SYRACUSE 4, ROCHESTER 1
Goaltender Kevin Lalande stopped 48 of 49 shots and surrendered just one goal for his third straight outing to backstop Syracuse to a 4-1 win over arch-rival Rochester on Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial. The Crunch won their third straight and moved to 6-2-1-0 in their last nine contests.
After Rochester’s Kenndal McArdle cut the deficit in half in the middle frame, Crunch forwards Derek MacKenzie and Craig MacDonald scored late in the third period, the latter going into an empty net. MacKenzie now has a team-high 20 goals on the campaign (20-19-39).
Lalande, acquired by parent-club Columbus on Mar. 4, has now stopped 111 of 114 shots (.974) during Syracuse’s three-game winning streak. The Crunch kept pace with Toronto and are still three points back of the Marlies for a playoff spot in the North Division.
Attendance in Syracuse was 6,021.
TORONTO 2, LAKE ERIE 1 (OT)
Tim Stapleton scored 4:12 into overtime to lift Toronto to a 2-1 win over visiting Lake Erie on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Todd Perry assisted on Stapleton’s 21st goal of the season.
The Marlies won for the third time in their last four games and moved to 4-5-0-0 against the Monsters this season.
Neither side scored in the third period, setting the stage for Stapleton’s fourth game-winning goal of the season and first in overtime. Toronto improved to 4-2 this season in games decided in the extra session.
Marlies goaltender Adam Munro made 28 saves and improved to 11-9-1 on the season.
PORTLAND 6, LOWELL 1
Portland rookie Nathan Gerbe snapped a five-game goal-scoring drought with a pair of tallies and an assist to lead the Pirates past Lowell by a 6-1 count on Saturday in Lewiston, Maine. Five other players registered multiple points for the Pirates, who ended a three-game losing skid and won their third straight over the Devils.
Tim Kennedy and Mathieu Darche assisted on both of Gerbe’s markers. Kennedy finished with three helpers on the night, and Colin Murphy chipped in two. Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned the victory with 20 saves, snapping a personal 11-game winless skid (0-8-3). He last won on Jan. 30 at Providence.
The Pirates (31-26-3-6) stayed two points up on Worcester for a playoff spot in the Atlantic and pulled within just one point of Manchester for third place.
WORCESTER 4, MANCHESTER 2
Worcester captain Ryan Vesce tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist as the Sharks doubled up host Manchester by a 4-2 count at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss stopped 29 of 31 shots in the victory, which allowed Worcester to snap a three-game skid and remain two points back of Portland for the Atlantic Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.
Brian Boyle and captain Marty Murray lit the lamp for the Monarchs, who have dropped consecutive games for the first time since a three-game slide from Jan. 21-24. Manchester is now just one point up on Portland for third place in the division.
PROVIDENCE 2, SPRINGFIELD 1 (SO)
Wacey Rabbit’s second shootout goal came in the eighth round to give Providence a 2-1 road win over Springfield before 5,293 fans at the MassMutual Center.
Martin St. Pierre also netted a shootout marker for the Bruins, who wrapped up their season series with the Falcons at 9-1-0-0.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask earned the victory, making 34 saves before denying six of eight attempts in the shootout. Rask is now 28-19-2 on the campaign.
Providence (37-24-2-4, 80 points) is still deadlocked with Hartford for first place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 13 games left in the regular season.
SAN ANTONIO 3, HOUSTON 1
Garth Murray broke a 1-1 deadlock with 5:54 to play in regulation, and San Antonio went on to post a 3-1 win over intra-state rival Houston before a crowd of 10,060 fans at the AT&T Center.
The Rampage snapped a three-game skid (0-2-0-1), while the Aeros have dropped two straight heading into Sunday’s second-place showdown with Rockford.
CHICAGO 5, MILWAUKEE 4 (SO)
Chicago forward Joe Motzko scored the lone shootout goal for either side as the Wolves eked out a 5-4 win over Milwaukee before 12,899 fans at Allstate Arena.
