ALBANY 3, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0
Ben Cottreau scored twice in his pro debut, and goaltender Michael Leighton made 35 saves for his league-leading seventh shutout as Albany posted a 3-0 road win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday at the Wachovia Arena.
The River Rats pulled within a point of the Penguins – who entered as winners of nine straight – for second place in the East Division.
Kiel McLeod put Albany on top with his fifth goal of the season at 15:44 of the first period.
Cottreau, in his first game for Albany after a four-year collegiate career at Mercyhurst College, scored twice in a 2:05 span early in the second period to make it a 3-0 game.
Leighton took over from there, as the 2008 AHL All-Star stopped 25 shots over the final two periods, including 15 in the third.
He improved his season and record to 26-21-4 with a league-best GAA of 2.00.
PEORIA 5, LAKE ERIE 2
Peoria rookie Julian Talbot notched his second hat trick of the season as the Rivermen upended visiting Lake Erie by a 5-2 final at Carver Arena.
Talbot scored twice in the first period and once in the third. He added an assist and was a team-high plus-5 on the night. His other hat trick came on Nov. 23 against Chicago.
Rivermen goaltender Ben Bishop, playing in his second AHL game, made 17 saves for his first professional victory.
TORONTO 3, HAMILTON 2 (OT)
Colin Murphy notched an unassisted goal at 3:51 of overtime to give Toronto a 3-2 road win over Hamilton at Copps Coliseum.
The Bulldogs’ Kyle Chipchura and Daniel Corso traded regulation goals with the Marlies’ Bryan Muir and Jaime Sifers, who scored for the first time this season. His goal with 1:11 left in regulation sent the game to overtime.
Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge made 28 saves in the victory, which was Toronto’s fourth in a row.
The Marlies can clinch a spot in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs at home tomorrow by defeating Hamilton again. The Bulldogs are 0-7-1-0 in their last eight games.
MILWAUKEE 5, IOWA 2
Milwaukee scored four first-period goals and rolled to its seventh straight win, a 5-2 final over visiting Iowa at the Bradley Center.
With the victory, the Admirals swept a season-high six-game homestand and pulled within one point of Rockford and San Antonio, who are currently tied for second place in the West Division.
HOUSTON 5, CHICAGO 4
Houston rallied for four unanswered goals to pull out a 5-4 win over visiting Chicago in front of 10,211 fans at the Toyota Center.
Aeros winger Joel Ward scored twice late in the second period to pull Houston within a goal heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Wolves saw their regulation losing skid reach four games, which ties a season high previously set from Dec. 1-8. Chicago closes out its three-game swing through Texas with a tilt in San Antonio on Saturday.
PROVIDENCE 3, BINGHAMTON 2 (OT)
Pascal Pelletier netted a pair of goals, including the overtime game-winner, as Providence edged Binghamton by a 3-2 final at the Broome County Arena.
Pelletier put the B’s on top 1-0 with a power play goal early in the first period, and Matt Hendricks made it 2-0 at 1:44 of the second.
The game remained 2-2 until Pelletier’s game-winner just 16 seconds into overtime. The goal made a winner of Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, who stopped 33 of 35 shots.
Providence extended its points streak to eight games (6-0-0-2) with the victory.
PORTLAND 5, SPRINGFIELD 2
Portland scored three times in the first period and cruised to a 3-0 win over visiting Springfield at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Portland goaltender Mike McKenna stopped 23 of 25 shots, improving his season record to 23-8-1.
PHILADELPHIA 5, HARTFORD 4 (SO)
Stefan Ruzicka and Ryan Potulny scored shootout goals to push Philadelphia past Hartford by a 5-4 count on Friday at the Wachovia Spectrum.
For the second time in three days, the Phantoms took a 3-1 lead over the Wolf Pack into the third period, only to see it go by the boards.
Hartford’s Lauri Korpikoski, Josh Gratton, and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau all scored in the final stanza to put the Wolf Pack on top by a goal. The Phantoms’ Jared Ross then notched a goal to send the contest to overtime.
BRIDGEPORT 5, WORCESTER 4 (OT)
Bridgeport’s Matt Keith capped off a wild final stretch by scoring 4:25 into overtime, allowing the Sound Tigers to escape with a 5-4 win over Worcester at the DCU Center.
After the Sharks scored once each in the first and second periods, Bridgeport tallied four straight goals in the third. Colton Fretter tallied a pair, and Tyler Mosienko’s first career AHL goal put the Sound Tigers on top at 11:49.
Tyler Haskins scored into an empty net – also his first career AHL marker – to make it a 4-2 game with 39 seconds left.
But the Sharks then staged an improbable comeback, as Ashton Rome scored at the 19:39 mark and Tom Walsh tallied the equalizer with less than three seconds remaining. Both goals came with netminder Dimitri Patzold on the bench for an extra attacker.
Keith’s goal sent Bridgeport home with the win, which pulled the Sound Tigers within a point of both Hershey and Binghamton for the East Division’s final playoff spot.
NORFOLK 6, LOWELL 1
Radek Smolenak netted a pair of goals as Norfolk took a 6-1 win over visiting Lowell at the Scope.
Justin Keller, Brandon Segal, and Chris Lawrence all posted a goal and an assist for the Admirals, and Rob Klinkhammer also scored. The Ads tallied five unanswered goals over the second half of the game.
Norfolk goaltender Marc Denis secured the win with 34 saves on 35 shots.
Nicklas Bergfors scored for the Devils, who will have a rematch with the Admirals on Saturday night.
ROCHESTER 4, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Dylan Hunter scored a pair of goals as Rochester doubled up Grand Rapids, 4-2, on Friday in front of 8,457 fans at the Blue Cross Arena.
Rochester goaltender Adam Dennis picked up the win with 32 saves.
QUAD CITY 2, ROCKFORD 0
Curtis McElhinney made 22 saves for his third shutout of the season as Quad City blanked Rockford by a 2-0 count at the MetroCentre.
McElhinney improved his season record to 17-14-2 and picked up his first shutout since Jan. 25. All three of his whitewashes this season have come on the road.
The Flames captured their fourth straight win and pulled within three points of a potential playoff spot in the Western Conference.