arena.
Regin scored a pair of goals in the second frame for the Senators, who also received markers from Josh Hennessy and Denis Hamel en route to their fourth straight win over Hershey and second in a span of three days.
The win allowed Binghamton to open a seven-point lead on Philadelphia for the East Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
BRIDGEPORT 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
Four different players netted goals as Bridgeport stayed hot with a 4-1 road win over Philadelphia on Friday at the Wachovia Spectrum.
Bridgeport goaltender Peter Mannino only had to make 15 saves to secure his first AHL win since Dec. 19, helping the Sound Tigers improve to 6-0-0-3 in their last nine contests.
John Laliberte netted a power play goal for the Phantoms’ lone score of the night. Philadelphia dropped seven points back of Binghamton for the East Division’s final postseason berth.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, ALBANY 3
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scored a pair of third-period goals to rally for a 4-3 win over visiting Albany before 7,525 fans at the Wachovia Arena.
Rookie Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Paul Bissonnette lit the lamp in the final frame to help the Penguins overcome a 3-2 deficit. Nick Johnson and Janne Pesonen also scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Deryk Engelland chipped in two assists and a plus-4 rating.
Penguins goaltender John Curry earned the victory with 20 saves on 23 shots, improving to 23-9-0 for the campaign.
The win allowed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to pull within three points of first-place Hershey in the East Division. The Pens are still just one point up on Bridgeport for second place.
LOWELL 3, SPRINGFIELD 2
Lowell moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 3-2 road win over Springfield on Friday at the MassMutual Center.
Pascal Rheaume’s power play goal 7:46 into the third period stood up as the game-winner for the Devils, who are now two points up on Worcester and three ahead of Manchester for the division’s final postseason spot.
Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen, reassigned from New Jersey earlier in the week, made 34 saves in his first game for Lowell since Oct. 31, a 4-1 loss to the Falcons in the same building.
PORTLAND 2, WORCESTER 1
Nathan Gerbe’s goal at 5:12 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and sent Portland to a 2-1 road win over Worcester at the DCU Center.
Gerbe converted a nice feed from fellow rookie Tim Kennedy to record his 22nd goal of the season, tops among AHL first-year pros.
Kennedy gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead 13:47 into the contest, a lead that would hold up for the entire middle frame.
Sharks leading scorer Ryan Vesce finally put his team on the board just 32 seconds into the third, firing home the rebound of a Mike Moore shot that hit the post to the left of Pirates goaltender Kellen Briggs.
Briggs stopped all of the 28 other shots sent his way to earn his first career AHL victory and help the Pirates halt a five-game winless skid (0-3-2-0). The 24-year-old also earned an assist on Kennedy’s first-period goal.
HARTFORD 2, MANCHESTER 1 (SO)
Hartford extended its season-high winning streak to five games with a 2-1 shootout decision over visiting Manchester on Friday before 6,636 fans at the XL Center.
The Wolf Pack’s Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau scored the lone shootout goal for either side in the fourth round.
Rookie goaltender Matt Zaba stopped all five of Manchester’s attempts after making 28 saves through the first 65 minutes, and he improved his season record to 16-8-0.
PROVIDENCE 3, NORFOLK 2
Providence scored all three of its goals in the third period en route to a 3-2 road win over Norfolk on Friday at the Scope.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Admirals forward Justin Keller made it 1-0 with a goal 5:41 into the second.
Bruins rookie Brad Marchand tied it with an unassisted tally just 28 seconds into the third. Mikko Lehtonen made it 2-1 at the 2:16 mark, and Martin St. Pierre followed with an unassisted goal of his own 35 seconds later.
St. Pierre’s insurance goal would prove key, as Radek Smolenak brought the Admirals within 3-2 at the 9:58 mark. Neither side scored the rest of the way.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask earned the win with 40 saves on 42 shots, helping Providence improve to 6-0-0-1 in its last seven road games. The B’s have tilts remaining in Philadelphia and Hershey this weekend before taking a swing through the North Division next week.
ROCHESTER 4, HAMILTON 1
Rochester scored four unanswered goals on its way to a 4-1 road win over Hamilton on Friday at Copps Coliseum.
Rochester improved to 4-1-0-1 in its last six outings, while the Bulldogs have dropped two in a row following a 7-1-0-0 run.
LAKE ERIE 2, TORONTO 0
Lake Erie goaltender Jason Bacashihua made 31 saves for his second consecutive shutout as the Monsters took a 2-0 win over visiting Toronto before 10,659 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
It marked the Monsters’ eighth shutout as a team this season, tying them with Grand Rapids for second-most in the league behind Hamilton’s nine. Lake Erie collected its fourth straight win overall.
The game was a scoreless tie into the third period, but Lake Erie’s Matt Hendricks snapped the deadlock with a power play goal at 10:22. Mark McCutcheon followed with an insurance marker at the 14:16 mark.
T.J. Hensick, reassigned on a conditioning loan by parent-club Colorado earlier in the day, assisted on both goals in his first AHL action since Nov. 1, also against the Marlies.
SYRACUSE 6, GRAND RAPIDS 5
Syracuse matched a season high with six goals on Friday and edged visiting Grand Rapids by a 6-5 count at the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Six different players scored for the Crunch, who tallied five of the six goals in the second period alone. Trevor Frischmon and defenseman Nick Holden led with a goal and an assist apiece, while Craig MacDonald, Alexandre Picard, Brian McGuirk, and blueliner Grant Clitsome also scored.
Crunch goaltender Dan LaCosta made 22 saves in the win, which pulled Syracuse within four points of Toronto for fourth place in the North Division race.
MILWAUKEE 3, QUAD CITY 2
Quad City’s seven-game points streak (6-0-0-1) came to an end on Friday in a 3-2 road loss to Milwaukee before 7,363 fans at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee, which enjoys a 13-point lead atop the West Division, improved its record to 37-15-3-3 (80 points) for the season.
CHICAGO 4, IOWA 0
Chicago posted a 4-0 road win over Iowa on Friday before a crowd of 10,475 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.
Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, the reigning Reebok/AHL Player of the Week, made 27 saves to earn his third shutout of the campaign.
Chicago has now won three straight games for the first time since Jan. 14-17 and remains tied with Rockford for second place in the West Division.
The Chops saw their season-high winless skid extend to nine games (0-5-1-3).
MANITOBA 4, PEORIA 0
Curtis Sanford made 18 saves for his second shutout in nine appearances (4-1-2) as Manitoba posted a 4-0 win over visiting Peoria on Friday before 8,800 fans at the MTS Centre.
Guillaume Desbiens opened the game’s scoring for the Moose at 12:04 of the first period, and it remained a 1-0 contest into the third period.
Manitoba secured its league-high 40th victory of the season (40-17-0-5) and increased its AHL-best point total to 85. The Moose and Rivermen will square off for a rematch in Winnipeg on Saturday night.