With the win, coupled with Houston’s loss to San Antonio, the Wolves jumped over Rockford and into a tie with the Aeros for second place in the West Division race. Chicago and Houston still sit 16 points back of Milwaukee for the top spot.
Chicago’s Steve Martins tallied two goals and an assist in regulation, Jordan LaVallee had a goal and a helper, and Riley Holzapfel also scored. Jamie Rivers (0-3-3) and Spencer Machacek (0-2-2) added multiple assists.
Wolves goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped 30 of 34 shots through the first 65 minutes before denying all five shootout tries by Milwaukee. Chicago improved to 7-1 in the shootout this season.
PHILADELPHIA 5, ALBANY 4
Philadelphia netted five goals in the first period and held on for a 5-4 road win over Albany on Saturday at the Times Union Center.
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin earned the victory with 25 saves in the Phantoms’ first visit to Albany since Oct. 25. Philadelphia moved to 4-1-0-0 this season against the River Rats.
The Phantoms are now 10 points back of Binghamton for the East Division’s final playoff spot and still hold four games in hand on the Senators.
PEORIA 3, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Peoria posted a 3-1 road win over Grand Rapids on Saturday to earn a split of the teams’ two-game set at Van Andel Arena.
Peoria is now two points back of fourth-place Rockford for the West Division’s final guaranteed playoff berth.
Rookie Francis Pare scored for the Griffins, who remained five points back of Manitoba for first place in the North Division.
HAMILTON 5, MANITOBA 1
Sergei Kostitsyn put up a game-high three points (1-2-3) as Hamilton rebounded from Friday’s loss to secure a 5-1 win over division-leading Manitoba on Saturday at Copps Coliseum.
Hamilton goaltender Marc Denis earned the win with 30 saves on 31 shots, helping his team snap a brief two-game skid and avenge a 4-3 loss to Manitoba the night before.
Captain Mike Keane netted the lone goal for the Moose, whose six-game winning streak came to an end. Manitoba has scored exactly one goal in each of its last six regulation losses dating back to Jan. 13.
HARTFORD 6, BRIDGEPORT 3
A three-goal third period sparked Hartford to a 6-3 win over intra-state rival Bridgeport in front of 7,003 fans at the XL Center on Saturday.
Goaltender Miika Wiikman earned the victory with 26 saves for the Wolf Pack, who improved to 10-1-1-0 in their last 12 games and remained tied with Providence atop the Atlantic Division.
Ben Walter notched a pair of goals and Junior Lessard had a goal and a helper for the Sound Tigers, who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. Bridgeport travels to Hershey on Sunday in a battle for first place in the East Division.
HERSHEY 3, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2
Hershey moved back within a point of first place in the East Division race with a 3-2 win over visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before 10,708 fans at the Giant Center.
Mink’s second goal of the night was his 30th of the season, marking the second time in the last three seasons that he has reached the 30-goal plateau.
The Penguins attempted a third-period comeback, as Mark Letestu and Deryk Engelland scored just 1:31 apart. But Hershey goaltender Simeon Varlamov held the fort over the final 13 minutes, finishing with 29 saves in the victory.
Hershey hosts first-place Bridgeport at the Giant Center on Sunday.
NORFOLK 5, BINGHAMTON 2
Norfolk scored four times in the third period and cooled off Binghamton with a 5-2 win over the Senators at the Broome County Arena. The Admirals earned a split of the teams’ two-game set.
The Admirals received three goals in a 59-second span early in the third, with Radek Smolenak, Juraj Simek, and Pete Zingoni doing the honors. Blair Jones added a tally later in the stanza, and goaltender Craig Kowalski earned the win with 32 saves.
Greg Mauldin tallied a pair of third-period goals for the B-Sens, whose winning streak ended at four games, tied for their season high.
IOWA 6, QUAD CITY 4
Iowa erased 3-0 and 4-2 deficits, scoring four third-period goals en route to a 6-4 road triumph over Quad City at the I Wireless Center.
Chops goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur stopped 28 shots to earn his first victory since Jan. 3 at Hamilton.